Distillation of eau de vie at Chateau Ravignan dates back officially to at least 1791 during the French Revolution, but by historical account back to 1731. That’s when the ancestor of Josselin de Ravignan purchased the estate and declared on an official record that some of wine made from the property’s grapes would be used for distillation. At that time, however, it wasn’t known as Armagnac. Distilled spirits were used for a number of medicinal purposes, poured into wine for fortification, and given to sailors to help disinfect their water supplies during long journeys. Today Josselin is bringing Ravignan into a more modern era. When he’s not faithfully carrying on the family tradition with his father Louis and aunt Cristine d’Orglandes, he’s shaping surfboards and hitting the waves at the nearby Atlantic Coast. The 2002 Folle Blanche translates the spicier and more nuanced flavors of the testy grape beautifully into the bottle. Lots of brown sugar, baking spices, and sweet oak, a la a great Kentucky Bourbon. There's a cinnamon red hot finish that lasts for a full minute. Usually we pay a premium for the FB, but here the price is quite reasonable. Josselin's family has been distilling at the same property since the mid-1700s, so it's clear they know what they're doing! This is an under-the-radar value for those looking to try something different.
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