Armagnac 1888 Samalens
Vieille Relique, St. des Vieilles Eaux-de-Vie d'Armagnac, Bas-Armagnac, Packed in Straw Basket
Provenance: Christies London, 12/15/1999
ArmagnacArmagnac is France's oldest and most prestigious wine-based eau-de-vie. In the 16th century, it was sold over the counter in pharmacies as a "medicine". Armagnac began to be aged in oak barrels in the 17th century. Nowadays, the Armagnac region can be divided into three production areas: Bas-Armagnac, Ténarèze and Haut-Armagnac. Unlike Cognac, Armagnac is comprised of a broad palette of grape varieties, each very different, allowing for a very particular aromatic balance: Bacco adds to the wine's structure and lends it full-bodied, rich and dense aromas that require long ageing processes to fully express their roundness, smoothness and length on the palate. Folle Blanche, on the other hand, provides freshness and fruitiness in the first years of ageing. Ugni Blanc, ideal for distilling, as well as Colombard, are the final names on the region's list of most common grape varieties. When aged for 15 years or more, Armagnac displays flavours of hazelnut, orange peel, cocoa, and prunes combined with aromas of rose, verbena, leather, vanilla and even cinnamon. These Armagnacs are very dense and rounded and fully express their soil. After 25 years, Armagnacs lose their potency and mellow. Their original character gives way to oak barrel fragrances and their length on the palate becomes truly remarkable.
Founded in 1882 by their great grandfather, Pierre and Philippe Samalens proudly carry on the company's family traditions and quality. They are considered specialists of the Appellation Armagnac. They exclusively distil wines from the best soils of the Bas Armagnac, in particular the small area known as Grand Bas Armagnac. The greatest armagnac comes from the Bas Armagnac, between the rugged Pyrénées mountains and the vast forests of the Landes. Here the sand and clay soil provide the base wines with the necessary acidity and bouquet to ensure a perfect distillation, a mellow but fruity and strong spirit that rounds with slow aging. Its connoisseurs included King Henri IV of France, poet Francois Villon and d'Artagnan, the captain of the king's musketeers.