History of Armagnac
From the Gascony region in southwest France?Armagnac, the cousin of Cognac, is a brandy that hails. For
example, Cognac is a produced from a base of white wine, but unlike Cognac.
With a round and rich flavor, it goes through only a single slow distillation
which produces a brandy. After the distillation, from the local oak forest, it
undergoes an extended period of aging in barrels made primarily. To shed its
harshness of youth, the longer aging allows the brandy.
Although Armagnac sales in the US ,it have been
increase the sale rate in recent years the artisanal nature of this spirits, it
means that production is small and it remains a secret to be discovered by the
most wine and spirits lovers. The Wine Lovers of NYC wants to change something!
Join us on Sunday, November 13 as May Matta-Aliah, the New York Armagnac
Ambassador and president of In the Grape. An organization dedicated to making
wine and spirits education accessible to everyone, it will be present 6
wonderful Armagnacs in addition to a welcome Armagnac Punch. This promises to
be very fun and educational adventure into one of the greatest brandies of
France and that still remains a well-kept secret to most, but not for long.
Besides that, by France’s best-kept secret, Armagnac let’s get
seduced. Steeped in a history, that goes back 700 years and flavored by the
characters that can only be found in the Gascony. A sip of Armagnac recalls
secret cellars, musketeers, French berets and a character as unique as the
people that put their heart and soul into producing it. Join us on this guided
journey through the picturesque vineyards and it also got dramatic cellars of
Gascony. We can enjoy an unprecedented tasting of the Armagnacs. The tasting
will highlight the range of styles produced from VSOP (Very Superior Old Pale)
old to XO (Extra Old). And It also from the Hors d’Age to the Vintages.
Proprietary distillation techniques and the importance of the local oak barrels
will all be discussed it local in Grape Varieties. Of this fine spirit and an
appreciation for why the French are more than happy to keep this seductive
spirit a secret all to them, you will come away with a deeper understanding.
As the finest producer of brandy in the world, Armagnac is only one
of the world are the true rival to Cognac for recognition. It is one of only three officially demarcated brandy
regions in Europe, and it along with Cognac and Jerez in Spain.
Its quantity of the production is significantly lower than that of the Cognac
region. For every six bottles of Armagnac, it will sold around the world there are one hundred bottles of
For around 200 years longer than Cognac,
Armagnac has been making
Armagnac is a French grape brandy and it is the most similar to cognac, but it ultimately very different in production and flavor
In this post, I’ll cover the basics of the
armagnac. In next post,
I’ll discuss the main differences
between the cognac and the armagnac.
In the presentation, Armagnac is the most established schnaps in France,
with references going back the extent that 1411 amid it was utilized for the
most part for helpful reasons. These days, the liquor being the drink of
decision for us to quiet the nerves following stun. There was 200 years
previously the main specify of Cognac and has dependably thrown a shadow over
the schnaps it jumps at the chance to see as a littler, non-debilitating, and
more youthful sibling. These days anyway it is Armagnac which is the rising
star and enormous sibling Cognac has a considerable measure to keep an eye out
Made in the Pays de Gascogne in the far south west of France, Armagnac
has three particular delivering locales:
Ténarèze and Haut-Armagnac. The Bas-Armagnac(literally
Low-Armagnac, a reference to its altitude rather than its quality) is the
westernmost region, and is located principally in the Landes department.
Immense pine forests stretch for scores of miles all the way to the Atlantic
Ocean, planted because of their ability to grow on the area’s sandy soils.
The pure sand ends around the border of the Bas-Armagnac, where small pieces of
limestone, called boulbenes, appear with a layer of tawny-colored,
iron-rich sand known as sables fauves.
These soils, weak in both nutrients and water
retention, yield grapes with low sugar levels and high acidity. The Ténarèze,
located further east, sees a slight rise in altitude as well as a shift from
sand to clay and limestone. With additional nutrients and better water
retention, the Ténarèze has soil much better adapted to the production of
quality wine. Producing grapes with higher sugar and lower acidity
levels, it’s no surprise that this area has seen newfound prosperity over the
past 25 years, with the rise of Cotes de Gascogne Vin de Pays/IGP wines.
The Haut-Armagnac runs
along the eastern border of the Ténarèze and the southern border of the
Bas-Armagnac. It is the largest appellation in Armagnac, yet very few
vines remain. Most farmers prefer to cover their flat, limestone parcels
with wheat, soybeans, irrigated corn or whatever other crop the government is
willing to subsidize.
Armagnac is still mostly created by little scale rustic cultivators with
a few makers sharing versatile stills that are driven around the wide open at
generation time. Local people used to joke that when crows went over the
district they flew topsy turvy so they couldn’t perceive how poor the region
was! Regardless of whether this is the situation these days is dubious yet in
examination with Cognac where worldwide makers are ordinary, this dependability
to the foundations of the customs of the Armagnac business is one of many
components that safe a place in the hearts of shoppers for this authentic soul.
Ten grape varieties are allowed to be used in the
production of Armagnac. Most Armagnac is made from Ugni-Blanc, Colombard,
Folle Blanche and Baco Blanc. Other grapes used are Blanquette, Jurancon,
Clairette de Gascogne, Plant de Graisse, Maslier Saint Francois and
Mauzac. The grape vines endure harsh winters and hard blown winds from
the sea and Pyrenees Mountains. For every 1 bottle of Armagnac produced,
there are 200 bottles of Cognac produced. 4
grapes commonly used:
Folle Blanche: Very fruity and
floral grape that shows a lot of finesse when aged for 15 years. This was
the original Armagnac grape also called “piquepoul”. The main reason why
it isn’t used as much anymore is due to phylloxera killing off most of the
grapes in 1893. This grape is extremely sensitive to rot.
Ugni Blanc: Also known as “Trebbiano”, this grape is used
to blend young Armagnacs. This is a late ripening grape that thrives in
Figure 3: Grape
Baco Blanc (Baco 22A): This grape produces well
rounded Armagnacs, but even better Vintage Armagnacs. It is a hybrid
created by crossing Folle Blanche and the American Noah grape and has a
protective, tough skin. Monsieur Francois Baco experimented with grapes
after the phylloxera plague and plotted some grapes on plot 22A, hence the
name. The grape thrives in the sandy soils of Bas-Armagnac.
Baco Blanc (Baco 22A)
Figure 4: Grape
Colombard: This grape can produce some very young
Armagnacs due to the fact it can be harvested earlier than the other
grapes. It imparts herbal, grassy and hay aromas to Armagnac.
Armagnac: An Unaged
Armagnac (less than 1% of total production).
Blanche may be made from any of four grape varieties:
Folle Blanche, Ugni Blanc, Colombard, Baco Blanc. However, most people like
Folle Blanche for its aromatic fruity finesse. The grapes used must have been
cultivated in designated vineyards within the Armagnac region. The spirit
usually comes off the still at a lower proof and cannot go lower than 40% ABV
(80 proof). Before hitting the bottles and the customer shelves, this
Eaux de Vie must pass through a panel of tasting experts to get the OK
3 Star: Must be aged
at least one year and two years if it is to be exported.
V.S.O.P.: Must be at
least 4 years old
Napoleon: Must be at least 6 years old.
d’Age: Must be 10
years or older.
Vintage: Refers to the
stated year of distillation (year the grapes were picked and pressed).
They are usually bottled at their cask strength, typically between 40-48% ABV.
Cepage (Single grape variety): This refers to the Armagnac in the bottle being
made from only one type grape.
Bas Armagnac Producers
The sandy soil structure of the Bas-Armagnac yields grapes with higher
acid than those grown on clay and limestone; thus, Armagnac from the
Bas-Armagnac tends to be rounder and more supple, and shows more finesse than
brandies from the other regions.
Domaine Boingnérès: Martine Lafitte, who took over for her father Leon
during the mid-nineties, is a stalwart defender of Folle Blanche—more than half
of their vineyards are planted with the grape—and a relentless proponent of
traditional upbringing, without reduction or rectification. The Armagnacs
of Boingnérès are intense, focused, linear and precise. These are highly
prized by connoisseurs.
Laberdolive: The reputation of this small domaine was created by
Gerard Laberdolive, one of the first producers to sell his Armagnac to top
restaurants outside the region. Although Laberdolive once owned a couple
of properties, all of the estate’s production now comes from vineyards
surrounding the family’s house in Labastide d’Armagnac. While they still
possess some very old vintages made with Baco and Folle Blanche (now housed in
glass demi-johns), the more recent vintages are made with Ugni Blanc.
Château de Ravignan: Ravignan has some wonderful vintages from the early
eighties, produced predominantly from Baco. Careful aging in neutral oak
within the château’s well-ventilated chai helps to give an
exotic note to the spirits.
Château de Tariquet: With approximately 1,000
hectares under vine, Tariquet is the most important wine producer in the
region. In fact, it was Yves Grassa who is credited with putting the
Côtes de Gascogne on the winemaking map. Not surprisingly, their soils
are a bit more like Ténarèze than Bas-Armagnac, and their Armagnacs have
perhaps a bit less depth than some producers located in Les Landes.
Overall quality is very good, however, and they are widely available throughout
Château de Briat: Chateau de Briat was built in the in
the 1500s and once served as a hunting retreat to Henry IV, King of
France. The estate was purchased by Baron Raoul Pichon-Longueville in the
1860s and was passed along through the years to descendents in his family
line. The most recent, Stephane de Luze, now helms the estate after the
tragic death of his father, who was died in an automobile accident in
2003. Briat’s Hors d’Age, made strictly with Baco, offers a
hedonistic mouthful of Gascon flavors, including plum, chocolate and maple
Younger spirits from the Ténarèze tend to lack some of the supple depth
that one finds in the Bas-Armagnac. That being said, Armagnacs from the
Ténarèze can live longer than those from the Bas-Armagnac, and still show
plenty of life up until their fortieth birthday.
Château de Pellehaut: The Beraut family, producers of high-quality
wines, also make top-notch Armagnac at their Château de Pellehaut. The
Reserve bottling, produced mostly from Ugni Blanc and Folle Blanche, acts as a
nice entry-level bridge between Armagnac and Cognac, with a delicate,
medium-bodied texture and long finish.
Château Busca-Maniban: Busca-Maniban is a long-standing
domaine that has recently increased their presence on the market.
Armagnac made with Ugni Blanc is available in a wide variety of vintages.
Château de Laubade: Château de Laubade is the largest Armagnac-only
producing domaine in the region: releases marked “Château de Laubade” come from
the four grape varieties grown and raised on their property. Older
vintages are simply marked as “Laubade”, and have been purchased from
neighboring properties. An excellent Blanche is also available in many
Darroze: Darroze has to be considered the top negoçiant in
Armagnac. Francis’ father had an extraordinary restaurant in the region where
Armagnacs from local producers were served. Francis purchased these in
larger lots and began selling them around the world. His son Marc has now
taken over the affair. Methods have remained the same: Darroze contracts
Armagnacs distilled at the property (usually with heavy Baco proportions), then
the young spirit is shifted to the Darroze chai, where they
are meticulously raised. Releases are at cask strength and they always
bear the domaine name and bottling date.