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Armagnac is one of France’s oldest spirits, in fact it was in production over 150 years before Cognac and whilst Cognac’s popularity rather over-shadows its Gascon cousin, Armagnac is one of the world’s most stunning drinks - it’s an elegant, if slightly rustic, eau-de-vie. The Armagnac region lies in the Pays de Gascogne in the southwest of France. The area possesses a rich culture and the landscape is beautiful and widely cultivated for farming. The most popular grape varietals used in the production of Armagnac include Ugni Blanc, Bacco, Folle Blanche and Colombard and the region is divided into three appellations; Bas, Haut and Ténarèze.
Armagnac is singly distilled in an Alembic pot still and this makes for an initially rough spirit which, with age, becomes earthy, robust and full-bodied.
The vast majority of Armagnac produces are farmers who distil a little spirit every year to provide extra income and an enjoyable libation for themselves, but their product is seldom sold outside the reaches of their local towns and villages. There are only a few world-famous Armagnac distillers and Château du Tariquet is perhaps the best known.