Baron Gaston Legrand vintage 1986 & 1990 – armagnac tasting
1990 … The beginning of the beautiful years of my childhood, my first friendship (lasting until today), carefree, joy, warm summer. Those are my memories. In 1990, the war in the Persian Gulf began, the reunification of Germany took place and the cult films Pretty Woman and Dancing with Wolves had their premieres due to more joyful events. In 1990 the armagnac that I have tasted was born.
My last post was about Janneau, a producer that is quite unique in the world of armagnacs. This time, an equally non-obvious product goes into my glass. Although it is definitely armagnac in every respect, thus the traditional Lheraud cognac house stands behind the Baron Gaston Legrand brand. The Lheraud family has been producing cognacs since 1860 and continues to this day. They completed their portfolio in 1998 by purchasing a property which produced armagnacs, later known as Baron Gaston Legrand. Armagnacs have been produced in this place for over 120 years, and the place is the village of Lannepax, from which very famous brands such as Delord and Jean Cave come. Baron Gaston’s armagnacs mature in four cellars in Lannepax and, interestingly, in one in the Cognac region.
The manufacturer’s offer includes VSOP (3-year-old), VSOP (5-year-old), XO (over 10-year-old) and vintage editions. I had the pleasure of getting acquainted with the vintage 1990 edition better and I will admit it was exceptionally tasty. I also managed to get the year 1986 (my year!) last-minute. Therefore, it will be nice to compare two vintages from one manufacturer. I start with the younger one.
Nose: volatile (above average), honey, oranges, apricots, flowers on the back, it is a promise of something very pleasant.
Mouth: dessert, orange peel, vanilla, toffee, a little violet, pears.
Finish: cocoa, slightly peppery, tobacco, ginger, bitter and quite persistent finish.
Time for the vintage 1986. First of all, it’s great fun to be able to taste a drink from my year of birth. As a reminder, the grapes for the production of armagnac are harvested by the end of October of a given year. Therefore, the grapes used for the production of this edition had to be harvested shortly after my birth, and the smell of the radioactive cloud from Chernobyl still hovered over the world 🙂 According to the regulations, the distillation of armagnac must be completed by March 31 of the following year. Therefore, we do not have precise information when the distillate ended up in the barrel. The date on the bottle – 2020, so we have almost 34-yo spirit here.
Nose: almonds, wood varnish, dried apricots, vinegar, a touch of licorice which, however quickly turned into a hint of citrus.
Mouth: surprisingly a bit “sweeter” than the younger one, more wood, dried figs, cocoa and tobacco. Still slightly vinegary. No citrus here.
Finish: less tannins and pepper than 1990, tobacco, roasted coffee, similarly lasting.
Both armagnacs from this tasting are of a similarly good level. This time the younger year 1990 was more interesting for me. There was no information on the bottle about the bottling date. Considering the band, it may be around 25 years old. This comparison is a good example of the fact that older is not always better.