"25 Ans" Bas-Armagnac
Armagnac is a county located within the
southwestern region of France known as Gascony.
This overall region goes from just north of
Bayonne in the south, up the Atlantic coast to the Médoc, follows
the Gironde river inland nearly to Toulouse where the boundary heads
due south to the foothills of the Pyrenées Mountains at the Spanish
This enormous land mass contains some of the
greatest wine growing areas in the world. Names like Margaux,
Saint-Estéphe, Pauillac and Sauternes spring to mind.
Geography is very important here. In France,
they have a different philosophy toward growing winegrapes than you
will find in California.
Where our vineyards might grow many different
varieties, the French tend to concentrate on whatever grapes grow
best in the soils and other natural factors that exist in the
This is what differentiates "varietal wines" from
"regional wines". A bottle of French wine
rarely ever mentions the type of grape on the label, but always
refers to where the wine was made.
It is up to the consumer to understand that a
"White Bordeaux" will be predominantly Sauvignon Blanc, or a "Red
Burgundy" is a Pinot Noir. And of course other grapes from that
region are very often blended into the wine. This is what gives
each its own identity.
So now we come to Armagnac.
We know it is the name of a county, but Armagnac
also lends its name to a grape brandy from the region. Its closest
relative is Cognac, another grape brandy made about 100 miles north
near (surprise) the town of Cognac!
Even though it is related to and often
confused with Cognac, Armagnac is very different with regards to its
grapes, terroir, distillation, élevage, blending, aromas, tastes and
textures. In truth, France's two finest brandies made from wine are
not very much alike at all.
Located in the heart of Gascony among so many
famous wine regions, Armagnac might feel as if it got shortchanged.
The soils here are sandy and contain a high level of iron, making
them far less suitable for growing Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot
It is broken up in to 3 separate areas as seen in
the map above. Bas-Armagnac, the lowest in elevation, has the
sandier soils and is the chief production area for Armagnac
brandies, while Haut-Armagnac, the highest, grows hardly any grapes
The middle ground called
Ténarèze is more limestone and clay with some sandy soils mixed in.
They offer their production more to the Côtes de Gascogne and Floc
de Gascogne wines than to the distillation of brandy.
Centuries of trial and error have shown that
the grapes that do best in this region are some of the lesser known
varietals of Baco Blanc (the principal grape of the region), Ugni
Blanc (sometimes call Rolle), Folle Blanche and the somewhat better
While you may find wines on the market made
from these varietals, the vines tend to produce high acid, neutral
flavored grapes with a fairly low sugar content, usually
resulting in low alcohol wines of around 10% ABV or so.
These attributes make them much less desirable
for the table. But the French found the solution by making
Brandies are made from distilling wine -
raising the temperature of the "mash" to the point where the alcohol
vaporizes but the rest of the solution remains liquid. The vapors
are then directed away from the main mixture and cooled, allowing it
to condense back into a liquid!
This is the same basic process used for making
all spirits, with the only difference being the ingredients used to
make up the "mash". The hard part comes in having
the right equipment and knowledge to bring it all together to make
something truly special!
In the late 19th century, a man named Prosper
Delord, who was one of the few with a great deal of knowledge of the
process, recognized an opportunity and started a company as an
He would travel the region with his old pot still
towed behind his 2 cows, visiting the farms of friends and neighbors
throughout the Bas-Armagnac region, and for a fee, he would distill
their wine into what they called "Eaux-de-Vie" (waters of
He used a particularly slow single
distillation process that was key to the flavor of the final
product. Then the farmers would store the brandy in their own
barrels until it had aged properly... a matter of years! The
resultant spirit took on the name of the region,
Over the years, Prosper's reputation grew and
grew until it became impossible for him to keep up with the demand.
In 1925, his son Gaston took over the family business, but he had a
Lacking his father's wanderlust, and owning some
20 hectares of prime (1st Cru) vineyards in the heart of the
Bas-Armagnac, he established the company as a permanent site where
he could distill and sell his own brandy.
This afforded him much better control
over the entire production, allowing him to make a far superior
The Delords don't use any pesticides or
fertilizers on their vines, and their sandy soiled vineyards still
produced very high quality fruit. This is also the rule for the
other growers whose fruit ends up in Delord Armagnac.
He also continued using the same single
distillation process at low temperature, which enables more flavors,
fatty acids and character to remain in the spirit. This is now part
of the legal character of an Armagnac.
He also had worked out an
excellent recipe for his mash: 70% Ugni Blanc for a great
foundation, 20% Baco for full roundness, 5% Colombard for some
herbal notes and 5% Folle Blanche for its floral
And finally, he would include 10% Gascon oak in
his barrels to give good tannins, darker color and beautiful spices.
He also aged his Armagnac longer than the law requires, knowing that
the older it is, the smoother it becomes. (The original cellar still
holds some of Prosper's Armagnac from 1904!)
This is the recipe used today by
great-grandsons Jerome and Sylvain as they carry on the family
tradition. They have established a reputation for quality that is
Wine World is proud to be able to offer you
to opportunity to own your own bottle of this eaux-de-vie. Aged for a minimum
of 25 years, it has been called France's most natural and complex
Bas-Armagnac "25 Ans d'Age" - $79.99:
Elegant on the nose with peppery and spicy notes, it is the
palate upon which this Armagnac will unveil its true self with
a complexity of cocoa and spices, well blended tannins, vanilla,
walnut and cinnamon. Its finish is long and silky with a
delightful biscuity essence. Simply a great Bas-Armagnac
If you're a fan of great brandies, then you are
the person we were considering when the decision was made to offer
this world class Armagnac on our shelves!
Ask one of our friendly, courteous sales
associates to show it to you on your next visit!
Only at Wine World!
that time of year again!
out the early arrivals, and keep checking back as the selections
will only continue to grow!
High on the Hog!
House Swine Cellars
We are aware that the State BBQ Bash wa recently
held in Bel Air. We are also aware of the new wines that
were unveiled there!
KLJ Ventures of Paso Robles, CA launched their new
wine brand, House Swine
Cellars as the "Signature Wine Sponsor" for the MD State BBQ
As you enjoyed your ribs, smoked shoulders and pulled
pork at this year's festival, you could also have gotten your first
taste of these new wines - which incidentally, are now
available at Wine World!
Here's a rundown of the 3 little pigs that you'll find on
our shelves today:
"Santa Barbara County" - $22.99: You will squeal with
delight when you taste this refreshing Chardonnay. This
delightful wine is bursting with aromas and subtle flavors of apple,
peach and pear with hints of orange zest, honeysuckle and stony
minerals on the finish.
2010 Pinot Noir
"Santa Barbara County" - $22.99: You will be as happy as a
pig in a puddle when you experience the bright aromas of fresh
berries and sweet oak spice in this cool climate Pinot Noir. You
will taste an explosion of ripe cherry, strawberry and high-toned
raspberry on the palate. This food-friendly wine has a
mouth-watering texture, fine tannins, and is well balanced with a
"Paso Robles" - $22.99: You will go hog wild when you
taste this yummy Paso Zinfandel! Aromas of blackberry,
boysenberry, raspberry and dark cherry will fill your glass.
Enjoy dense layers of berries, chocolate, pepper and spice on the
Combine equal parts friends and laughter then simply
remember the 4 S's: Swirl, Snort, Sip and Squeal!
Come by Wine World today and pick up a bottle or three,
then go wee, wee, wee all the way home!
From Hobo Wines
"Parts & Labor"
It is a simple mission.
The ideas and preferences about wine are always
changing, but at Hobo Wine Co. the core and root of what excites
them is a constant. The possibility for wine to create community, to
be history, to tell a story, and to transcend time and place is what
enchants, captivates, and inspires!
Wines that achieve these ethereal qualities are
produced by craftsmen/women with an artisan approach to growing
grapes and making wines. They are Vignerons who raise their vines
and wines with great thought and patience and understanding. And
they are able to instill their wines with personality and character
and a sense of place.
Though techniques vary somewhat from wine to
wine, vineyard to vineyard, and vintage to vintage, the basic
approach is consistent. Hobo believes in unforced wines... in making
the best wine possible.
But there are lines they are not willing to
cross. They believe in minimal processing as a goal, but modern
winemaking as an option. Stylistically, they strive for balance
above all else, but varietal and geographical distinction are also
While Hobo founder Kenny Likitprakong has no
vineyards of his own, environmental sensitivity is important to him.
He establishes relationships with likeminded growers in many areas
of California, and sources his fruit - much of it organic, all of it
responsibly farmed - from them. He then ships it to his winery in
He says that for a long time he has been wanting
to produce a red wine that would fit into the idea of what the
California version of a French bistro wine might be - light on its
feet, great with food, fun and easy to drink, and almost above all
We believe he may have achieved that goal
with a new wine released under his "Folk Machine" line of wines.
Hobo Wines actually produces five distinct labels. This line was
created in 2005 primarily as a home for his Pinot Noir stylings, but
over the years it has become the main venue for his more esoteric
line of wines.
It's the perfect place for his
& Labor" Red Blend - $16.99: As the
name implies, this wine seems almost simplistic in the makeup of its
basic "parts", while the artisan "labor" shows through in its single
greatest attribute - balance!
This premier vintage is a wonderful blend of
Rhône varietals, all from in Mendocino County. It is made of 35%
Carignane from 100 year old organically farmed vines planted in
Redwood Valley, 20% Grenache from McDowell Valley, and 45% Syrah
from the biodynamically farmed Vecino Vineyard in Potter
Carignane is a grape with high acid and tannins,
and offers some wonderfully vinous and vegetal aromas, particularly
when from these older vines. Although it is not the dominant
component of this wine, it does form the backbone, setting the
structural framework with lots of plum and blackberry
Add to this frame just the right amount of spicy
Grenache to lighten the mood and tame those tannins a bit. The
sweetness of this grape also works to rein in some of the earthier
aspects of the Carignane while adding a touch of strawberry and
black cherry that further adds complexity to the
Then tying it all together, the amazing ability
of Syrah to add a sense of place, depth and beauty is brought to
bear as the majority "part" of the overall blend. While adding body
and softening the tannins just another touch, it brings a peppery
spice goodness that entwines the other parts in a ballet of
impeccable balance between acids, tannins, tastes and
In tasting this wine for the first time, I was
struck by how delicate it is, and was then amazed by the way the
various parts unveil themselves, as if slowly stripping away layer
after layer of flavor - first the red fruits...
strawberry, raspberry, cherry... followed by darker currant,
plum and blackberries, while the spice notes remain as the constant
thread connecting one layer to the next.
It was lighter than I expected from the deep
color, and quite lively, kept alert by bright acids, and yet the
structure was undeniable with tannins that, though present, were not
at all astringent or overbearing.
A subtle earthy, leathery backnote was the intro
to a medium length finish that certainly left me smiling! It's hard
to believe all of this is going on in a California Rhône style blend
for under $20!
The sad part of this tale is that, as is the case
with most of Hobo's wines, production was extremely limited. Only
900 cases were produced, and word on this one has gotten out
Elizabeth is trying to lay in as much as she can
get her hands on because quite simply stated, Kenny hit a home run
on this one! We don't expect it to last very long, and
we're going to miss this one when it's gone!
So we'd like to suggest that you give it a try,
and once you confirm for yourself what we already know, set a few
bottles aside to share with special friends and for special
Fastest Growing Bloody Mary Mix!
The Fat and Juicy brand was born of bandmates Joe
Good and John Glenn's desire to have an extra high grade Bloody Mary
with true homemade taste.
Admittedly it was the "morning after the night
before", and they were seeking a little "hair of the dog that bit
These two friends collaborated on what would
become the most awesome combination of ingredients to ever chase a
The first ingredient also provided the name...
some "Fat and Juicy" tomatoes. Then they added mix of roasted
vegetable purees, some fresh horseradish, celery, garlic, and a
signature hint of sultry smoky heat. Add a little vodka, and before
long, they were ready to pick up their guitars and jam!
It was too good to keep to themselves, and since
friends don't let friends drink bad Bloody Marys, they just had to
Eventually they were making so many one-gallon
jugs for friends each weekend that they decided it was time for "Fat
and Juicy" to make it onto store shelves.
That's how it all started for this former
software company executive and attorney. Oh they still play music
together, but now they focus full throttle on Fat and Juicy!
They even added a Margarita Mix to the lineup
using key limes and a hint of fresh orange and tamarind! It too is
Whether your preference is vine-ripened boldness
or sun-soaked awesome, "Fat and Juicy" has you covered, and Wine
World has them in stock, priced at just $6.99 for the 32 oz bottle!
Pick some up on your next visit.
Only at Wine World!
Now that you're ready for a Bloody Mary, may we
suggest a new vodka to go with the mix?
From the world's highest distillery, in the heart
of Colorado's ski country, we proudly present Breckenridge
Warning! This one isn't just another boring
neutral Vodka. At 9600 feet, the minerality of the Colorado snowmelt
water that is used for proofing the spirit defines one of the
world's only Vodka terroirs!
This Vodka is bursting with flavor! Made from
100% Midwest sweet corn and run through Breckenridge's 700 gallon
copper pot still five times for purity, the 194 proof spirit that
emerges can stand on its own!
It is then filtered through coconut shell
charcoal to remove any fusil oils that may have formed during the
distillation process, and then it is introduced to that
The water adds its own character
while taking the Vodka to a smooth and
consistent 80 proof, ready to be mixed with your Fat and Juicy
cocktail mix, blended into your favorite cocktail, or sipped neatly
from a frozen shot glass!
The first thing you will notice, especially when
tasted on its own, is a woodsy, herbaceous forest note that comes
across with a bit of sweetness and perhaps a vague hint of
wintergreen. While most Vodkas are plain and bland on the palate,
this one seems to deliver something extra... a surprising bit of
The folks at Breckenridge Distilling say they
used to mine gold from these mountains, but now they just win it!
Well this Vodka was a winner at both the International Wine and
Spirits, and World Spirits Competitions!
Pick up your Breckenridge Vodka at Wine World
today! It's priced at just $18.99/750 ml, and $28.99 for the 1.75
The water really does make a
New from Scotland
Monkey Shoulder "Batch 27" Triple Malt Scotch
What is "Monkey Shoulder"?
Introducing the world's first "Triple Malt"
Created by Speyside legends William Grant &
Sons, Monkey Shoulder was the brainchild of legendary Malt Master
He had the notion that if Single Malts are good,
three malts, especially if they're the right
three, could be even better! He decided to try!
To accomplish his goal, he combined single malts
from the head company's three Dufftown distilleries which
- William Grant's powerhouse
- the malty, honeyed whisky from Balvenie; and
- Kininvie - a lesser-known distillery which is
almost never released as a single malt in its own
Each of the chosen malts mature in first-fill
former bourbon casks that have been reworked to impart a smooth and
mellow oaken vanilla flavor as the whisky rests for specific periods
Then they are blended together in a small
marrying tun where they get acquainted with one another for anything
from three to six months before bottling.
That's what Monkey Shoulder is!
No, what is
Well it's absolutely delicious! It's smooth and
rich... a blend of three distinct 100% malt Speyside Scotch
whiskies, distilled, matured and bottled in Dufftown,
The three individual malts play very well
together, offering zesty orange aromas that are complemented by
mellow vanilla, honey and spiced oak notes.
Its flavors really showcase that
spicy vanilla taste on a very malty palate that turns creamy
and juicy with butterscotch and honeyed apricot notes. It has a
super smooth medium length finish that offers a subtle reminder
of orange and spice as it closes.
It's pretty damned good is what it is, especially
for just $32.99!
No, I mean what is "Monkey
Oh, "Monkey Shoulder"! I thought you were
asking about Monkey Shoulder...
"Monkey Shoulder" is the term that the old-time
maltsters used to describe the workers at the end of a long shift!
It's hard work gently turning shovelful after
shovelful of malted barley as it dries.
When the whistle finally blew and they handed
their shovel off to the next shift, sometimes those powerful arms
would be so tired they would hang down a bit like a monkey's, so
they nicknamed it "monkey shoulder".
Of course that was in the old days, and working
conditions have improved a lot since then, so even though these
particular Dufftown distilleries still make their malt by those same
time honored traditions, this condition is hardly ever seen any
They just named the whisky "Monkey Shoulder" as a
sort of a tribute to those old time malt men! They even put 3
monkeys on the shoulder of the bottle, one for each of the
distilleries, to further deepen the tribute.
So what do you say? Are you ready to give
Monkey Shoulder "Batch 27" Triple Malt Scotch Whisky a
We hope so, because we've got it sitting on the
shelf just waiting for you at Wine World today!
Tasting a dram at the end of your long, hard day
is the perfect way to relieve your own version of "Monkey
Shoulder", whatever it may be!