Armagnac is the oldest spirit in the world, used as a medicine in former times it has been distilled and appreciated since 1411. The Owners of Baron de Sigognac, The Guasch family, have been in Gascony since the 12th century. They have owned the château at Bordeneuve since 1974 and are one of the region’s largest courtiers and negociant operations. Today the father-and-son team of Jean-Claude and Thomas look after viticulture, vinification, and distillation. The Domaine is almost unique in the region as all its production is distilled into Armagnac instead of wine. There is one short column still at the Domaine (almost 100 years old), which produces up to 50 to 60 casks of new spirit annually. The wine is distilled on its lees, and drawn off at 55 to 58%, depending on the harvest. Distillation is continuous through day and night and manually controlled to account for temperature and humidity changes.
Once distilled the colourless spirit is aged in 420 litre oak barrels. It is here, in barrel, that the Armagnac leaches vanillins and tannins from the toasted oak which lend the spirit colour and flavour. The depth of colour and complexity of flavour increase all the time the spirit is aged in cask, the colour can range from pale straw to rich amber. As Armagnac ages it becomes darker in colour and softer, smoother, and more elegant on the palate whilst aromas and flavours of prunes, violets, fig, honey, butterscotch and rancio develop. Part of the alcohol evaporates naturally during the long years in cask – this is known as “la part des anges” (the angel’s share).