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Armagnac Preview #5 — Domaine d'Ognoas

The seigneury of Ognoas dates back to the 11th century. For more than seven hundred years it was occupied by various lords and viscountesses until 1847, when the last remaining heir donated the property to the church. In 1905, the Domaine was passed over to the regional government and today the 565 hectare estate is run by the Conseul General des Landes and is operated as an agricultural school.

The distillery at Ognoas is considered the oldest in Gascony and has been in operation since 1780. The estate has baco, ugni blanc, and folle blanche planted on site and—perhaps the coolest part of the operation—Ognoas uses its own trees (from the 300 hectares of forest on the property) to make their own oak casks for maturation. A local cooper does all the work at the Domaine and selects the trees himself.

In the past we've bottled single vintage expressions from Ognoas that have always offered soft-fruited texture and a round, creamy profile—unlike some of the woodier, spicier selections we see from other producers. This year we opted for an XO marriage of vintages that brought heaps of rich flavor at a very affordable price point. We think we can possibly get the XO on the shelf for around $50, which will—at that price—be the best deal we carry in brown booze, period.

-David Driscoll