Armagnac, the oldest distillate in France
Armagnac is the oldest French wine brandy with a registered designation of origin (AOC), 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.
Wrongly defined armagnac wine, as a distillate, even if derived from a vine just like cognac, is produced from the rest of the brandy in oak barrels of Gascony or other strictly French areas, then aged in above-ground deposits called chai.
The production territory is divided into three main areas:
- Grand Bas Armagnac
- Fins Bas Armagnac
- Petits Bas Armagnac
The area of Bas Armagnac, is considered the best of the three production areas because of the sandy terroir, poor in limestone but rich in marine sediments that give life to finer and softer brandies.
Aged Armagnac follows the same legal name as cognac, which subdivides distillates according to the aging of the brandy, and is subject to increase in value over time according to 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 Italian-French convention of 1948 states that a distillate can be defined as armagnac or cognac only if the brandy is produced in the respective area of France, any other distillate from different areas of France or from abroad can be defined only brandy.
Most 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.
The Armagnac is an excellent distillate for the end of a meal or meditation, to be enjoyed in small ballon glasses, or better to say tulip, and on grandibottiglie.com you will find many bas armagnac of different vintages accompanied by a personalized box!