Ravignan 2002 Vintage 18 Year Folle Blanche Bas Armagnac
The majestic Chateau de Ravignan has been producing in the heart of the Bas-Armagnac since the 18th century. They produce just 12-15 barrels a year, distilling the eau de vie to about 52% abv before the initial ageing in new barrels made from local Gascon oak, generally for 2 years. After, the Armagnac is transferred to used barrels, in the case of this 2002 vintage, for a further 16 years. This particular vintage is also a very special one in that is is distilled from the historic, beloved, and notoriously difficult to work with Folle Blanche grape, which was once the primary grape used in Armagnac production until the phylloxera epidemic swept through Europe around the turn of the 20th century. These days Folle Blanche is a rarity, accounting for a mere 3% of vineyards in Gascony, but is making a comeback in the 21st century, and is still arguably the most lauded variety for the quality of brandies it makes. Folle Blanche armagnacs often showcase high floral notes, sharp baking spice, and a brighter, more assertive juicy fruit quality.
On the nose, you are hit with huge enveloping aromas of ripe peaches, dried apricot, cinnamon, and a spring meadow of flowers, followed by soft vanilla and hazelnut. On the palate, the texture is viscous and oily, with more juicy stone fruit, clove, salted toffee, and a tingling white pepper that leads to the oak and nut finish. Bottled at a cask strength of 44.3% abv.