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History
Armagnac is the oldest brandy known in France. The first evidence of its production, consumption and marketing dates from between 1411 and 1441. By 1461 it had become a common product in the market of Saint-Sever in the Landes.

Originally Armagnac was used for its therapeutic properties. It is only in the 16th century that references to the brandies of Gascony become more frequent.

In the 17th century, it was the Dutch who bought all the wines on the Atlantic coast of France, except for those of Bordeaux which were reserved for the English.

In the Armagnac region the Dutch bought vast quantities of alcohol, to supply the markets of Northern Europe.

By 1730 the brandy was being put to age in the wooden barrels known since the time of the Gauls. It is this ageing in barrels which provides the colour, the fullness and the best bouquets.
In the second half of the 19th century certain wine merchants set out to build up a reputation for Armagnac. They succeeded in developing a quality of brandy destined to ensure the long life of their Armagnac.

After the Second World War, Armagnac began to be sold in bottles to satisfy consumer demand; the market for Armagnac became international and today exports account for 55% of sales.

Alcohol abuse is dangerous for health

Notre gamme d'Armagnac



 
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Vineyard

Located in the heart of Gascony, the vineyard covers 37,000 acres divided into three regions.

Bas-Armagnac represents 57% of the area planted with vines. This region, with its sandy soils, produces brandies of very high reputation, fruity, light and delicate.

Armagnac-Tenareze has clay soils and produces richer, more robust brandies which reach maturity only after a long period of ageing.

Haut-Armagnac is the largest of the three regions, but as the soil is less favourable the area planted in vines represents only 3% of the total Armagnac vineyard.

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Production

The production of Armagnac remains a small-scale, traditional industry. There are three stages to the production.

The wine-making process is carried out in the traditional way, using permitted grape varieties such as the Ugni-blanc, Colombard and Folle Blanche.

The distillation, carried out in winter, must be finished before March 31st. It can take different forms:
On the property using a mobile still.
In a distillery.It is carried out in a continuous Armagnac still (see diagram).

Ageing

The Armagnac is put into 400 litre oak barrels, stored in cellars where the temperature and humidity levels are controlled.

Once the brandy has absorbed the desired amount of flavour and character from the wood, it is transferred into older barrels. The woody influence becomes more refined, the aromas develop and the degree of alcohol decreases through evaporation; this loss is known as "the angels' share."

The brandy takes on an amber and then a mahogany colour.

When the brandy has aged sufficiently, the maître de chais (the man in charge of making and ageing the brandy) "orders the cups", which is to say the blending of several brandies of different origins and ages.

The degree of alcohol is 40% vol. minimum.


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Labels
*** (Three Star) is composed of brandies of which the youngest must have spent at least two years ageing.

VO, VSOP or Reserve is a blend in which the youngest brandy must have at least five years of ageing.

XO, Extra or Napoleon only contains brandies which are more than six years old.

Hors d'Age contains no brandy which has aged for less than ten years.

Millesime or Vintage corresponds to the year of harvest indicated on the label.

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