Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Cardinat Armagnac

K&L recently brought in three Armagnacs from Cardinat in Bas Armagnac. They are made with Folle Blanche, Baco, Colombard and Ugni Blanc grapes.

Cardinat 1992, 23 yo, 47% (K&L $60)

This has a beautiful, spicy nose with some fruit in the background. The palate starts spicy and earthy and ends on a sweet note. The finish starts with that same sweet note, moves to spicy mint and ends on earthy notes and some bitterness. This one is nicely balanced and densely flavored.

Cardinat 1987, 28 yo, 49% (K&L $70)

Interestingly, this brandy is much lighter in color than the other two. K&L informed me that it was a larger yield so more of it went into used barrels. The nose is woody with a light grainy note, almost like a Canadian Whiskey. The palate is spicy with a light sweetness and a bit of rum-like funk. The finish is brief and spicy. This one is much more nuanced.

Cardinat 1981, 34 yo, 49% (K&L $90)

This has a huge, oaky nose, like a bourbon. On the palate it's quite sweet and oaky with leather and tobacco and a chewy mouthfeel. The finish is sweet with a light spice. This is a super-concentrated monster. It's bourbon like in its woodiness but also very sweet. Some will probably think it's over oaked. I like the oak level, but find it a bit too sweet.

These were three very different brandies. The 1992 was my favorite. It's well balanced with lots of flavor. The 1981 is the opposite; it's got huge, bold oak with a lot of sweetness, definitely a bourbon lover's brandy. The 1987 was much more nuanced, lighter than the other two but a fine brandy with some character nonetheless.

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