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2000 Chateau de Briat Bas Armagnac, France (750ml)   

This vintage Armagnac is made with 100% Colombard, distilled once, and aged in 420 liter oak barrels. Quite the dram!!

The Château de Briat has a long and impressive history. Built in 1540, it first served as the hunting manor for Queen Jeanne d'Albret. The Queen's son, Henri de Navarre—later Henri IV, King of France—often stayed in the castle. In 1587, he gave it to one of his fellow officers as a reward for saving his life in battle. After changing ownership several times, the domaine was taken over by Baron Raoul de Pichon-Longueville in 1864. The Pichon-Longueville family already owned the famous vineyard of the same name in Pauillac. The family used the estate as a country retreat while continuing the château's tradition of distilling a percentage of the harvest every year and stocking Armagnac. When the Château de Pichon-Longueville property in Bordeaux was sold, Château de Briat was retained by Baron Raoul de Pichon-Longueville's maternal ancestors, the de Luze family. Gilles de Luze was an editor at the Larousse editing house in Paris for most of his adult life. He returned to his family's estate in the small Bas-Armagnac town of Mauvezin (population 213) in the early 1990s when his father retired. In 2003 tragedy struck when de Luze and his wife died in an automobile crash. He was only 53 years old. The fatal accident took place in the early hours of morning just south of Paris as the de Luzes were returning home from an independent producers salon in Lyon. The de Luzes’ one son, Stéphane, in his early thirties and the 10th generation, suddenly found himself as head of the historic château. Stéphane soon enlisted the help of his cousin Jean de Mareuil. At the château, located between Lagrange and Labastide, the two continued the production techniques perfected by Gilles.Eight hectares of vines are divided between Folle Blanche (45%), Bacco (38%) and Colombard (17%) and planted on Sables Fauves (iron-rich sand). Unlike many other Armagnac producers, Briat is a firm believer in keeping yields low and is not opposed to cutting fruit to give a final harvest of 60 hl/ha. Colombard is a particular favorite, and the eau de vie is made strictly with this grape. In 2014, Stéphane and Jean separated their business partnership. Stephane now descends to the property a couple of times a month, overseeing distillation, vineyards and the chateau.