Cardenal Mendoza photo competition inspires celebration of arte de vivir
This Solera Gran Reserva brandy, with its warm, balanced flavour and intense finish, pairs beautifully with cigars and chocolate, as well as being a perfect cocktail ingredient. The Spanish company which produces Cardenal Mendoza, Sanchez Romate, is one of the oldest bodegas in Jerez de la Frontera which is still owned by the same family – it was founded in 1781. The premium Spanish brandy is matured in sherry barrels for 15 years.
The photo competition
To win this enviable prize, entrants had to take a photograph which summed up “Arte De Vivir” – a Spanish concept which means “the art of living well”.
More than 100 photos were submitted over the three months, and close to 5000 votes cast to produce a short list.
The three monthly competition winners came from Panama, Puerto Rico and Spain, with the overall winner coming from the brandy’s home country. The judges were surprised - and delighted – how many photos came from women, showing how Cardenal Mendoza is reaching a new audience.
They were also impressed by the creativity of the images capturing Arte De Vivir, which featured brandy with a host of complements: chocolate, coffee, cigars, in cocktails, and even in the esteemed company of equestrian companions. In addition, many photos encapsulated moments charged with emotion, encapsulating romance and friendship.
The overall winner
The judges had a difficult decision choosing the winner from the short list, but ultimately the winning photo chosen, taken by María Inés Muñoz Luque of Cordoba Spain, featuring three women laughing and clearly enjoying each other’s company, along with their Cardenal Mendoza. This photo, taken by an aficionada of the brandy, clearly communicates a sense of celebration and friendship, highlighting the next generation of brandy drinkers. While much less traditional than sitting by a fire with a good book – which still is, and will always be, a classic way to relax with Cardenal Mendoza - this image captures a new era.
Also commended for her striking image of a Cardenal Mendoza bottle on a sunshine-yellow table, was mixologist Natalie Jacob, who brings a strong visual sense to her job at Dutch Kills bar in Long Island City, USA. Natalie will be invited to visit the Sanchez Romate bodega in Jerez, thanks to her upbeat photo which places the premium Spanish brandy in an entirely fresh context.
The competition prizes: worth over 17,000 euros in total
The golden cup, Copa Mendoza, was made by a local artisan in Jerez de la Frontera, the town in southern Spain where the bodegas of Cardenal Mendoza are located. It was fashioned from 22-carat gold, weighs 250g and measures 110mm x 80mm.
In addition to the main prize of the gold goblet, three further awards were presented - to the photos which won most votes in September, October and November. In each of these months, one lucky person won a bottle of a very rare, limited/edition brandy. Non Plus Ultra is taken from 36 casks, matured for at least 50 years, which were reserved to commemorate the bicentenary of Sanchez Romate, in 1982. Each bottle is worth 500 euros.
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· Cardenal Mendoza brandy was first produced in 1887, as an exclusive brandy to be enjoyed by the family and close friends of the bodega’s founders, Sanchez Romate.
· There are three varieties of Cardenal Mendoza: Clasico, Carta Real, Non Plus Ultra and a Orange Liquor called Cardenal Mendoza Angelus.
· Made from the airen grape, Cardenal Mendoza is matured for between at least 15 and 50 years, in barrels previously used by Bodega Sanchez Romate to make either Pedro Ximenez or Oloroso Sherry Wine.
· Its alcoholic volume is between 40 and 45 proof.
· Since 1909 Bodega Sanchez Romate has been Official Purveyor to the House of Lords, and in 1917, it was appointed Official Purveyor to the Sacred Apostolic Palace of the Vatican.