Armagnac 1960 Marquis de Monstesquiou
Hors d'Age, Presumed 1960's, Specially bottled for Lucien Lemaire, Pot, Bottled in the 1980's (presumed)
Provenance: Drouot-R, 10/26/1999
Specially bottled for Mr Lucien Lemaire for his appointment to 'l'ordre du Mèrite Agricole' on February the 15th 1980 S.P.A. Campagne d'Armagnac, Gers. Marquis de Montesquiou, which is a member of the Pernod Group, is one of France’s most illustrious Armagnac houses. As pedigrees go, you can’t get much more blueblood than this. The Montesquious are one of the oldest families in France; its oldest members, the Counts of Fezensac (who ruled over much of historic Gascony, which included the Armagnac region) served under Clovis, King of the Franks in the late 5th century. The Montesquiou family has been making Armagnac since at least 1431. Before becoming a jewel in the Pernod Group crown, the present incarnation of Marquis de Montesquiou Armagnac was started 60 years ago by Pierre de Montesquiou, who was a direct descendant of the most famous de Montesquiou of all—the comte d’Artagnan, on whom the hero of Alexandre Dumas’s book The Three Musketeers was based. Marquis de Montesquiou doesn’t have any vineyards. Instead, the spirit house has 20 grape growers under contract that deliver eau de vie to it. Buying eau de vie from 20 different growers, gives them the flexibility of blending Armagnac from different areas. The Marquis de Montesquiou’s famous aging cellar, a vaulted-ceiling space with 1,800, 400L barrels dating back to the 19th century in it, is called “The Cathedral.” This is where the Armagnac is aged and blended. 1960 is known as the "Year of Africa" because of major events—particularly the independence of seventeen African nations—that focused global attention on the continent and intensified feelings of Pan-Africanism. Vietnam War: The United States announces that 3,500 American soldiers will be sent to Vietnam. The Canton of Geneva in Switzerland gives women the right to vote. Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev meets French president Charles de Gaulle in Paris. The Belgian Congo receives its independence from Belgium as the Republic of the Congo (Léopoldville).
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.