For the first installment of “What’s in My Decanter” I was in the mood for Armagnac.
Never heard of it? You’re not alone if you live outside of France, so here is a brief overview:
Brandy is a spirit distilled from a fruit wine. Armagnac and Cognac are both brandies made from white grape wines. The longer a spirit sits in the barrel, the more smooth and complex it becomes, but once it is ‘in-bottle’ the evolution stops. Armagnac differs from Cognac in a couple of ways:
- Cognac comes from the village of Cognac in Charente and Armagnac comes from the village of Armagnac in Gascony. This is going to effect the terrior (a sense of place detected in the finished product). The climate and soil are different in the towns so the types of grapes used and the minerality will often be noticable.
- Cognac is distilled in pot stills twice where Armagnac is distilled in column stills one time. The more you distill, the more the impurities are removed. Why wouldn’t one want to remove all impurities if possible? Because that’s also where the flavor comes from, otherwise we’d have vodka.
- Cognac is always blended from multiple barrels and (or) vintages to attain a consistant flavor. Everytime Kanye picks up a bottle of Hennessey he knows what to expect. Armagnac artisans tend to prefer creating unique profiles and will often bottle a selection as a vintage (single harvest year). This is why there is less produced and why you are less likely to find a huge selection of Armagnac brands outside of France.
Domaine Chiroulet http://chiroulet.com/ is situated on the highest point of Armagnac with a south-facing vineyard exposure. They produce both red and white wines and armagnac. Find more information and photos by clicking the link.
Domaine Chiroulet Resérve 15 ans 30-50€
Tasting Notes: The color is a dark amber with orange reflects. On the nose, I picked out orange peel and caramel notes. It has a medium bodied mouth-feel with the perfect amount of heat to tickle your nose on the first sip and the flavors were of toffee, medium roast coffee beans and vanilla. The finish was a long, five seconds.
IMG_2617 <<Still figuring out how to upload videos. Just click the link.
I prefer to drink armagnac out of a champagne flute to take advantage of the delicate nose. And it’s always better paired with a book and a chimney fire!!
3 out of 5 stars