How to serve Armagnac brandy

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Armagnac
"Glass of Armagnac upclose with alcohol legs" by Bart Everson - Flickr: Armagnac. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Just because you’re not in the habit of drinking armagnac brandy or serving it to your friends doesn’t mean it’s not interesting to read articles about how to serve it.

1972_Chateau_de_Laubade_Bas_Armagnac_Vintage
1972 Chateau de Laubade Bas Armagnac Vintage” by Adam Baker – http://www.flickr.com/photos/atbaker/2910450459/. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Here is an article loaned to us by a talented writer and budding designer who goes by the name Jeannie. Jeannie is from New York but lives in Paris, France.

Note Insert: You probably don’t want to be drinking too much alcohol if any at all. Apparently alcohol is not good for the skin. And especially if you’re a lady over a certain age (let’s say 35) – drinking alcohol on a frequent basis can help to speed up the skin’s aging process. So be mindful of your alcohol consumption.

Here’s what Jeannie writes on the subject of serving Armagnac Brandy

How to Serve Armagnac

Armagnac dupeyron basquaise traditionelle
Armagnac dupeyron basquaise traditionelle” by nous meme ryst-dupeyron – nous meme ryst-dupeyron. Licensed under GFDL via Wikimedia Commons.

First, choose the right glass. Riedel Sommelier Series offers a wonderful balloon glass that would be quite right. You may also select a Tulip shaped glass, but a balloon or ball shaped glass is best.

Second, pour the eau de vie into the glass carefully, filling the glass one quarter of its capacity, no more.

Third, hold the glass in your hand in such a way that your palm surrounds the balloon and not the stem, or better still, cup the glass in your hand. The idea is to allow your hand to warm the glass, so as to unlock the natural aromas of the Armagnac but without artificial heat such as with a candle, which will result in too much alchohol being released from the Armagnac, and an inferior taste on the tongue.

wine.comFourth, shake the eau de vie quite gently in a circular motion. Let the Armagnac wet the walls of the glass.

Fifth, look at the Armagnac, appreciate its shine, color and consistency. A good Armagnac has a lot of rich, deep color which is brought about by aging for upwards of 20 years in a cask, resulting in shimmer, iridescence and bold colors: amber, mahogany, honey-brown.

Sixth, smell the Armagnac by putting the glass close to your nostrils, but it should not touch your nostrils, it should only go exquisitely close to it so that you can imbibe the aromas gently without being overcome with feelings. Appreciate the variety of aromas, fruits, grapes, plums, honey, flowers, apricots, lime, spices, vanilla, hazelnut, walnut. Each Armagnac is unique, depending on the grapes. The Folle Blanche and the Bacco yields the best quality eau de vie.

Seventh, sip the Armagnac. Let the eau de vie seduce you, overcome you. It is almost like an unexpected attack, you feel yourself being pulled away. But wait! You are not powerless. Let yourself experience the power and you will be empowered by the wealth of aromas that fill you. Your nose and tongue are in marriage. Sip slowly, with appreciation.

**Serve the Armagnac with either Chocolate, Cocoa, or Coffee. Or a cigar. This is a spa of indescribable pleasure, a union that cannot be unraveled.

Eighth, now the glass is empty. You are satiated. But it is still not finished. You cannot be an animal. Warm the glass between your hands, once more. Smell the bottom of the glass, but delicately, not in a piggish way. All of the aromas, strong, present, eternal.

About Armagnac

Vignoble d'Armagnac, entre Landes et Gers, France
Vignoble d’Armagnac, entre Landes et Gers, France

Armagnac is a brandy made in the French countryside known as Armagnac which is near Bordeaux. Armagnac is similar to but quite different from Cognac, which is also a grape brandy from a region near Armagnac. Both Armagnac and Cognac are made for wines however they possess an acutely different texture, consistency, taste and aroma. The Armagnac connoisseur is arguably on a higher level than the connoisseur of Cognac.

Armangnac is made from distilled wines or distilled grape brandy. It follows a single distillation process in contrast to Cognac which follows a double distillation process. The grapes most often used for Armagnac are Ugni Blanc, Colombard, Folle Blanche and Bacco. They are first harvested, pressed, fermented, then aged to perfection before being served. Then they are distilled using an “alambic still “– (copper boiler) — a job which is usually achieved by a “roving distillateur, ” since most small producers do not have their own stills even today.

For the best Armagnac, it is necessary to travel to Gascony, the region of France, near Spain, where the grapes are cultivated. It is here, near the Garonne River and with views of the Pyrenees Mountain Range that the first grapes (Ugni Blanc, Colombard, Folle Blanche and Bacco) were harvested, pressed, fermented, distilled and aged into the “eau de vie” we know as Armagnac, well before the French Revolution.

Gascony is famed for its “douceur de vivre” (“sweetness of life”) and its gastronomic pleasures which include foie gras, seductive fruits, geese, Magret of Duck and Confit. The sunny weather is especially auspicious for the vineyards and harvests.

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