Armagnac-making at Luquet

First step - Grape and its varieties

At Domaine de Luquet, 4 grape varieties which are Colombard, Ugni Blanc, Folle Blanche and Baco Blanc have been used. After numerous years, the last one has been preferred - very strong, it doesn't need so much treatment. It also is particularly well fit to the tawny sands, typical of the designation 'Bas-Armagnac'. A good Armagnac begins with the right choice of grape variety and its adjustment to the property's soils.


Second step - The harvest

Each year, the wine harvest occurs between September and October, depending on the year's sunshine. Grapes are harvested then squeezed, now the juice naturally begins to ferment.


Third step - The vinification

At Domaine de Luquet, vinification is done in a traditional and natural way - wine sulfurization and chaptalization are prevented. This step lasts for 1 to 2 months. In accordance with local customs, fine lees are kept, they will bring the nose and the full-bodied of the future Armagnac. The ideal wine to distillate must be acid and have a low degree of alcohol.


Fourth step - The distillation

 

Ever since fermentation ends, 'when the wine has stopped singing', distillation can begin. It occurs during winter, in november or December. This period leads to the 'Flamme de l'Armagnac' - partying events accross the region.

 

At Domaine de Luquet, distillation occurs at the property which hosts a moving still. It settles in the morning for a continuous distillation in an Armagnac still, simple heating. It is still especially designed for Armagnac, it participates to give an Armagnac its personnality. The distilles wine which comes out of the still is a white brandy of 52° minimum.


Fifth step - Ageing and Angels' share

 

As soon as it is distilled, Armagnac is put in ageing in oak casks (called 'pièces') of 420L. At first, it goes in brand new casks, where it stays for 2/3 years or more, until the dissolution of wood matter seems satisfying. Then it swaps to older casks, which have already been used (to age Armagnac, of course). In those casks, evolution and exchanges continue, permitting the aromas to develop and to get finer. During ageing, the alcoholic degree progressively decreases by the evaporation of alcohol, which we call 'Angel's share'.

 

It is important to know that Armagnac doesn't age anymore when out of the cask, when bottled.

 

Precision - Armagnac preserves itself well once bottled, just take care to let the bottle stand vertically, so the alcohol can't reach the cork, and away from light.


What is Blanche Armagnac ?

 

 

Blanche Armagnac, recently awarded an A.O.C, is a traditional eau-de-vie from the region of Armagnac championed by the Armagnac producers of today.

 

A specially designed vinification and distillation process, distilling to a higer degree of alcohol than Armagnac, produces an eau-de-vie selected for its finesse and its fruity and floral aromas.

 

Blanche Armagnac's maturation (at least 3 months but often more) is utilized to work, aerate, temper its original sparkle and to reveal its rich and round flavours.

 

In rder to preserve these flavours and its Crystal clear transparency, it is stocked in a glass demi-john or in a stainless steel vat.

 

Finally, and this is unique in the world of A.O.C spirits, Blanche Armagnac needs to be vetted by an expert jury who decide if it is fit to be commercialized and guarantees the compliance and the quality of the product.

 

Either rich and elegant, powerful and round, it can be used in a new way, creating original and aromatic cocktails. It also goes very well with crustaceans, scallops, caviar, smoked fish, quality pork meats (for example black pork of Bigorre), foie gras and numerous desserts (lemon cake, pear cake...)