It's always nice to catch up with old friends and have a little reunion to see how everyone's life has evolved over time. There are a number of folks from Modesto I haven't seen in years that I'd love to catch up with, but in the meantime I'm visiting with some old vintages from Pellehaut that I haven't tasted in ages! They've all been stewing about the barrel, gaining complexity, and some are a little fatter than I remember (aren't we all?), but they're all doing quite well. You recognize them, don't you? Familiar faces, a little bit older, but all happy to see you! Let me give you an update as to their individual conditions:
2001 Chateau de Pellehaut 16 Year Old K&L Exclusive Tenareze Armagnac $62.99 - Now 16 years of age and at 49.8%, this little number is just as I remember it: full of sweet oak spices, but now with more fruit and even a floral element that comes through from the folle blanche. Those looking for Armagnac that tastes like brandy will love this. It has the richness of a great whiskey, but it's totally vinous on the finish with raisins and grapey elements that linger long. Fantastic.
2000 Chateau de Pellehaut 17 Year Old K&L Exclusive Tenareze Armagnac $69.99 - Now at 17 years of age and at 49.7%, the 2000 vintage—like the 2001—is also distilled from folle blanche, but it couldn't be more different in its flavor profile despite being just a year apart. This one is for Bourbon drinkers as it's loaded with oak, peppery spice, woody richness, and lots of vanilla on the finish. This is very much like an American whiskey, and quite a delicious one at that!
1996 Chateau de Pellehaut 21 Year Old K&L Exclusive Tenareze Armagnac $79.99 - Now at 21 years of age and at 50%, this is one of the most legendary vintages of Pellehaut we've ever carried and I was under the impression it was all done. Apparently not! My buddy Charles was able to go back and snag a few more cases for me, which is exciting to say the least. This 1996 is the ULTIMATE Bourbon crossover. In fact, if you poured this for me blind there's no way in hell I would ever guess brandy. Anyone who tells you differently is lying. This is pretty much a 100 proof bottle of 21 year old Bourbon that happens to come in a French Armagnac bottle. It's monstrously powerful, bold and assertive, loaded with spice and absolutely saturated in oak. I wouldn't necessarily recommend this to traditional Armagnac fans. I would however jump up and down trying to convince Bourbon fans to at least try a bottle. The folle blanche flavors have definitely become more nuanced with age.
1986 Chateau de Pellehaut 31 Year Old K&L Exclusive Tenareze Armagnac $89.99 - Now at 31 years of age and at 48%, the 1986 is the big winner of the Pellehaut reunion. It's better integrated, sexier, more seductive, and all around better than it was years ago when we last had it in stock. Simply put, this is the perfect expression of Armagnac. It has loads of richness, oak spice, and sweetness, but it also has traditional brandy character. It's raisined and round with gobs of fruit on the finish that start quite creamy, but then flutter out into more spiciness. This is the whole package. Distilled from ugni blanc.
1973 Chateau de Pellehaut 44 Year Old K&L Exclusive Tenareze Armagnac $159.99 - Now at 44 years of age and at 43.8%, the 1973 is just as soft and enticing as it's always been. If you're someone who likes your aged booze smooth, silky, supple, and effortless, this is the brandy for you. Creamy and round with plenty of wood, the spice has become almost herbaceous at this point and it plays nicely of the vanilla. This tastes much more expensive than it is.