Aged for a minimum of ten years, this armagnac is distilled by a family that has been producing armagnac for six centuries.
Situated in southwest France, the Armagnac region was one of the first regions in France to begin distilling spirits. At the time, armagnacs were thought to have therapeutic effects, and doctors distilled and prescribed the elixir in order to cure several digestive and kidney ailments. In the 14th century, Cardinal Vital Du Four claimed that armagnacs had 40 virtues:
"It makes disappear redness and burning of the eyes, and stops them from tearing; it cures hepatitis, sober consumption adhering. It cures gout, cankers, and fistula by ingestion; restores the paralysed member by massage; and heals wounds of the skin by application. It enlivens the spirit, partaken in moderation, recalls the past to memory, renders men joyous, preserves youth and retards senility. And when retained in the mouth, it loosens the tongue and emboldens the wit, if someone timid from time to time himself permits."
Just one century after Cardinal Du Four extolled its virtues, the Montesquiou family began distilling armagnacs in the region. Maison Montesquiou, one of the oldest and most prestigious houses in France, traces its origins back to the 11th century, and includes such nobleman as the Count of Fezensac and Count d'Artagnan, who was immortalized in Alexandre Dumas's The Three Musketeers.
Today, armed with a noble lineage and six centuries of family experience, Jean-Louis and Claire de Montesquiou continue to distill armagnac at Domaine d'Espérance. Their 30-hectare estate, situated in the Bas-Armagnac region, enjoys sandy clay soils and direct sunlight. As a result of its unique climate, the estate is able to harvest rich, acidic Baco Blanc grapes that result in a full-bodied and luxurious armagnac. After the grapes have been harvested, they are pressed and fermented into a wine. Following fermentation, the wine is immediately distilled in single pass through a traditional alembic still, allowing the armagnac to retain the rich, natural textures and flavors of the grapes.
Once the armagnac has been distilled, it is matured for a minimum of ten years in new Gascon oak casks, before being finished in used armagnac casks. The Gason oak provides Domaine d'Espérance XO 10 Year Old Bas Armagnac with a deep, copper color, along with an aroma of apples, cinnamon and orange blossom honey. Notes of caramel, vanilla and nutmeg dominate the palate, and give way to hints of jasmine, poached pears and butterscotch. Once the armagnac has matured for a minimum of a decade (although the average age is much older), it is bottled without the use of any additives or coloring agents.
Domaine d'Espérance XO 10 Year Old Bas Armagnac represents the culmination of six centuries of distilling experience. Pick up a bottle today!
80 Proof (40% ABV)
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Deep, copper color. Aroma of apples, cinnamon and orange blossom honey. Notes of caramel, vanilla and nutmeg dominate the palate, and give way to hints of jasmine, poached pears and butterscotch. Finishes with a touch of sweet spices.