Boingnères Folle Blanche 2001 15 Year Bas Armagnac
Folle Blanche grapes were once the most prominently represented amongst Armagnac producers, and have always been the most treasured for the depth of the brandies they produce. Unfortunately, the grape is also especially susceptible to phylloxera, a pest that can utterly destroy entire vineyards, and was largely replaced with the hybrid Baco grape in the 20th century. Rather than following this trend, the Boingnères Estate has planted less and less Baco over time and concentrated on the "noble" varieties: Ugni Blanc, Colombard and especially Folle Blanche, all in a time when the total planting of Folle Blanche in the region has shrunk to less than 3%.
The results have been spectacular, and though Boingnères has been making Armagnac for over 200 years, in the last half of the 20th century their reputation has grown tremendously, and they are now seen as one of the premiere estates of the Bas Armagnac. Under the watchful eye of Martine Lafitte, who took over from her parents in 2004, the estate has consistently released exceptional, critically lauded vintages as well as blends, most showing a depth and complexity hard to find in the world of spirits.
The 2001 Folle Blanche was distilled to 52% abv in the estate's own alambic still and then aged for 15 years in a combination of new and used French Oak from the Gascon forest just down the road, made to order for Boingneres. It was bottled in 2016 at a cask strength of 49% abv, as is the practice in Armagnac. The nose and palate are harmonious, with notes of orange zest, almond, crusty bread, juicy stone fruit, rich vanilla, pepper, a honeyed sweetness, and a tremendous finish that is counted in minutes. A single pour of this stuff can last all night.