Armagnac - France
Armagnac is the oldest controlled designation of origin (AOC) wine brandy in France, produced in the historic region of Gascony in the county from which it takes its name and which is still the main production site today.
Erroneously defined as Armagnac wine, because properly a distillate, although derived from a grape variety just like cognac, is produced by the rest of the brandy in oak barrels Gascon or other strictly French areas, then aged in above ground deposits called chai.
The production area is divided into three main zones:
- Grand Bas Armagnac
- Fins Bas Armagnac
- Petits Bas Armagnac
The Bas Armagnac area is considered the best of the three production areas due to its sandy terroir, poor in limestone but rich in marine sediments that give life to finer and softer brandies.
Ageed armagnac follows the same legal name as cognac, which divides the distillates according to the aging of the brandy, and is subject to increase in value over time based on producer, years of aging and production area:
- VS or De Luxe (Very Special)
- VSOP or Réserve (Very Superior or Very Special Old Pale)
- XO (eXtra Old)
An Italo-French convention of 1948 states that a distillate can be called armagnac or cognac only if the brandy is produced in the respective area of France, any other distillate coming from different areas of France itself or from abroad can only be defined as brandy.
Most of the producers are negociants, i.e. they do not grow the basic vine but buy it from other producers (one of the most famous is, for example, the bas armagnac Dartigalongue)and then continue with the entire production process until bottling.
It's an excellent distillate for end of meal or meditation, to be enjoyed in small glasses to ballon, or rather to tulip, and on grandibottiglie.com you will find many bas armagnac of different years accompanied by a custom box!