1988 Domaine de Baraillon 28 Year Old Folle Blanche Armagnac (750ml)
We've been carrying the Baraillon Armagnacs for three years now and it's been a match made in heaven for K&L, the Claverie family and our customers—we're their biggest account and their biggest fans. There's something special about walking into the tasting room at Baraillon, which is really just a little hut next to their home, with plastic furniture and humble offerings (like fresh fois gros straight from the farm next door). Mr. Baraillon will come in from feeding the pigs wearing rubber boots, while his daughter Laurence stands by quietly, yet does most of the talking. It's as "real" of a rustic French experience as I think exists, in that there's absolutely no romantic marketing or salesmanship going on in the room. You're simply stopping by a small farm in the Bas-Armagnac that sells meat, preserves and also happens to have a little reserve Armagnac in the chai outside, some amazingly-delicious Armagnac, no less. This 1988 vintage is much less rich and more fruit-driven than what you would expect from Baraillon if you've tasted previous editions. The vanilla is lighter, the wood less dominant, allowing the perfumy nature of the varietal fruit to shine. This is one of the rare instances where the delicacy of the fruit outshines the richness of the oak from a Baraillon expression, but that's due to the usage of folle blanche versus baco. While baco becomes a doormat for the wood, folle blanche's spice and character manages to push through. A stunning selection!