A product of craftsmanship and excellence, the richness and diversity of Armagnac is only matched by its assertive character.
The oldest eau-de-vie in France, the production of Armagnac (AOC) is spread over the three production zones of Bas-Armagnac, Haut-Armagnac and Armagnac Ténarèze giving a mosaic of landscapes covered by vines. The various soils and climates from the oceanic influence in the west to a Mediterranean one in the east marked by the ‘Autan’ winds give each area of production a different flavour profile, taste and unique style. Here in the Ténarèze the eau-de-vie finds its source in the clay/limestone soils of the region.
Armagnac’s journey is unique and necessitates several stages in its discovery. You start to properly appreciate the eau-de-vie and awaken your 5 senses as you hold the glass in your hand and swirl it around. The cellar master and producer’s advice will gradually turn the novice into an apprentice as they learn how to take time and taste this nectar. Between the warmth and the flavours, the new palate discovers a plethora of unparalleled sensations whilst the experienced taster will always find something different and surprising. Discover, learn, savour and enjoy the journey in Armagnac.
A rich savoir-faire
From the different estates to chateaux, from the many different houses and cellars, Armagnac’s discovery is a hedonistic journey! The production of Armagnac relies on a savoir-faire that has been passed down through generations since the Middle Ages, where each family and each producer gives it its unique character. The winemaker will explain the secrets of this most celebrated Gascon eaux-de-vie. The harvest starts at the end of summer once the grapes have turned golden with the sun and reached their maturity.
Distillation and blends
The poetic Gascons celebrate the « Flamme de l’Armagnac » that begins at the end of October, where everyone has the opportunity to take part in the magic transformation of the grape juice into Armagnac. Obtained from the distillation of white wine in an Armagnac alambic, the resulting eau-de-vie is aged for many long years in oak barrels that will give it is amber colour. The diversity of its terroirs gives it a singular and particular character that is further exacerbated by the different grape varieties that influence the personality of this eau-de-vie. Lastly, after the necessary time for maturation, obligatory patience and the evaporation of the angel’s share, the cellar masters, a cross between magicians and alchemists, create the blends of different Armagnacs or as is often typical in Armagnac, the vintages (Armagnacs from one single year of harvest).
Inside the cellars, veritable Gardens of Eden for the producers, a symphony of perfumes and aromas fill the atmosphere. Floral and fruity notes escape from the young Armagnacs, whilst it is more the aromas of patisserie that emerge from the marriage of wood and eau-de-vie that has been ageing for more than 10 years.
Certain producers diversify in their production of grapes and will undoubtedly charm you with tastings of Floc de Gascogne, the local aperitif with the flavours and colours of the southwest, or indeed, their freshly authentic Côtes de Gascogne wines. Their doors are open all year round so you can visit their estates and cellars. Share a sociable moment whilst the wine maker explains the secrets of tasting. Don’t forget to go shopping so that you can take a little joy and goodness from the Gers home with you.
To know more:
- The production zones are spread over 3 departments: Gers, Lot-et-Garonne and the Landes
- Bas-Armagnac in the west of the zone is characterised by its sandy loam soils
- Haut-Armagnac in the east has mostly limestone soils
- Armagnac-Ténarèze is marked by boulbènes (sand and clay) and clay-limestone soils
- The 4 main varieties used in Armagnac are Ugni-blanc, Baco, Folle Blanche and Colombard
- A 3 star*** or VS is the youngest Armagnac available
- A VSOP is a blend of eaux-de-vie where the youngest has been aged for at least 4 years.
- An XO is made with Armagnacs that have at least 6 years of maturation behind them
- An Hors d’Âge is an Armagnac blend that is more than 10 years old
- Blanche Armagnac is a clear eau-de-vie that is not aged in wood and is perfect in cocktails
- Armagnac is an eau-de-vie that claims to have 40 virtues including those to sharpen the spirit « if taken in moderation » or even « unties the tongue and gives audacity to the shy »…