Chateau Garreau Millesime 1996...

Chateau Garreau Millesime 1996 (40.0%): Continuing where we left off... This will be the second sample from Chateau Garreau after their XO we tasted yesterday and one from millesime (vintages) range. It is distilled in 1996 and exclusively from Baco and Ugni Blanc grape varieties. I have been hinted by the company that this particular vintage might be an Armagnac for single malt whisky lovers... Let's figure out what they meant with it.

Color: Dark amber, almost brown. Actually quite beautiful looking buckwheat honey color with a complete initial ring of teardrops around the glass turning slowly into thin and oily legs.

Nose: This time wood comes first: Hardwood furniture, aged pomace brandy and entering into a cellar full of aging casks... A little mute and shy on the nose but a couple drops of water helps. It's sweeter and also tad herbal now: Baked puffy pastries, dried parsley and dill. Burnt raisins, rock candies and vanilla.

Palate: The palate matches what the nose suggested but is not shy at all... Vanilla, wool scarves and rancio. Cooked mushrooms, black pepper and cooked currants. Old wood, burnt sugar and creme caramel. No traces of sulphur at all. It's not as dry as XO but also not very sweet. After letting it air a while I return for a last sip: Ok, this is going to be an extremely specific reference but Cel-Ray..! Yes, Dr. Brown's celery soda... Egg custard, caramel filling and roasted pine nuts. Although adding a few drops of water was a pretty good idea on the nose it kinda thinned out the texture on the palate. If I had a full bottle I probably wouldn't add any water next time I pour for myself.

Finish: Long with paprika, brown sugar, cinnamon and Angostura bitters.

Overall: It's good, really good... I can totally see why they told me that it is a malt lover's Armagnac. It's on the drier side with a good amount of but not overwhelming wood influence. These two samples in a row were great introductions to Chateau Garreau. I liked their house style and I feel a little more educated about the estate now. Looking forward to spend time with the other three expressions in coming days... Thanks again to Gregoire Fabre and Chateau Garreau for providing the samples without any strings attached. All notes and opinions above are my own.

Price: €97