Armagnac 1893 Château de Briat
Bas-Armagnac, Appartenant a Mr. le Baron de Pichon-Longueville
Provenance: Besch Cannes, 12/29/2016
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Armagnac 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.
Château de Briat(We currently have no information available on this brand)
The Château de Briat had a long and impressive history; built-in 1540. It first served as the hunting manor for Queen Jeanne d’Albret. Her son, Henri de Navarre, later Henri IV, King of France, often stayed in the castle, but in 1587 gave it to one of his fellow officers as a reward for saving his life in battle. After changing ownership several times, the domaine was taken over by Baron Raoul de Pichon-Longueville in 1864.
The Pichon-Longueville family, who already owned the famous vineyard of the same name in Pauillac, used the estate as a country retreat while continuing the château’s tradition of distilling a percentage of the harvest every year and stocking Armagnac.
Château de Briat
When they sold the Château de Pichon-Longueville property in Bordeaux, Baron Raoul de Pichon-Longueville retained the Château de Briat, the maternal ancestor of the current owner, Gilles de Luze. De Luze, a former literary editor in Paris, now spends sixty percent of his time at the chateau in Mauvezin, a tiny town (population 213) located between Lagrange and Labastide.
They divided the seven hectares of vines between Bacco, Folle Blanche, and Colombard; De Luze, unlike many other Armagnac producers, is a firm believer in keeping yields low and is not opposed to cutting fruit to give a final harvest of 60 hl/ha. Colombard is a particular favorite, and his eau de vie is made strictly with this grape.
Each varietal is distilled separately to 52°, and all of the 10 barrels aged at the property during a given year. After 2 or 3 years, they are transferred to older casks and, apart from an airing once a year, left to rest in the spacious yet primitive chai. Topping up is not practiced; de Luze prefers to let the level fall, promote air contact, and therefore create a spirit that is less aggressive. The assemblage of various grapes takes place after a minimum of four years and, at times, not until their tenth birthday.