Armagnac is back
Considered the oldest French alcohol, Armagnac is a golden brown wine brandy, aged in oak barrels. First appeared in the Middle Ages, this spirit is of very high quality but is little known abroad. Here is how to understand this mysterious eau-de-vie in three lessons.
Lesson 1: What is Armagnac?
Armagnac is the oldest eau-de-vie in France. Its first mention dates back to 1310, in the treaty of Vital du Four. Armagnac is obtained by distilling dry white wine (generally from Ugni Blanc, Baco, or Folle Blanche), then aged in barrels to obtain the golden hue we know. The still used to distill the Armagnac is very specific: it is a column still that distills continuously. The design was registered in 1818.
Lesson 2: Where is it produced?
Armagnac is produced in southwestern France (Gers, Landes, and Lot-et-Garonne).
The cities of Eauze (in Bas-Armagnac) and Condom (in Ténarèze), both in the Gers, are the historical and economic centres.
Lesson 3: How do you enjoy it?
It can be drunk dry, on ice, or in a cocktail, depending on its taste but also on the type of Armagnac chosen. If it is young and spirited, it will be perfect in cocktails, especially as a long drink, lying down with a ginger beer for example. For older Armagnacs, prefer it as a short drink, as an old-fashioned revisited, or simply on ice for pure tasting.
Since 1820, Laballe has been producing Armagnac in the Château of the same name, located in Bas-Armagnac Landes. In 2007, Cyril Laudet, the eighth of the generation, took over the reins of the estate to give a new impetus: to turn to exports. Each year, the company produces 500 bottles of Armagnac.
Don’t drink and drive. Enjoy responsibly.
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