Armagnac is a very unique French brandy (grape distillate) produced in the region of the same name in the heart of Gascogny. The officially demarcated area for the production of Armagnac encompasses three districts :
- The Bas-Armagnac produces the highest quality, most refined and complex Armagnacs.
- Ténarèze yields most of the production and is known for its perfumed style of Armagnac.
- Haut-Armagnac is the least significant of the three in terms of production quality and quantity.
The Armagnac produced by Chateau Laubade is made at 100% from grapes harversted in Bas- Armagnac.
Because of its southern location in the Gers area, Armagnac was isolated from the main commercial ports like Bordeaux or Nantes.
As a result the Brandy was less known and its production has remained traditional and confidential in comparison with Cognac.
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Although it undergoes the same long ageing in oak barrels, Armagnac is mainly distilled once. The outcome is a more intense fruit character and rustic flavours. Armagnac is mainly aged in local oak casks which impart subtle colour and complex flavour which is distinctively different from the more pronounced sweet vanillin character of the cognac caks.
In terms of ageing, for the VSOP, the minimum is at least five years, and for XO, at least six. Older and more complex armagnacs from a single year are dated “vintages”.
There are mainly 4 grape varieties used in the blends : Ugni Blanc, Colombard, Folle blanche and Baco.