Chateau Garreau – armagnac tasting
I continue my journey through Gascony. Let’s leave the duel between cognacs and armaniacs for a moment. This time my taste buds are wandering to the heart of Armagnac land, namely Chateau Garreau.
Behind every product, behind every created composition enclosed in a glass bottle, lies the history of the place and people. In the 19th century, Garreau estate belonged to a Russian prince. Later it passed into the hands of a British Lord. Finally, in 1919, Charles Garreau took ownership of the chateau, where to this day the Garreau family manufactures armagnacs. A museum dedicated to the production of armagnacs has also been created on the property, which is an interesting place to explore the traditions and secrets of production of this noble spirit.
About the distillery
The estate of the Chateau Garreau is 68 hectares of vines (mainly baco, but also folle blanche, ugni blanc and colombard) grown on fertile sand soils called “tawny sands”. Interestingly, the producer also grows typical vines such as gros mansend, sauvignon blanc, merlot or cabernet franc and produces wines. The entire property, crops and the surrounding fauna and flora have been awarded the environmental certificate “Haute Valeur Environnementale”. Chateau Garreau has its own distillers (which does not happen so often), one of which comes from 1919 and the other from 1932. Undoubtedly, this is a “living” testimony of the traditional method of production. It is worth noting that the fuel used during the distillation is gas, which guarantees maintaining constant process parameters.
Time for the nicest moment for the author which is tasting. This time I will try, straight from the Chateau Garreau: 100 Prohibition, XO, year 1996 and 1985.
100 Prohibition – prepared on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the production of armagnacs by Chateau Garreau and the 100th anniversary of the introduction of prohibition in the United States. This is a blend of 6-10-year-old distillates to create which the producer somewhat experimented with the degree of barrel toasting.
Nose: alcohol very well hidden, medium volatile, in the foreground raisins, prunes, dried figs, a bit of spice, jasmine.
Mouth: oily, well-balanced, the barrel is present, oak, vanilla, toffee, dried plums, dried figs, there is a little butter, dessert.
Finish: really long, burnt coffee, wood, red pepper, wood again.
XO – ten-year blend being the Chateau visit card. Let’s see !
Nose: like the previous one it is also medium volatile, you can smell tobacco, raisins, licorice and toffee.
Mouth: full, round taste, raisins, prunes, dried apricots, dried figs, bitter cocoa, a little ginger, maybe more like ginger cookies, a little flowery.
Finish: long, a bit of tannins, oak, pleasantly warming pepperiness, after a sip of water the finish is still going on.
Vintage 1996 – armagnac distilled in 1996 and bottled in 2019 – I have a very nice memoir related to this year – Olympic Games in Atlanta and supporting Polish athletes. Let’s check how this player will perform in the arena.
Nose: raisins, milk chocolate, caramel, licorice, some coffee, it’s sweet.
Mouth: full, dessert flavor, intense dried figs, raisins, dark dried apricots, a bit of toffee, coffee, leather, vanilla.
Finish: long, peppery, more noticeable leather, non-intense tannins, slightly acidic, after a while you can feel the wood on the palate.
8/10 – I like it !
Vintage 1985 – armagnac distilled in 1985 and bottled in 2019, apparently it was a golden year for Armaniacs. Favorable weather conditions resulted in great quality of grapes. I can’t have any memories related to this year because I was born a year later. It is worth recalling that this year was one of the most famous rock concerts in history – Queen at Wembley and I will drink for it with pleasure.
Nose: very volatile, cocoa, toffee, almonds, figs.
Lips: very intense experience, aromatic bomb, there are nuts (hazelnuts, walnuts), there is tobacco, chocolate, leather, it is sweet, dried apricots, oak/cedar wood.
Finish: very long lasting, dark chocolate, roasted coffee, tobacco, balanced tannins.
8,5 / 10 – I like it even more! Great position.
It’s really hard to sum up this tasting session. It was simply delicious, I met with everything I like in armagnacs. Chateau Garreau goes to my list of favorites.