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Whisk(e)y News: Vintage Expressions from a Favorite Armagnac Producer - 12/23/2017 - Cognac and Armagnac

Today marks the arrival of two new vintage expressions from one of my favorite Armagnac producers: Château de la Grangerie. Not only do I love the spirits themselves, I love the story of Grangerie, I love the setting of the chai (the French word for barrel room or rickhouse), and I love the history of the estate. My enjoyment of these brandies extends way beyond the flavors themselves, although what I love about their flavor is how pure they are. Armagnac isn't Cognac in terms of adulteration and added sugar, but on the otherhand there are plenty of people who add caramel for coloring. I've often compared Armagnac to Bourbon and there are plenty of woody expressions that share many of the American whiskey's characteristics, but the Grangerie brandies are much, much finer. They're more like single malt than Bourbon and they have clean, pure, easy-to-love flavors of stonefruit, vanilla, oak—almost like Glenmorangie—it's just that where the malted barley flavor would normally kick in, instead you get the vinous flavor of the brandy: a raisiny, dried fruit component that reminds you this stuff is made from grapes, not grain

Vintage Item Name Score Retail Link
2005 Chateau de la Grangerie 11 Year Old K&L Exclusive Armagnac (750ml) $49.99 View
1993 Chateau de la Grangerie 23 Year Old K&L Exclusive Armagnac (750ml) $69.99 View


2005 Chateau de la Grangerie 11 Year Old K&L Exclusive Armagnac (750ml) ($49.99)

Chateau de la Grangerie is a property that was built in the 17th century right next to an old monastery. The church and the housing for its servants was actually built in the 11th and 12th centuries and since the Armagnac is aged inside that facility, it might be the only spirit at K&L matured on hallowed grounds. Like many Tenereze producers, Grangerie distills only ugni blanc for its brandies. However, the sandy and gravel-rich soils are much more like the terrain found in the Bas-Armagnac. They fill about ten barrels a year; two of which are used for Floc de Gascogne and one goes to Pruneau: a prune-flavored brandy made by macerating the Armagnac with the dried fruit also grown on the property. This 2005 vintage expression has more punch than the other brandies we've imported from Grangerie and with no added sweeteners or caramel the spirit comes across almost like a Highland single malt with strong notes of vanilla and a creamy texture on the finish. There is still a gorgeous brandy eau-de-vie character, however, and while not as heavily oaked or rich as what we see from other Tenereze producers like Pellehaut, this is one of the most graceful Armagnacs we've found thus far and one heck of a bargain for the money.

1993 Chateau de la Grangerie 23 Year Old K&L Exclusive Armagnac (750ml) ($69.99)

Chateau de la Grangerie is a property that was built in the 17th century right next to an old monastery. The church and the housing for its servants was actually built in the 11th and 12th centuries and since the Armagnac is aged inside that facility, it might be the only spirit at K&L matured on hallowed grounds. Like many Tenereze producers, Grangerie distills only ugni blanc for its brandies. However, the sandy and gravel-rich soils are much more like the terrain found in the Bas-Armagnac. They fill about ten barrels a year; two of which are used for Floc de Gascogne and one goes to Pruneau: a prune-flavored brandy made by macerating the Armagnac with the dried fruit also grown on the property. If you were a fan of our now sold out 2001 Grangerie expression, the 1993 is a richer, rounder, softer version of that same flavor profile. The nose is a heady bouquet of brandied fruit and creme brulee, the palate shows a lovely vinous character that packs a supple fruit and oak combination without any additives or caramel coloring. The brandies from Grangerie are some of the prettiest and purest we've tracked down in over five years of digging through Armagnac and we're hoping to continue finding incredible deals like this moving forward.