Maker: Chateau du Tarquiet, Éauze, Condom, Gers, France.
Grape: Folle Blanche (100%)
Place of origin: Tariquet estate, Bas-Armagnac.
Age: 8 y/o (distilled Nov 1999, bottled July 2010)
Purchased for $64 (Vine & Table, Carmel, Indiana)
Appearance: Dark auburn with lots of closely spaced legs.
Nose: Overdone oatmeal raisin cookies: Vanilla, toasted cookie, raisins.
Palate: Alcohol, dried figs, old oak.
Finish: Hot, fading into macerated raisins.
Parting words: Armagnac is a type of French brandy produced in the Armagnac region of southwestern France. It differs from Cognac in a few ways. First, it’s made in a different region altogether. Second, Armagnac is made in Alembic continuous stills unlike Cognac, and it is only distilled once, also unlike Cognac which is distilled twice. This can give Armagnac a bold, rustic character that sets it apart from its mild, easy drinking cousin.
There’s not a lot of information on this Armagnac house to be found on the internet. What I was able to discover was that Tarquiet produces a fairly wide assortment of Armagnacs as well as Cote de Gascogne wines. The vineyards were purchased by the Arnaud family (bear-trainers by trade) in 1912. Hélène Arnaud married a young hairdresser named Pierre Grassa after World War II and the estate passed into the hands of the Grassa family. Armin and Rémy Grassa, grandsons of Hélène and Pierre, are now chief winemakers at the estate.
I don’t review a lot of Armagnacs, but I would like to review more. The biggest obstacle to that is the extremely limited select of them in Michigan. So I try to pick some up when I can when traveling. This one appealed to me because it is relatively affordable and available at cask strength. It’s not the most flavorful one I’ve had, but it has some very nice oak characteristics and rich raisin flavors that make it fun to drink. I like it. Chateau du Tariquet, 8 years old (100% Folle Blanche, cask strength) is recommended.
NOTE: Factual error about method of distillation has been corrected.