What is the link between the tangible reality of Armagnac and that of the more mystical one of spirits?
The term spirit denotes a rich universe in what it conjures up and what it actually represents: derived from the Latin spiritus, it literally evokes the spirit and describes a large category of alcoholic drinks created by distillation and some by maceration. Today, the production of spirits is blossoming everywhere in France, a country that is internationally recognised for its savoir-faire in this field.
The spirits known as « eaux-de-vie » are obtained exclusively from the distillation of fermented must coming from 100% raw agricultural materials: fruit, berries, cereals or sugar cane. They are said to be ‘blends’ when the alcohol has been flavoured by maceration or infusion before its distillation.
Armagnac belongs to the first family in this group; in fact it is the oldest. The eau-de-vie produced from white wine is obtained after the harvest of whole bunches of grapes, natural vinification that is quick and clean (without any additions), and a continuous distillation. It is in the Armagnac alambic that the spirit of the Gascon nectar awakens: above the boiling wine rise up the alcohol vapours, symbolic of its soul. It becomes concentrated with aromas and flows as a pure and translucent liquid that will normally be aged in wood. Armagnac is therefore and above all the spirit of the wine and all those that took part in making it. It is the quintessence of Gascony, its soils and their characteristics, its winegrowers and their choices. With it, the term ‘spirit’ takes on a twofold meaning, both literal and symbolic.
Tags: armagnac, craft, spirits
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