New Baraillon Vintages Arrive

While I wasn't able to get to Armagnac last year, David OG found some time to go and visit our friends at Baraillon, dig through their incredible selection of old stocks, and bring back a few new offerings for the store. These are traditionally our most-beloved releases with Bourbon drinkers each year as the style is rich, dark, and heavy on the palate. His notes are below:

The magical and rustic Domaine de Baraillon returns with two new vintages that remind us once again why this tiny farm in the town of Lannemaignan should be considered one of the world's finest producers of Armagnac. Monsieur Claverie cultivates his tiny vineyards by hand and distilling on his own still just as his father did before him. The Domaine is run by Monsieur Claverie and his daughter both of whom spend time in the vineyards, but equally so tending to the ducks, pigs and other produce. The Claverie family has been situated on this site since 1748, considered the top quality sub-region Bas-Armagnac production right on the border between the departments of Gers and Les Landes. Locals refer to this special enclave of the highest quality soils as, "Le Grand Bas-Armagnac." The current proprietor, M. Paul Claverie, has expanded the Domaine's brandy producing vines to nearly 16 hectors, split between the three main brandy varietals (Folle Blanche, Ugni Blanc, and Bacco) as well as Colombard, Merlot, Cab Franc and Gros Manseng for the vin de table. In 2001, after achieving her degree in Viticulture and Oenology, Monsieur Claverie's daughter Laurence returned to the domaine to continue the tradition for another generation. The Claverie's are cultivating and distilling some of the finest brandy in the world and have vintages going back more than a century, yet they remain incredible affordable. The house style is rugged and rustic, yet balanced and complex.

1987 Domaine de Baraillon 29 Year Old K&L Exclusive Armagnac $79.99 - The exceptional '87 vintage has become prolific in the Gers and elsewhere in high quality growing regions in Armagnac. Just now reaching maturity this wonderful brandy has everything you want from middle aged Armagnac. The nose is this wonderful balance between rich exotic savoriness and dried sweet fruit. Cigar box, cedar, sandalwood covered in stewed fruits, candied plums and dark black tea. On the palate we get subtle nuttiness and wonderful oxidized fruit (slight oloroso note), which build into a big spicy finish. Exhibiting great texture despite the relatively low proof and a building dryness as it travels the palate. It's so drinkable and appealing its down right dangerous. Stay at home with this one.

1976 Domaine de Baraillon 40 Year Old K&L Exclusive Armagnac $129.99 - Even after years of doing this, I'm still flabbergasted that we're able to bring you such high quality old brandy for this outrageous a price. After 40 years in the barrel, this brandy is reaching levels we'd describe in french as surmaturité (overripe in the context of grapes) but in this case we're talking about those ultra rancio flavors that only the oldest of aged product exhibit. Here we're in the realm of a great old Oloroso, with a splash of old Madeira added in for good measure. Dark nutty, roasted coffee beans, the thickest fruit compote and the most subtle hints of wild honey and dried herbs. The palate remains lifted although it's very dry and not as nutty as the nose might imply. Still on the dark woodsy flavors, a little bit of air tames the intensity on the palate nicely. That wonderful subtle Baraillon funk and oak spice take over and build into a big warm spicy finish. This is not one for those with a sweet tooth, but represents serious old school full mature brandy.

-David Driscoll

David Driscoll