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Château de Pellehaut is located in the center of Armagnac, where the terrain sees a slight rise in altitude as well as a shift from the sand of the Bas-Armagnac to clay and limestone of the Ténarèze. With additional nutrients and better water retention, the Ténarèze has soil much better adapted to the production of quality table wine. This is the area from which Côtes de Gascogne wines hail. The Pellehaut estate covers 550 hectares, many of which are planted with grains or sunflowers, or used as grazing grounds for their herd of Blonde d’Aquitaine cows--whose compost helps to limit synthetic fertilizers. Vines now cover 250 hectares on several different types of soil, including mixtures of clay and limestone along with sand interspersed with small limestone pieces. For their armagnacs, they only use grapes grown on the parcels covered with primarily sand, helping to give their spirits unusual finesse for the Ténarèze region, which is often written off as a second fiddle to the Bas-Armagnac. Since the late 90's, their vineyards have also shifted from primarily Ugni Blanc to Folle Blanche, the oft-favored grape of the Armagnac drinker, lending their brandies a greater depth of flavor.
This 2000 vintage is 100% Folle Blanche, and is aged for a full 20 years, first in new Gascon oak, then in used barrels. Amazing balance between the big bright fruit elements and the spicy oak. The nose shows orange peel, apple, tart berries, teakwood, and rich vanilla. The palate is where the fruit and oak really dance together, with cherries, apricots, and berries in between warming barrel spice and hints of herbal spice as well, almost like an old rye whiskey. Dynamite, well aged Folle Blanche. Bottled at 49.7% abv.