Armagnac - Les Bons Crus D'Artagnan : facts and figures
The Armagnac AOP wine area has been awarded Vignobles & Découvertes certification under the name “Les Bons Crus D'Artagnan”.
- Location: Gers département.
- Surface area: 5,200 hectares.
- Main towns: Auch, Condom et Eauze.
- Origins: records of aygue ardente (fire water, the original name for Armagnac) date back to the early 14th century.
- Grape varieties: a dozen different ones, mainly ugni blanc, baco blanc, folle blanche and colombard.
- Type of wine: Armagnac is not a wine but a beautiful amber-coloured eau de vie made from wine that is drunk on various occasions, and not just as a digestif (an after-dinner drink to aid digestion).
- Tasting notes: when young, Armagnac is fiery, giving off a complex bouquet of floral (lime blossom, vine blossom, etc.) and fruity aromas (quince, grape, plum, etc.). Aged Armagnac is more rounded, with enchanting aromas of prune and candied orange and subtle underlying tones of vanilla.
- Countryside and terroirs: the gently rolling hills and valleys of Gers, so reminiscent of Tuscany, set off by magnificent sweeping wine estates, embrace the appellation's three terroirs, or regions. These terroirs are Bas-Armagnac (between Eauze and Nogaro), Ténarèze (around Condom and Vic-Fezensac) and Haut-Armagnac (between Auch and Lectoure).
- Distinctive characteristics: before being aged for several years in oak barrels, Armagnac is produced by distillation using a special type of still. Made entirely of pure copper and maintained at a constant heat, the Armagnac still design was laid down by royal warrant in 1818. What’s more, Armagnac is an exception in the world of spirits because it has proudly held on to its traditional distillation methods. It’s an eau de vie that is ‘crafted’ rather than produced.
- Quality certification: Previously a French AOC (Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée) from 1936, this wine area is now an AOP (Appellation d'Origine Protégée – Protected Designation of Origin, or PDO) under the new European system.