A brandy bearer of values
A brandy bearer of values
Armagnac is produced in South-western France, in the heart of Gascony, on three distinct geographical areas: Bas Armagnac, Haut Armagnac and Ténarèze.
The Estate is located in the Bas Armagnac region, recognizable by its sandy soils and considered as the best of the three soils.
Armagnac is the oldest alcohol of France, it has been mentioned on writings since 1310; it has therefore celebrated its 700th anniversary in 2010!
Many virtues have been attributed to it over the years, including immortality: a regular consumption would preserve health.
Today, Armagnac is a noble brandy and identity of Gascony, still very committed to traditions and knowhow but its reputation and consumption have lowered; at Laballe, we work to modernize its image and stimulate its consumption.
An authentic knowhow
For nearly two centuries now, the Laudet family produces the Château Laballe’s Armagnacs on the estate. From the vineyard management to the years of aging, everything is done to extract and preserve the most of the Sables Fauves soils’ singular characteristics. The vines are cherished and soils worked to highlight the iron oxide (main characteristic of Sables Fauves) that brings a subtlety and fullness specific to the Château Laballe‘s Armagnacs.
Armagnac is distilled by simple stoking, in an ongoing still; the alcohol vapours go up from tray to tray and cross the cold wine in the opposite direction. Specific to the preparation of Armagnac, this technique allows a greater retention of aroma compared to a distillation by double stoking.
The château uses the same still since 1923. It is a copper still that requires attention from the distillers because it is wood heated and supplied manually. As a result, temperature varies significantly during the distillation (as opposed to gas stills that have a constant temperature). These changes provide an extra character to the Armagnacs.
A mastered aging
In order to promote, once again, the qualities of the soil, Armagnac then rests in barrels made of pedunculate oak from the Bartholomo cooperage in the Landes (one of the last cooper craftsmen of the region).
Armagnacs are aerated two to three times a year, in order to homogenize the barrels of the same vintage. The cellars of Armagnac dating from the 18th century host the barrels and provide the serenity needed for the aging.
Armagnac ages in barrel only. Once it is bottled, the evolution of Armagnac stops. It can be stored in bottles for years without any alteration or evolution of the flavours. This is why we bottle Armagnac only when ordered. We thus ensure the longest aging to your Armagnacs.
This expertise, which has been developed for 8 generations and respected to the letter, explains the elegance, richness, complexity, and therefore the high quality of Château Laballe’s Armagnac.