By: David Othenin-Girard
K&L Staff Member
The wonderful brandy at Fitte & Laterrade represents some of the most interesting stocks available anywhere in Armagnac, but these two single casks that Vincent acquired from a small farm outside of Perquie were easily the most exciting and unique. This extremely well-regarded village in the heart of Bas-Armagnac is home to the famous Chateau de Ravignan, one of La Landes most well regarded producers. But just south of Ravignan, a small domaine holds tiny amounts of Armagnac for home consumption. The farmer specializes mostly in foie and beef production and doesn't produce his own Armagnac, but has small stocks stored on his domaine paid to him in exchange for his services harvesting the grapes. Vincent told me that he'd stumbled upon the Domaine after a long day of tasting and bought these two barrels on the spot. When they were delivered to the chai a few weeks later he re-tasted and thought he must have been crazy. He wasn't sure he'd ever be able to sell them. This is just not what people trying to commercialize brandy in France are expecting. These single barrels were filled into new Gascogne oak without any manipulation whatsoever. The brandy was distilled and harvested at the famous Domaine de Charron and the Domaine Le Chaou was simply the site of aging rather than the site of production. It's a style that the locals love and you see people drinking out of shiners, but almost never makes it onto the market for fear that it will overpower those who might stumble upon it. The bottles open super tight and will taste world's better after a few weeks open, so I recommend pouring your first glass at least 1 hour before you plan to consume it. The color is pure mahogany. The nose is a huge bundle of roasted nuts, dried fruits, oloroso sherry, prune puree, mocha, fig jam, clove, cinnamon. Ultra-thick and a bit hot on entry, it feels like it's going to go astringent, but backs off the edge with a dense sweet fruit, dark chocolate, burnt sugar and exotic wood. This is a big bold brandy that almost reminds me more of Kavalan or something in that intensity level than anything I've ever had from France.