Armagnac is the oldest brandy in France, dating back to the 15th century, and differs from the more recognisable Cognac name in several areas. Firstly Armagnac is distilled just the once, compared to cognac’s double distillation. The stills are different too as are the grape varieties used. Armagnac producers are able to call on 10 different varieties, although only four are used (Ugni Blanc, Folle Blanche, Baco 22A and Colombard) against Cognac’s predominant Ugni Blanc.
The difference in style is marked. Cognac is generally perceived to be more elegant, more of a refined drink; Armagnac is more rustic, bigger and powerful. The producers in Armagnac are artisanal, with all that that implies, and it would seem, with the launch of white Armagnac prepared to experiment and innovate.
One estate – Domaine de Lauroux – has been owned by an English couple since early 2004. Planted solely with Ugni Blanc the estate lies to the North East of Nogaro in the heart of the Bas-Armagnac region. In addition to a range of wines they have supplies of magnificent Armagnacs of all ages and styles – apart from a white version. Two came my way earlier this week, a 15 year old and a 1967 vintage.
Domaine de Lauroux Armagnac 15 ans
The aroma here is powerful, nutty and, when compared to the 1967 has a fresher, more floral edge, fruitier. Alcohol 40%.
Domaine de Lauroux Armagnac 1967
Slightly darker in hue than the 15 year old, an attractive brown-orange colour, mahogany. The aroma too is deeper, more nutty and with an edge of woodiness emerging. Smoother, with depth and warmth. The lingering flavours offered nuances of coffee, hazelnuts and caramel. Alcohol 40%.
I have found two online stores, in the UK, that have varying stocks of Lauroux Armagnacs: Planet of the Grapes [read more] currently lists the 10 year old £33, 25 year old £45 and the VSOP at £26. Bentleys of Ludlow the 1950 at £110, 25year old in a 20cl bottle £22 and the VSOP at £20.
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