For nearly two centuries now, the Laudet family produces the Château Laballe’s Armagnacs on the estate. From the vineyard management to the years of aging, everything is done to extract and preserve the most of the SablesFauves soils’ singular characteristics. The vines are cherished and soils worked to highlight the iron oxide (main characteristic of Sables Fauves) that brings a subtlety and fullness specific to the Château Laballe‘s Armagnacs.
Armagnac is distilled by simple stoking, in an ongoing still; the alcohol vapours go up from tray to tray and cross the cold wine in the opposite direction. Specific to the preparation of Armagnac, this technique allows a greater retention of aroma compared to a distillation by double stoking.
The château uses the same still since 1923. It is a copper still that requires attention from the distillers because it is wood heated and supplied manually. As a result, temperature varies significantly during the distillation (as opposed to gas stills that have a constant temperature). These changes provide an extra character to the Armagnacs.
In order to promote, once again, the qualities of the soil, Armagnac then rests in barrels made of pedunculate oak from the Bartholomo cooperage in the Landes (one of the last cooper craftsmen of the region).Armagnacs are aerated two to three times a year, in order to homogenize the barrels of the same vintage. The cellars of Armagnac dating from the 18th century host the barrels and provide the serenity needed for the aging.Armagnac ages in barrel only. Once it is bottled, the evolution of Armagnac stops. It can be stored in bottles for years without any alteration or evolution of the flavours. This is why we bottle Armagnac only when ordered. We thus ensure the longest aging to your Armagnacs.
This expertise, which has been developed for 8 generations and respected to the letter, explains the elegance, richness, complexity, and therefore the high quality of Château Laballe’s Armagnac.
A new release, this vibrant, next-gen Armagnac takes its name from A: the phylloxera-resistant Baco hybrid developed at the turn of the twentieth century–the etching adorning the label illustrates the formidable parasite that devastated French vineyards around this time. And B: the fact that it makes a stand against those forces that would diminish Baco plantings in the region.
Until the late 1970s, Baco remained the prime ingredient in Armagnac and while Ugni Blanc holds that position today, this variety–now exclusive to Armagnac country–has played an important role in the region’s identity; a role that Cyril Laballe wanted to commemorate with Résistance. He also wants to show people why this variety is important, by showcasing it on its own. So, made from 100% Baco grapes, in consultation with the trade, this unique bottling took three years to get just right and consists of a blend of three Armagnacs distilled in 2009, 2010 and 2012.
Laballe’s idea was to create an authentic young spirit that would shine on the back bar for use in cocktails as well as having enough depth and polish to be consumed neat. To this end, the three eaux de vie spent their first year after distillation in new 410-litre Chêne Noir Gascon barrels from Bartholomo (the last barrel maker in the Landes region) to develop texture and sweetness, and then the rest of aging in older barrels, bringing more earthy and savoury notes. On the nose, you are immediately struck by the distinctiveness of this grape, with aromas of apple, smoke and citrus giving way to a round, salty expression in the mouth that finishes with a hint of licorice. It’s a delightfully elegant spirit with impressive balance of flavour, complexity and elegance as well as good length and the hearty weight you’d expect from a quality Bas Armagnac. Unique, and well worth the Résistance.