The history of Armagnac
Armagnac is the oldest French brandy. It was known in the Middle-Ages for its medicinal properties and has been widely marketed since the 16th century. This brandy is produced with loving care in the heart of Gascony.
Elements from three different civilizations combined to enable the production of Armagnac: the Romans brought the vine to the Armagnac area, the Arabs contributed the alembic (still) and the Celts the cask.
The reputation of Armagnac brandies is rooted in centuries-old expertise, with production techniques being carefully passed on from generation to generation.
The Armagnac growing region
Armagnac is produced with loving care in the heart of Gascony, in three distinct areas :
> The sandy soils of Bas Armagnac in the west. This area produces delicate, round, fruity brandies.
> Armagnac Ténarèze, located in the centre of the region and characterized by clay-limestone soils. Brandies produced here are more robust.
> To the east and the south lies the Haut Armagnac, where production is on a much smaller scale. Most soils here are limestone soils.
Armagnac is produced by distilling the wines produced from white grapes harvested from the appellation area between September and October. The grapes are pressed and the resulting juice fermented. Fermentation is carried out by means of a traditional Armagnac still, the design for which received a royal patent in 1818 from Louis XVIII.
This enables a process of uninterrupted distillation by means of a small column containing a series of plates. 25% of the still’s output is produced using wood as a fuel, thus reducing reliance on non-renewable energy sources.
Right out of the still, Armagnac is housed in oak barrels "parts." Aging in oak allows water of life is to refine and enrich the result of complex reactions between wood and alcohol.
Throughout aging, the alcohol decreases by evaporation of the alcohol, it is the famous "angels' share". Over time, the woody substances are refined, with aromas of vanilla, prune develop the "rancid" character appears.
Armagnac are marketed either assembly, ***, VSOP, XO ... Either vintages. A vintage can be sold from 10 years of age.
How to read labels assembly Armagnac?
> *** , VS : 1 year
> Réserve : 3 years
> VSOP : 4 years
> Napoléon, XO : 6 years
> Hors d’Age : 10 years