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Gascogny | Made In France | 700 | Elixir | Ortolan | Castelbajac


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Gascogny | Made In France | 700 | Elixir | Ortolan | Castelbajac


THE ESSENTIALS

Armagnac is the oldest wine based eau-de-vie produced in the heart of Gascony, South West France.  It is produced by a single distillation of white wine in an Armagnac alambic (still) and then left to age for many years in oak barrels before being sold.  It is available in vintages that are specific to Armagnac, or indeed in several different blends.

The Armagnac areas of production and its methods of fabrication strictly follow the rules and regulations laid down by the Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée attributed to this eau-de-vie in 1936.

 Above all, Armagnac is a hand crafted product, produced in small quantities by the winemakers and negotiant houses, custodians of the time-honoured savoir-faire.  The diversity of the different terroirs and grape varieties give this eau-de-vie a rich and diverse character that reflects the nature that surrounds it and the men that make it.

 

 

1. THE LAND " TERROIR"

Distilled from the 14th century onwards, Armagnac spirit is the oldest premium spirit in the world. From 1310, in a manuscript written in Latin, " The book on how to keep healthy and remain in good form " a medical man from Eauze, Master Vital Dufour referred to it, praising it with many virtues amongst which that of “conserving youth and retarding senility”.

Distilled from the 14th century onwards, Armagnac spirit is the oldest premium spirit in the world. From 1310, in a manuscript written in Latin, " The book on how to keep healthy and remain in good form " a medical man from Eauze, Master Vital Dufour referred to it, praising it with many virtues amongst which that of “conserving youth and retarding senility”.

Armagnac is a defined Controlled Appellation of Origin (AOC), with three production areas.

The vineyards of Armagnac, in the heart of Gascony, extend throughout almost all of the Gers Departement, as well as partially into those of the Landes and the Lot-et-Garonne.

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The Bas-Armagnac (lower) or black Armagnac area extends over what is known in Gascony as the light boulbènes (a very fine silty soil) and the so-called fawn sands. The spirits from this area are reputed for their enormous subtlety.

Haut-Armagnac (High) or white Armagnac is predominantly, calcareous soil for growing grapes, with the exception of the meridian sector, where, once again the silica-clay boulbènes are found. The distilled white wines produce very rare spirits, (less than 2 % of the global Armagnac production), with a delicate and fruity, aroma.

Ténarèze is located in the heart of the appellation zone. It is a transitional land, where the vine is cultivated predominantly on chalky-clay soil. The spirits produced in this area, tend to be generous and powerful.
  

 

 

2. THE VINES

Folle blanche was the traditional grape variety of the Cognac and Armagnac regions of France. It is also known as Picpoule (with various variations of spelling (Piquepoul, Picpoul), although it is in fact unrelated to the Picpoul of the Languedoc) as well as Gros Plant and Enrageat blanc. Folle blanche is an offspring of Gouais blanc, with the other parent so far unidentified. It has been mostly replaced by its hybrid offspring Baco blanc due to phylloxera damage. Baco blanc (also known as Baco 22 A) is a cross of Folle blanche and the Vitis riparia × Vitis labrusca hybrid Noah. Folle blanche is also the parent of the very hardy and disease-resistant Baco 1 (or Baco noir), a cross of Folle blanche and a Vitis riparia variety. Baco noir and Baco 22 A, like Folle blanche and their other parents, produce a very acid wine. This makes them more suited to distillation than less acidic grapes.

Folle blanche was the traditional grape variety of the Cognac and Armagnac regions of France. It is also known as Picpoule (with various variations of spelling (PiquepoulPicpoul), although it is in fact unrelated to the Picpoul of the Languedoc) as well as Gros Plant and Enrageat blanc. Folle blanche is an offspring of Gouais blanc, with the other parent so far unidentified.

It has been mostly replaced by its hybrid offspring Baco blanc due to phylloxera damage. Baco blanc (also known as Baco 22 A) is a cross of Folle blanche and the Vitis riparia × Vitis labrusca hybrid Noah. Folle blanche is also the parent of the very hardy and disease-resistant Baco 1 (or Baco noir), a cross of Folle blanche and a Vitis riparia variety. Baco noir and Baco 22 A, like Folle blanche and their other parents, produce a very acid wine. This makes them more suited to distillation than less acidic grapes.

  Ugni Blanc (Trebbiano) is the second most widely planted grape in the world. It gives good yields, but tends to yield undistinguished wine. It can be fresh and fruity, but does not keep long. Its high acidity makes it important in Armagnac production.  Ugni Blanc may have originated in the Eastern Mediterranean, and was known in Italy in Roman times. A subtype was recognized in Bologna in the thirteenth century, and as Ugni blanc made its way to France, possibly during the Papal retreat to Avignon in the fourteenth century.

 

Ugni Blanc (Trebbiano) is the second most widely planted grape in the world. It gives good yields, but tends to yield undistinguished wine. It can be fresh and fruity, but does not keep long. Its high acidity makes it important in Armagnac production. 

Ugni Blanc may have originated in the Eastern Mediterranean, and was known in Italy in Roman times. A subtype was recognized in Bologna in the thirteenth century, and as Ugni blanc made its way to France, possibly during the Papal retreat to Avignon in the fourteenth century.

Colombard (also known as French Colombard in North America) is a white French wine grape variety that is the offspring of Gouais blanc and Chenin blanc. This makes the grape the sibling of the Armagnac Meslier-Saint-François and the nearly extinct Cognac grape Balzac blanc. In France it was traditionally grown in the Charentes and Gascony for distilling into Cognac and Armagnac respectively. Today it is still among the permitted white grape varieties in Bordeaux wine, and in Gascony for Vins de Pays Côtes de Gascogne and the white Floc de Gascogne. Old vine grapes are crushed by some northern Californian producers and made into a fruity white wine of interesting character in both dry and sweet versions. This grape is mainly grown in California to provide backbone, due to its natural acidic character, for white "jug wine" blends.

Colombard (also known as French Colombard in North America) is a white French wine grape variety that is the offspring of Gouais blanc and Chenin blanc. This makes the grape the sibling of the Armagnac Meslier-Saint-François and the nearly extinct Cognac grape Balzac blanc.

In France it was traditionally grown in the Charentes and Gascony for distilling into Cognac and Armagnac respectively. Today it is still among the permitted white grape varieties in Bordeaux wine, and in Gascony for Vins de Pays Côtes de Gascogne and the white Floc de Gascogne.

Old vine grapes are crushed by some northern Californian producers and made into a fruity white wine of interesting character in both dry and sweet versions. This grape is mainly grown in California to provide backbone, due to its natural acidic character, for white "jug wine" blends.

Baco blanc or Baco 22A is a French-American hybrid grape variety. It is a cross of Folle blanche and the Noah grape, created in the 1898 by the grape breederFrançois Baco.[1] Folle blanche is its Vitis vinifera parent. Noah, its other parent, is itself a cross of Vitis labrusca and Vitis riparia.[2] Baco blanc was developed to produce some of the same flavors as Folle blanche but without the susceptibility to American grape disease and phylloxera. In the 20th century it was widely planted in the Gascony region for uses in brandy production. Both Armagnac and Cognac (from the Charentes and Charente-Maritimedistricts north of Gascony) are brandies made from white grapes - Ugni blanc, Folle blanche and Colombard - but only Armagnac was permitted under French regulations to use Baco blanc and until the late 1970s, Baco blanc was the primary grape of Armagnac.

Baco blanc or Baco 22A is a French-American hybrid grape variety. It is a cross of Folle blanche and the Noah grape, created in the 1898 by the grape breederFrançois Baco.[1] Folle blanche is its Vitis vinifera parent. Noah, its other parent, is itself a cross of Vitis labrusca and Vitis riparia.[2]

Baco blanc was developed to produce some of the same flavors as Folle blanche but without the susceptibility to American grape disease and phylloxera. In the 20th century it was widely planted in the Gascony region for uses in brandy production. Both Armagnac and Cognac (from the Charentes and Charente-Maritimedistricts north of Gascony) are brandies made from white grapes - Ugni blanc, Folle blanche and Colombard - but only Armagnac was permitted under French regulations to use Baco blanc and until the late 1970s, Baco blanc was the primary grape of Armagnac.

 


3. THE DISTILLATION

 

 Traditionally distillation takes place in a simple continuous still specific to Armagnac called an Alambic. This consists of a small boiler and the vapour from this rises though a short column with seven to nine plates. The wine is continually fed into the still but en route is used to cool the condenser: heat exchange takes place with the condensing spirit warming the wine and the cool wine causing the spirit to condense.
 

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4. MATURING

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After the distillation begins the long aging in oak barrels which softens the taste and causes the development of more complex flavours and a brown colour. Aging in the barrel removes a part of the alcohol and water by evaporation (known as la part des anges —"angels' tribute" or " angels' share") and allows more complex aromatic compounds to appear by oxidation, which further modifies the flavour. Alcohol is naturally reducing by an average of 0,4% per year depending on the characteristics of the cellars. When the Armagnac is considered as matured, it is transferred to large glass bottles (called "Dame Jeanne") for storage. The main difference between Armagnac and other spirits is that, due to its relatively low % of alcohol, it is generally not diluted with water and therefore is not added with flavor or colour enhancers as are the major other brandies.

 

 

5. THE LOVE & THE CARE

 All the Magic of Armagnac wouldn't have been and still be possible today, without the endless devotion of the men and women that have for so many generation elaborated and brought to life this magical/ magnificent spirit. THANK YOU.

 

6. AFTER 20 YEARS OF AGING ( AND ALL OF THE ABOVE )  

700

 

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History


History


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Since 1000 years.

Bernard de Castelbajac 1191   3rd Crusade

Bernard de Castelbajac

1191  

3rd Crusade

         

 

 

The Castelbajac family has been guarding the rich and hearty soil of Gascogny for centuries. Descendants of the first king of Navarre Eneko Arista, the lineage has birthed many illustrious figures who have tirelessly defended the land and its prosperity. Having mostly lived in the Bigorre and in Gascony/Armagnac the family has always had a long lasting love for this unique ‘Elixir'.

In between the wars and explorations of many, many years ago, some of the Castelbajacs were Armagnac producers. This is why Louis-Marie de Castelbajac has cast himself out to rediscover the absolute best of the land. Through methodical research akin to that of an archeologist, he explored for 3 years with a team to find a perfect Armaganac. Not only were the results favorable, but homage to the Elixir and his ancestors has been paid, bringing this complexly generous and unique treasure into a new era, an era that celebrates its 700 years of existence.

Loubersan in the XVth Century

Loubersan in the XVth Century