Chateau Garreau XO...

Chateau Garreau XO (40.0%): For the next few days I will be focusing on a few different expressions from Chateau Garreau portfolio representing their core line-up, vintages and also special releases. Chateau Garreau, formerly known as Domaine de Gayrosse, is a family owned and operated Armagnac producer whose history goes back to 1919. Now ran by 4th generation the estate has 68 acres of vineyards growing a broad range of grape varieties such as Baco, Ugni Blanc and Colombard as well as many others. Chateau Garreau is actually a known and respected producer in Europe and Asia but they never entered the US market before. This doesn't mean that they are not gearing up for it though. All I can say is: "Watch this space..!" Chateau Garreau XO is a blend of Baco, Ugni Blanc and Folle Blanche grape varieties and aged for 10 years or more.

Color: Dark amber, chestnut honey color with thin but oily and slow moving legs around the glass.

Nose: Golden raisins, prunes and some sulphur... Will walk away and let it air for a while. After a good five minutes I am back and it's much better now... Sulphur mostly gone. Beef stew, cooked currants and celery stalks. Orange zest, wet gardening soil and furniture varnish. Lightly toasted oak and apple compote.

Palate: A little thin on the palate hence the 40% abv. and it's very soothing. Surprisingly first notes are not fruit forward: Reminiscences of a vintage clothing shop, old wool sweaters and flannel shirts. It feels considerably older on the palate than it actually is. Dried mushrooms, light baking spices and touch of sulphur. After some airing secondary notes follow: Forest floor on a rainy day, cooked raisins and baked apples. Damp basement, grape seeds and dried figs.

Finish: Long in spite of its low abv. with white pepper, water from a stainless steel flask and black earth.

Overall: It is such an earthy, meaty, mushroomy and dry Bas-Armagnac. I am pleasantly surprised... I was expecting a more fruit forward and kinda off-dry spirit from its age. It's definitely an Armagnac for those who likes their aged spirits on the savory and earthy side instead of fruity and sweet and I totally fit into that category. I also checked the price from their website and I have to say that it's more than fairly priced. Now I am kinda familiar with their house style I cannot wait to taste the other samples I received from the estate... Thanks to Gregoire Fabre and Chateau Garreau for providing the samples but needless to say the notes and opinions above are all my own.

Price: €72