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Armagnac, The Thinking Woman's Brandy

thinking woman's brandyMarch is a month that celebrates women, with International Women’s Day and Mother’s Day well established in the worldwide calendar.  Jane McQuitty has been writing in The Times about the relationship between women and armagnac.  Not dissimilar to cognac, armagnac is made on a continuous column still and its lower distillation range, of between 52 – 72 % ab, allows a greater fruitiness in the spirit, although sometimes at the expense of refinement.  She heralds the many female armagnac producers including our very good friend Florence Castarede, the sixth generation of her family to produce the very fine Castarede Bas Armagnac.  The article also quotes another friend of ours, Amanda Garnham, who lived and worked in the Armagnac region for decades.  Amanda said that “Armagnac is the thinking woman’s brandy ”.   An interesting analogy that might refer to someone you know!

So, if you are still looking for a Mother’s Day gift, take a look at all the wonderful armagnacs we have to offer.  Many are vintages, labelled with the year they were harvested and come from the top cru, Bas Armagnac.

Magnums of Armagnac for Claridge's Hotel

MagnumsJust in receipt of these beauties.  Three magnums of Bas Armagnac, from the highly respected producers Castarede and Delord, will soon be on their way to Claridge’s Hotel in London.  No doubt they will look spectacular in the newly refurbished hotel.  Did you see the recent documentary on BBC 2, Claridge’s, following the most amazing transformation of the hotel whilst it remained open?  Well worth a watch!

Of course, the hotel provides beautiful surroundings if you would like to pay a visit to try one of these superb armagnacs in situ.  But if a trip to London is not on the cards, you could whet your appetite by reading the tasting notes or purchasing one of our 70cl bottles online.  The links can be found here: Castarede 1965 Bas Armagnac Castarede 1980 Bas Armagnac  Delord 1970 Armagnac


New Vintage Armagnacs – Castarede 1983, 1986 & 1987

Vintage ArmagnacsAll from the top cru, Bas Armagnac, we have another three wonderful vintage armagnacs from one of the very best producers, Castarede.   Said to be the oldest business in Armagnac, having been founded in 1832, they own the Chateau de Maniban estate and supply armagnacs grown on their 16 hectares of vineyards.  Four main armagnac grape varieties of Ugni Blanc, Baco, Folle Blanche and Colombard are grown.  All vintages, distilled in 1983, 1986 and 1987 respectively, have been aged for over 35 years.  Take a look at the delicious tasting notes below.

Castarede 1983

Aroma: Guava, passion fruit and cedar.

Flavour: Light and mellow. Flavours of angelica and elderberry with sour apple.

Castarede 1986

Aroma: Celery, palm leaves and a hint of cedar.

Flavour: Dried apples and angelica with a long finish of dried apricot.

Castarede 1987

Aroma: Unusual aromas of pineapple leaves and green tea.

Flavour: Delightful flavours of dried greengage, sage and crystalised mandarin.

New Vintage Armagnacs – 1949, 1972 & 1985

New Vintage ArmagnacsIt is always good to receive new products for our customers and this week we have three new vintage armagnacs to introduce.

Castarede is one of our favourite suppliers of Bas Armagnac, they are also one of the oldest producers of armagnac in Gascony.  Here, the vines grow on poor and acidic clay loam soils with pockets of iron elements that colour it reddish brown. This area produces light, fruity, delicate and highly reputed eaux de vie, from which the armagnacs are distilled.  The latest 1985 and 1972 vintages, distilled 35 and 50 years ago respectively, have these qualities in abundance and for those looking for a 50th birthday gift, you need look no longer!

We also have a rare 1949 vintage produced by Baron de Sigognac, not long after the end of the war, in the year that the NATO Treaty was signed in Washington DC.  This Bas Armagnac is harmonious and elegant on the palate, powerful and well balanced with a long, smooth vanilla finish.