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Armagnac — history and types of drink; how different from brandy; how to drink

Caloric content: 225 kcal.

The energy value of the product Armagnac:
Protein: 0.1 g
Fat: 0.1 g
Carbohydrates: 0.5 g.

Armagnac — strong alcoholic drink, which is produced by distillation. Traditionally, it is made in the French province of Gascony.

This is an amazingly fragrant amber-colored drink (see photo). The taste of Armagnac is rich, the drink has a long finish with hints of wood.

Armagnac got its name from the name of the knight Herreman. It is believed that Herreman was the first in the Gascon lands to learn about the method of distillation.

Armagnac is considered to be native French drink, but historically it originated at the junction of three cultures. Vineyards in France were planted by the Romans, the Celts brought oak barrels, and the Arabs invented distillery barrels, without which the drink simply would not be Armagnac.

On the map, the area where Armagnac is made resembles a grape leaf. The grape fields of this geographical area have always been famous for their good harvest. Scientists have discovered mosaics depicting grapes dating back to the days of the Roman Empire.

At first, Armagnac was called not so much a grape drink as grape alcohol. The first prototype of the modern drink began to sell freely in 1461. In the international market, Armagnac began to appear in the 16th century.

In the 17th century, France mainly exported wines to Holland, and only Bordeaux wines were shipped to England. Wine makers from Bordeaux once closed the waterway for wines produced in other regions. This prohibition did not apply to other drinks besides wines, so the winemakers from Gascony decided to distill their products, getting grape brandy. The drink sold well, but its quality left much to be desired. The final product was largely dependent on the quality of the crop, which somewhat complicated the technology of its production.

Winemakers decided to send the remains of spirits for storage in oak barrels. They were surprised to see that after aging the drink not only did not spoil, but also acquired new characteristics. So Armagnac appeared with a special taste, smell, and beautiful color.

A good drink has a pronounced aroma, in which you can highlight different tones.

Production of Armagnac with time improved. In 1890, a turning point came in its history, as, indeed, in the history of all French drinks. The fact is that world-famous vineyards perished, infected with phylloxera. This disease managed to destroy most of the French grapes. After the epidemic, phylloxera was produced of very poor quality, besides, it sold poorly, which adversely affected its reputation.

Only at the beginning of the twentieth century, the production of Armagnac became interested in the state. In 1909, the beverage production area was determined.

Armagnac on the international market is called a drink made in France in the regions of the Upper and Lower Armagnac, as well as Tenarez.

In 1936, the characteristics of the production of this drink were described, it was made in the specified regions from white grapes grown there using one of two technologies.

Armagnac as well as brandy, belongs to the class of grape brandy. It differs from cognac in that its production includes much more than three grapes. For its preparation using about 10 varieties of grapes, whereas for brandy it will be enough just 1 grade. therefore Armagnac is more fragrant.

Distill it, unlike cognac, in one stage.

Also, some differences are observed in the process of aging: Armagnac is kept first in new and then in old oak barrels. Due to the different aging methods, beverages are obtained with different tannin content. Armagnac maintain an advantage in Gascon oak barrels, while cognac — in Limousin oak barrels.

Armagnac is a drink of the aristocracy, it symbolizes luxury and speaks of the good taste of its admirers.

This is the only French alcohol, on the label of which you can indicate the year of harvest.

According to the technology for the production of the drink using grapes such varieties:

1. Uni Blanc — it is ideal for making Armagnac, wines, brandy. This is due to the fact that the grapes are resistant to fungi. Most of Armagnac (about 75%) is made from it.

2. Fol Blanche — it is from this grape variety that Armagnac was first obtained. A modern drink is increasingly produced from the Uni-Blanc variety, which, unfortunately, produces less aromatic and less mild alcohols. In general, the Folle Blanche variety began to be used in smaller quantities due to the epidemic of phylloxera: it is very vulnerable to the effects of black rot.

3. Colombar — the original French grapes. The advantage of this variety is its high resistance to adverse conditions.

4. Bako Blanc — it was named after its discoverer — Maurice Bako. Grow it in the west of France, it gives great harvests. Suitable for the production of grape brandy. Bako Blanc was able to get as a result of crossing European varieties, as well as the American hybrid. He had to compensate for the loss of most of the Foll Blanche landings due to the epidemic.

In order to get Armagnac, grapes are harvested in November. Then the young wine is distilled, getting a drink with a pronounced aroma. Maintain it consistently in new and old oak barrels to get a drink with the desired tannin content. In new barrels it is kept for about 6 months. In old barrels, the drink loses its strength, but it acquires a special color and velvety taste. In them it can be maintained up to 50 years. Boards of which the barrels are made are dried in the open air for 5 years.

There are several types of this drink, traditionally distinguished:

  • LeBasArmagnac — a drink with a light aroma and a pleasant taste.
  • LArmagnacTenareze — a drink with a rich taste, it is usually consumed in adulthood.
  • Le Haute-Armagnac — A drink that is produced in small quantities is considered a rarity in the noble alcohol market.

The difference between Armagnac from other alcohol is that the producer indicates the aging of the drink only if it is a mixture of several alcohols. For example, a drink that says «Armagnac»Made from alcohols of 3 appellasonov.

Since 1999, the drink can be divided into:

  • Vieilarmagnac — drink, which belongs to the category of «old Armagnac», it can withstand at least six years.
  • Vintage — a drink created without blend, or «vintage Armagnac.»
  • Blanchedarmagnac — grape alcohol without aging, it is also often called “white Armagnac”.

A special kind of this drink is Armagnac Millezim. This concept denotes a special expensive type of drink, which is produced from grapes of the best harvest.

Useful properties of Armagnac due to its composition.

Initially, the drink was used as a medicine. Vital Dufour at one time even described the 40 beneficial properties of Armagnac. Small doses of drink contribute to the prolongation of youth, as well as maintaining clarity of mind. It was also believed that Armagnac, like other alcoholic beverages, reduces toothache and also disinfects the oral cavity.

Armagnac reveals its taste when using tulip glasses.

In order to fully enjoy the taste of the drink, first you need to give it a little rest. After Armagnac poured into a glass, it should be left for 15 minutes and then drink. Before you take a sip of this grape brandy, you must inhale its aroma through the nose. This technique will allow you to maximize the subtle exquisite taste of Armagnac. Experienced tasters thus accurately determine its quality. Drink drink slowly, delaying a long time in your mouth. After Armagnac is drunk, it is considered good form to hold the glass a little more in your hand and inhale the remaining scent.

If desired, Armagnac can be combined with champagne and orange juice. To soften the taste of the drink will help chocolate, as well as desserts. It also goes well with cigars. It is drunk both as an aperitif and as a digestif.

Gourmets insist that this drink should be drunk with chocolate, fruit or coffee.

Amazing aroma of Armagnac favorably distinguishes it from the world-famous cognac.

In cooking, Armagnac is used to prepare various dishes. He can easily replace brandy in some recipes. It is successfully used for impregnation of biscuits, as well as for the preparation of meat dishes. Armagnac will help diversify recipes for salads, as well as meat.

For example, you can cook Parisian steak. For the preparation of this famous French dish we need beef tenderloin, 50 ml of Armagnac, olive oil, spices. The meat is cut into portions, fried until cooked in olive oil. Next, fry a small amount of onion. The main component of this dish is a special sauce. It is prepared from 50 ml of Armagnac and 3 tbsp. l olive oil. Ready beef steak sprinkled with fried onions and poured over fragrant sauce.

Drink perfectly with the dishes of French cuisine. It can be served with foie gras, seafood, poultry, duck, as well as some types of cheese.

The benefits of this drink has long been known folk medicine.

Armagnac can be used to disinfect wounds, as well as to alleviate the pain of gout.

Scientists have conducted a number of studies and concluded that Armagnac contains a large amount of tannins, which are considered powerful antioxidants. Tannins perfectly protect the body from the action of free radicals.

Armagnac is an excellent tool for the prevention of cardiovascular diseases.

Harm to the body can cause a drink with individual intolerance, as well as excessive consumption. Armagnac is contraindicated for pregnant and lactating women, children.

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