Armagnac is a type of French brandy produced in the Armagnac region, located in southwestern France. Its elaboration dates back centuries and stands out for its traditional and artisan process. Armagnac is obtained from the distillation of fermented white wine from grape varieties such as Ugni Blanc, Colombard and Folle Blanche.
How is Armagnac made?
The Armagnac production process begins with the fermentation of the base wine, which is then distilled in copper stills. Unlike other brandies such as Cognac, Armagnac is distilled only once, which gives it a more rustic character and full of personality.
Once distilled, Armagnac is aged in oak barrels for a minimum period of one year, although many high-quality Armagnacs are aged for decades. During this time of aging in the barrel, the brandy acquires a series of complex characteristics and flavors, such as notes of dried fruit, vanilla, spices, and wood.
What flavors does armagnac have?
Armagnac offers a wide range of complex and captivating flavors. From the first sip, notes of ripe fruit such as prunes, apricots and figs can be appreciated, adding an enticing sweetness. As the liquor unfolds on the palate, nuances of fresh fruit such as grapes, apples and citrus are revealed, bringing freshness and vitality. In addition, subtle spicy notes such as vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg can be detected, elegantly intertwined. Aging in oak barrels adds hints of wood, such as vanilla and caramel, along with delicate hints of chocolate and coffee. These flavors combine in a unique harmony, offering a sophisticated and pleasurable sensory experience when tasting Armagnac.
Each sip reveals new layers of complexity, inviting you to indulge and explore the captivating flavors that only this spirit can deliver.
How to taste the armagnac?
To taste Armagnac, it is recommended to serve it in a tulip glass or brandy glass, to concentrate the aromas. You can appreciate its color, smell the aromas it displays, such as ripe fruit, wood and spices, and finally, savor it in small sips, letting the flavors unfold slowly on the palate. Armagnac is prized for its complexity and elegance and is an ideal drink to enjoy after a meal as a digestif or as an ingredient in classic cocktails.
What types of armagnac are there?
There are several types of Armagnac, classified according to their aging period and quality.
Armagnac VS (Very Special): Also known as young Armagnac, this type of Armagnac is aged for at least 1 year in oak barrels. It presents fresh and fruity flavors, with less complexity and smoothness compared to the older types.
Armagnac VSOP (Very Superior Old Pale): This Armagnac is aged for at least 4 years, giving it greater smoothness and complexity compared to VS. It presents a balanced mix of fruity and spicy flavors, with more pronounced notes of wood.
Armagnac XO (Extra Old): This is one of the most prestigious types of Armagnac, aged for at least 6 years. It offers superior complexity and elegance, with deeper flavors and a harmonious integration of fruit, spice, and wood notes. XO Armagnacs can be aged for up to decades, further intensifying their flavor and sophistication.
Armagnac Hors d'Âge: This term is used to designate Armagnacs that have been aged for an even longer period than XOs, although there is no specific minimum age requirement. These Armagnacs are usually exceptionally smooth, complex, and of high quality.
In addition to these main types, there are also vintage Armagnacs, which come from a single specific vintage year and are of exceptional quality. These Armagnacs can age for decades before being bottled and released on the market.
Of note, Armagnac producers may have their own additional designations and classifications, adding a layer of diversity and variety to the world of Armagnac.