1981 Domaine du Cardinat 34 Year Old "K&L Exclusive" Bas Armagnac (750ml) SKU #1287599


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Tasting Notes

Of all the old vintages at Cardinat, this one was the most interesting. The Domaine in the chalky soils of the western Gers is one of the unsung gems of the region. Farmed by the Lalanne Family for three generations, the property sits on a choice ridge sloping slight down to the south toward the river Adour which meanders toward northeastern border of the Pyrénées-Atlantiques department. The five-hectare estate is planted to 40% Baco 22a and 40% Folle Blanche, with a tiny portion of the southernmost vineyards devoted to equal parts Ugni Blanc and Colombard. Most vintages are a blend of all four varietals, but certain ones are heavier on the Folle Blanche. 1981 was a tough year in Bordeaux, but a banner year at Cardinat and the resulting brandies are heavy on tertiary components, with all the soft elegance that Folle Blanche provides. The magnificent balance between savory earthy flavors, soft richness, and stupendous texture is exactly why we love Armagnac. For 35 year old brandy, this little guy is a real steal, but the limited quantities meant they'd only part with a bit.

Staff Reviews

  • Olivia Ragni
    By: Olivia Ragni
    K&L Staff Member
    The 1981 Cardinat is so complex and delicious. Aromas of cocoa, caramel and that smell of old leather-bound books beam from the glass while flavors of oloroso Sherry, bitter chocolate, mahogany and roasted chestnuts round out the palate. I feel like I should be drinking this in a fancy library room surrounded by leather chairs, leather bound books and mahogany tables, it just evokes that kind of vibe.
  • David Othenin-Girard
    By: David Othenin-Girard
    K&L Staff Member
    The 1981 vintage is the oldest stocks that the Singh family was willing to part with when we visited. This eau-de-vie is likely some of the darkest richest spirit we've ever come across in all of Gascogne. It's intense color is the result of what some of the more modern producers would term,"a lack of work," meaning that they eau-de-vie haven't been aerated and topped up consistently enough. What those producers don't realize is that the esters they're trying to soften through aeration represent the exact flavors, we WANT in our old armagnac. Sure if the brandy is 5 or 10 years old it will taste harsh and over the top rugged, but give it 20 or 30 years and we're starting to develop the kind of complex flavors that are so hard to find in the spirits world. This wonderful brandy starts with a big fresh tobacco note, plum jam, and dried spices. As it aerates you'll find the tobacco moving further toward the fresh tanned hide and deep exotic wood tones. ON the palate its soft and warming with rancio fruit and sweet spice oak taking over. I'm always amazed when we find a new producer that's never made a blip on my radar before and even more amazed when the prices are this good.


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