A story of legacy
In 1820, Jean-Dominique Laudet, back from the Caribbean where he spent 20 years doing spice trade, decided to fulfill his dream: to spend the rest of his life producing Armagnac, the oldest French alcohol.
It was then that he acquired the Château Laballe, on the edge of the Landes and the Gers, a region once called Grand Bas Armagnac. At this time, the estate represented 600 hectares of forest and farmland with 120 working people: a major undertaking that did not frighten Jean-Dominique, guided by his desire to produce Armagnac.
The day of the purchase, he wrote with enthusiasm:
“June 16th, 1820, I’ve just acquired a beautiful estate located a few miles from Eauze, [...]” Excerpt from Jean-Dominique Laudet’s book of memoirs.
Thanks to the expertise of Jean-Dominique and to their exceptional quality, the Armagnacs of the Château soon became well known; to such an extent that, in 1929, Jean Dominique exported 200 barrels of Armagnac in New York!
From then on, his passion was passed on from father to son: Jean-Dominique, Alexandre, Julien, Fernand, Robert, Noel, and Christian maintained over the years and centuries the family’s knowhow, each of them bringing his personal touch.
The major change came in the 70’s from Noel Laudet. Formerly steward of the Château Beychevelle, he brought a new dimension to the estate: the wine. With his skills, he diversified the production that so far was only focused on Armagnac, by making dry white wine the other Château’ standard.
Today, Cyril Laudet, the 8th generation, takes up the torch with his wife Julie. Their ambition is to honour their family ancestors by perpetuating their knowhow in accordance with the traditions and to develop the estate, Armagnacs, and wines of Laballe with a contemporary touch inherent in their time and their young ages.
The vineyard is situated on a unique, rare, and non extensive land called Sables Fauves (tawny sands). These soils are well known for producing Armagnac because they are the land of choice of the Bas-Armagnac region, but the Laballe estate was the first to produce wines in this region.
The Sables Fauves, gently slopes of silty clayey sediments, have the particularity of containing iron oxide, which brings minerals and freshness to the wines and Armagnacs. From the vineyard and soils work to the winemaking and aging, everything is done to extract the maximum of this specific geographic area.
The Sables Fauves are the original entity of the Château Laballe.
If made on this thin strip of tawny sands on which the Laballe estate is located, the wines can have two names: Terroirs Landais (name reserved for the sands’ vineyards wines only) or Côtes de Gascogne (common name of the southwest’s wines and which covers a larger area). There is a range of wines for each of the appellations.
Today, the estate is about 17 hectares, but to expand it and to extend the ranges of liquors, Cyril Laudet also works closely with the neighbouring vineyards. He monitors and manages the winemaking as for his own cellar.
The Laballe’s types of vines are:
-Ungi blanc and Baco for Armagnacs
- Colombard, Ugni blanc, Sauvignon blanc, Sauvignon gris, Gros manseng, and Chardonnay for dry white wines
- Petit manseng and Gros manseng for sweet white wines
- Cabernet franc for rosé wines
- Merlot, Cabernet sauvignon, and Tannat for red wines.