Monday, January 7, 2013
Chateau de Pellehaut Armagnac
Chateau de Pellehaut is in the Tenareze region of Armagnac which is between the regions of Bas-Armagnac and Haut-Armagnac. Tenareze brandies are considered more rustic and less approachable than those from the more popular Bas-Armagnac region.
Today I'll be tasting one of their standard offerings, the Reserve, and two special bottlings from K&L, a 1987 and a 1973. The 1973 demonstrates some of the value of brandy as compared to whiskey that I've mentioned in the past...try finding a 39 year old whiskey for $130.
Pellehaut's more recent vintages are made from the folle blange grape, and the Reserve is made from both ugni blanc and folle blange, but the 1973 is 90% ugni blanc.
Chateau de Pellehaut Reserve, 42% abv, ($50)
The nose has nicely balanced elements of fruit, wood and spice. The palate starts sweet and then develops a nice tang which goes on to dominate the finish. It's very drinkable.
Chateau de Pellehaut 1987, K&L Selection, 49% abv ($80)
The nose is dry and spicy with just a touch of fruit. The fruit comes in strong on the palate, followed by wood and spice which last into the finish. This is a powerfully flavorful and well balanced brandy.
Chateau de Pellehaut 1973, K&L Selection, 43% abv ($130)
The nose mildly spicy; there's also some honey and mild fruit. The palate has a nice spicy fruit flavor, almost like a mulled cider with cloves lasting into the finish which also had a sandalwood note. There's a similarity to some of the better Canadian whiskies with their balance of rye and fruit.
In comparing these, you can definitely tell they are from the same family; the interplay between fruit and spice is a common motif. The Reserve is an easy drinker, the 1973 is nicely balanced, but I'd say the winner here in the 1987 with its strong notes of both fruit and spice in perfect balance.
By the way, if you haven't been reading the comments on the posts introducing last week's brandy series, you should check them out. There is tons of helpful information from knowledgeable commenters, including some who are in the industry. Clearly, there is a thirst for knowledge and discussion of brandy.