Google Malternatives of Gascony

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Hi, this is one of our (almost) daily tastings. Santé!

November 26, 2017


Malternatives of Gascony

Indeed that would be armagnac. Well, armagnac in French, and Armagnac in English. Ha. Bas-armagnac this time, to be more precise…

Marcel Trépout 8 ans d’âge ‘VSOP’ (40%, OB, +/-2016)

Marcel Trépout 8 ans d’âge ‘VSOP’ (40%, OB, +/-2016) Two stars and a half It is said that the Palais de l’Elysée are presenting some of their visitors with bottles of Marcel Trépout armagnac. The estate is located in Vic-Fezensac, in the Gers region, but as often with armagnac, you’ll find contradictory stories on the web. For example, is this own estate or rather ‘négociant’ armagnac? Hard to find a reliable answer… Colour: gold. Nose: it’s a fresh and fruity one, with notes of sultanas and nectarines at first nosing, then rather grasses, leaves, and stems, then rather liquorice and touches of menthol. Some easy and fresh young armagnac, but there isn’t much oomph. So far. Mouth: it’s got this gritty roughness that’s typically armagnac, the leafy notes playing first fiddles this time, then we have notes of oranges and peaches, with a thin layer of liquorice. Relatively simple. Finish: rather short, but clean. More liquorice. Comments: a good fresh armagnac, not very broad, rather in the apéritif style. SGP:551 - 79 points.

Castarède 8 ans d’âge ‘Folle Blanche Brut de Fût’ (52%, OB, Bas-armagnac, cask #76, 2017)

Castarède 8 ans d’âge ‘Folle Blanche Brut de Fût’ (52%, OB, Bas-armagnac, cask #76, 2017) Four stars Castarède is a highly reputed house in Mauléon d’Armagnac. This is 100% folle blanche from their own estate (Château de Maniban), and bottled at natural cask strength. Colour: deep gold. Nose: whiffs of pencil shavings at very first nosing, as well as a little coffee (roasted beans), then sultanas and apricots, which is just perfect. A few notes of stewed vegetables, then flowers. Rather honeysuckle and hawthorn. With water: a wonderful honeyed development, this baby loves water. Maple syrup, preserved apricots… Mouth (neat): punchy and even heavy, thick, with a Macallany side (if I may), some cakes, more raisins (Corinthians), and roasted and caramelised pecans. A touch of tar and smoke. With water: cancel that thing about Macallan, this is well some creamy, fruity armagnac. Rather high class. Finish: rather long, with touches of triple-sec and a drop of pepper liqueur. Chestnut honey and liquorice in the aftertaste. Comments: this one’s plainly malternative. SGP:641 - 86 points.

Domaine de Charron 2007/2017 (46.6%, OB, Bas-armagnac, cask #53)

Domaine de Charron 2007/2017 (46.6%, OB, Bas-armagnac, cask #53) Four stars and a half This is 100% baco this time. This small estate in the Landes region only do natural cask strength. A favourite in the house… Colour: deep gold. Nose: this is a style that’s a little less traditional, with rather more oak influence, more spices (cinnamon) and, perhaps, more ‘malt’. This works a treat, with notes of spicy croissants, sawn cherry wood, and a pack of thin mints. Not obligatorily After Eights. Mouth: fantastic! It’s exploring new territories, with some sage, wormwood, eucalyptus, vanilla, more thin mints, spearmint, blood oranges, butterscotch, bourbon… This really is different. Perfect body. Finish: very long, spicy, coating. Pink pepper, prunes, mocha, marmalade… Comments: some exceptional, perfect young armagnac that might outshine many a Scottish malt whisky. Blind, naturally. SGP:562 - 89 points.

Domaine d’Ognoas 2000/2013 (46%, OB, Bas-armagnac)

Domaine d’Ognoas 2000/2013 (46%, OB, Bas-armagnac) Three stars and a half This domaine is located in Arthez d’Armagnac. This is 70% ugni blanc and 30% folle blanche. Colour: amber. Nose: lovely, really, with touches of parsley and lovage at first, then some notes of well-polished rosewood, various honeys, preserved cherries and peaches, and some lighter kind of pipe tobacco. This is very elegant, we might even call it a little more ‘cognacqy’ than ‘armagacqy’. Hope I’m not ruffling any feathers… Mouth: I was wrong, this is clearly armagnac, with gritty notes of stems, grapes, green coffee, then peaches and apricots, and lastly, some slightly syrupy liqueurs. A wee sucrosity in the background, triple-sec, honey…. Finish: medium, rather grassier. Raisins, prunes, and grass. Oranges in the aftertaste, which I always like a lot. Comments: just super-good, if a little less ‘focussed’ than the Charron and the Castarède. SGP:551 - 84 points.

Domaine de Baraillon 1988/2013 (45%, OB, Bas-armagnac, folle blanche)

Domaine de Baraillon 1988/2013 (45%, OB, Bas-armagnac, folle blanche) Four stars From a little house in Lannemaignan. Apparently, this was bottled at cask strength, but remember they distil and fill the casks at approx. 52% in Armagnac. Colour: coffee. Nose: oh wow! An amazing round of chestnut honey, coffee, chocolate liqueur, and, well, dry old oloroso. Again, we’ve known old Macallans… Also wet earth, morels, and something game-y. Well-cured ham, rancio, cigars… Indeed, oh wow! Mouth: it’s huge, it’s totally old-school, it’s beautifully oaky, and it’s full of pine resin and dry ground black chocolate. You could say brandy de Jerez, but those are usually much sweeter, while this is bone dry. Finish: long, full of black bitter chocolate, coffee, and roasted chestnuts. Do you know Underberg? Comments: a little extreme, perhaps? Nah… SGP:371 - 87 points.

A last one…

Château de Lacaze 1975 (49%, Bordeneuve, Bas-armagnac, +/-2017)

Château de Lacaze 1975 (49%, Bordeneuve, Bas-armagnac, +/-2017) Three stars and a half This house is located in Eauze. They bottle and distribute various estates. Colour: amber. Nose: right, just as in whisky, age brings complexity. In this case, we’re finding a rather intricate combination of earth and old nuts (no, I’m meaning hazelnuts, chestnuts, walnuts…), then a rather drier honey, cane syrup, raisins of course, and many pastries. A light rancio, and a pinhead of Marmite plus a touch of mint. Perhaps a little camphor as well. Mouth: totally and plainly old armagnac, with this gritty side (crunching grapes) mingling with oriental flavours, rosewater, Turkish delights… And then the expected earth, cigars, prunes, toffee, marmalade… Finish: rather long, a tad oaky ‘of course’, and rather more mentholy and pine-y. Cinnamon, clove, and pepper in the aftertaste. Quite a lot of clove, and quite a lot of cinnamon. Earthy black tea. Comments: flies high, but as in many an old armagnac, the oak started to show. But as they say at whisky clubs, I wouldn’t drink Loch Dhu instead. SGP:461 - 83 points.

(Merci beaucoup, Francesco!)

More tasting notes Check the index of all Armagnac I've tasted so far






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