Castarede 1990 Vintage Bas Armagnac 70cl
Armagnac brandy is crafted from white wines produced from white grapes with high acidity and a low alcohol content. These white wines are prepared in the most traditional fashion, without addition of sulphur or sugar. The distillation takes place over the winter, as soon as the fermentation has ceased, but must be completed before March 31 of the year following the grape picking. A special Armagnac still is used, the principal characteristic of which is that it is designed to function continuously. The resulting brandy corresponds to 52 – 60° (unlike Cognac, produced by double distillation or double heating – known as repasse, to produce brandy at 70° or more). As it leaves the still, the brandy is colourless and very aromatic. It needs contact with wood and numerous years of ageing to develop its full richness. Ageing is one of the most important steps in the production of fine Armagnac. Two factors would appear to be primordial, the cask and the cellar. Firstly, the quality of the casks is dependent upon several factors, the skill of the cooper, the preparation of the wood and its origin. A Gascogne legend declares that the casks should be made from oaks that have watched the vines grow. Next, the quality (and more particularly the hydrometry) of the cellar is primordial. The drier the cellar, the more the Armagnac will itself be dried. The wetter the cellar, the more supple and round the brandy. As soon as the Armagnac has been distilled, it is placed in 400 litre oak casks. It is this contact between the brandy and the oak which forms the veritable basis of the Armagnac.
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