Monday, October 5, 2009

Best. Armagnac. Ever.

photo from vendor's website

For my birthday, a friend sent me a bottle of the finest Armagnac I've ever tasted: a 1980 Baron de Lustrac in a fancy wooden box (dovetails and everything, with nifty little brass hinges and catch).

Admittedly, I've only sampled half a dozen different Armagnacs (it's more difficult to find in restaurants than Cognac--mostly I come across Larressingle and Darroze, both good) but this one floats above them all like a cirrus cloud. It has a fabulous combination of complexity and clarity (it's rich but light, warm but whippy), one I've never encountered before. It was a fine, fine coda to a delicious meal last night (butternut squash soup with cream and chives, lamb stew with caramelised pearl onions and baby carrots, apple and berry crumble with cream--and wine of course, lots of wine, plus conversation about publishing).

I am smiling (and, y'know, very slightly hung over--but mostly smiling).



  1. I'm curious. When was the first time you had
    armagnac? Was it a special occasion, or did you just go down to the liquor store and buy it?

  2. I was delighted to read how much you enjoyed the Baron de Lustrac 1980 Armagnac and will pass on your comments to the producer.
    Amanda Garnham
    PR for the Armagnac bureau, Gascony

  3. barbara, it was here in Seattle, at a restaurant called Queen City Grill. I saw 'Armagnac' on the afters list and, intrigued, ordered a glass...and fell in love.

    amanda, thank you, please do.

  4. That all sounds delicious. I'm always impressed by the menu at your dinners. "Warm but whippy" ...interesting description.

    I love boxes like that.

    But that photo -- eh, I think I could do better. :)

  5. I nearly asked you for a photo :)

  6. Can you describe the flavor, Nicola? :)

  7. Well, who knew the PR person for the Armagnac bureau would be stopping by? :)

  8. Did you see this?

    "Baron de Lustrac 1980 Domaine de la Croix Pelanne 100% Bacco Bas Armagnac (France); 42% abv. Its tea leaf/toasty aroma is so emblematic of bacco, with scents of honey wheat toast, rubber pencil eraser and butterscotch. Palate is scrumptious, sweet, concentrated and intensely caramel-like; with traces of asparagus and green leaf vegetable. Finish is bittersweet, eggy and creamy."

    Rubber pencil eraser?? Yum, my favorite thing...

  9. Um, yes, yes. I second this nomination for Best Armagnac ever. Two glasses of this did me in, my friend! (In a good way.)

    And thank you and Kelley again for a fabulous dinner and lovely company. (The lamb stew was amazing!)

  10. colleen, you're welcome. I expect between us we can persuade Kelley to post the lamb stew recipe...