Review: Chateau Arton Armagnac – Blanche, La Reserve, and 2009 Millesime
Chateau Arton makes both wine and brandy, where Patrick de Montal has been producing Armagnac for a relatively young 30-some years. The brand focuses heavily on single-vintage bottlings, one of which we review here along with its unaged fine blanche expression and its more readily available La Reserve expression.
Chateau Arton Armagnac Fine Blanche – Reportedly the first white brandy ever produced in Armagnac, dating back to 1985. Surprisingly and impressively clean, this brandy pours on floral notes, lavender and orange blossoms both well represented, alongside a thin vein of jasmine. That iconic young brandy linen character is effusive on the palate, leading to a gently sweet and floral finish — think golden syrup, dragged through a field of wildflowers… if you could drag syrup. Unaged brandy is hardly my go-to, but there’s a case to be made for using this in lieu of gin or vodka in the right cocktail recipe. 90 proof. B / $45 [BUY IT NOW FROM DRIZLY]
Chateau Arton Armagnac La Reserve 6 Years Old – This Armagnac is composed of Colombard and Ugni Blanc grapes grown on the Domaine d’Arton and is aged for at least 6 years, making it the youngest aged brandy in the Arton arsenal. The nose immediately surprises considering the young age of the spirit. Initially bold with heavy raisin and dried floral notes, there’s complexity beneath the more obvious elements, running to roasted walnuts and almonds, plus a hint of saline. The palate is quite racy and a little hot at first, but it works with all the bold flavors in effect. Punchy with notes of citrus, bay leaf, and a well-spiced layer of raisins, it’s backed up by an ample amount of wood that complements the sweeter characteristics but never overwhelms the experience. The finish finds room for a light mint note and some lingering barrel char elements, with notes of dark chocolate clinging to the tongue late in the game. It’s big and complex and a little in your face, but there’s plenty to love here. 90 proof. A- / $77 [BUY IT NOW FROM DRIZLY]
Chateau Arton Armagnac 2009 Millesime 10 Years Old Single Cask – The floral house style of Arton comes through on the nose here, showcasing a brandy studded with potpourri but surprisingly informed by ample barrel char, bordering on a dusty lumberyard character. The classic raisin, chocolate, and plum notes are more evident on the palate, but oak continues to cast a long shadow over the brandy. Well-spiced but never sweet, the brandy has a clear austerity that leads to a very dry finish, where notes of dark chocolate and incense linger fitfully. 90 proof. B+ / $140