November 17, 2013


Photo from Chambers Street Wines's website
I'm not a huge spirits guy. Sometimes distilled drinks strike me as little more than poison.

Ok, maybe that's too much, but do you know what I mean? Spirits are tough on the body. Some are just so good, they seem to rise above and are truly the water of life. Or that's bullshit but they're just worth it, body be damned.

Whatever your feelings about spirits, I'm excited to have tracked down some Armagnac from 1989 to sip on for the holidays and beyond. That year is special to me, my first visit to France.

I can't provide any of my own tasting notes just yet. I'm just excited to read what I've found online from places like Chambers Street in NYC, which just offered some Armagnac from the '80s from Ch de Pellehaut. Apparently K&L in California has also offered various bottlings from this producer, imported by Bay Area-based Armagnac expert Charles Neal. I remember Charles' selections from my SF days years ago, mostly country wines from SW France and then a nice selection of Armagnac.

Then I found an incredibly informative blog yesterday, Sku's Recent Eats, about all kinds of whiskeys and then brandies, among eating adventures in my native Los Angeles. I must check out more details here before my latest So Cal visit next month. For you Bourbon fans, check out the blog's comprehensive breakdown of the mysteries of who's actually distilling what brands on your store shelves. There is so much to learn if you're really interested in what you're drinking and where it comes from. Bourbon especially seems notorious for brands disguised from huge distillers. I suppose the same is true of so many common wine brands. I guess I'm just more comfortable with how it works in the wine world.

For now, let's remember that brandies like Armagnac and its more famous neighbor Cognac are essentially distilled wines, and whiskeys like Bourbon and Scotch are essentially distilled beers. There's much more to it, but when I learned that basic breakdown, things suddenly seemed to make more sense.

That is, until you drink a little too much of this stuff. Any night changes course when the liquor comes out, sometimes for better, sometimes not. With that in mind, I'm excited to get my hands on some good Armagnac. Just know these bottles are going to last. There's no sense poisoning yourself with such special, handmade spirits.