Chateau Garreau Bas Armagnac Blanche
Fruit salad, cream and sugar, a bit of pear and plum on the nose.
Sweet on the palate, a touch bitter at first but patience is rewarded with pear, peach, a bit of cobbler and creamy sweetness.
Short to moderate finish, more sweetness here and a satisfying complexity that isn’t often found in unaged brandy.
Chateau Garreau Bas Armagnac 2015 Cask #126
100% Folle Blanche, 55.4% ABV
Woop woop, a happy helping of caramel, candied nuts, bright and expressive peaches and cream, now we’ve got some grape firing here. It’s the youngest vintage in the set, but you wouldn’t know it blind.
Sweet initially on the palate, low on tannic but high on acid and pepper character. Sweet cream, honey, wood shavings. Light cherry character. Great tradeoff of tannin and grape.
Long finish, a little hot, but a good time. Again, satisfying complexity. Cobbler, raspberry, lightly bready.
Chateau Garreau Bas Armagnac 2013 Cask #71
100% Baco, 58.3% ABV
Oh yup, that’s Armagnac. More oak here, dry and tannin forward. A touch of berry, sweet cream and lovely pepper.
Moderate mouthfeel, woody and dry. Tannin is high, blackberry and vanilla bean second in line. A touch of pepper and light barrel char.
Long finish, a little grating and hot, but complex and interesting. If you don’t mind a touch of bitter oak and a bit of spirit, you’re golden. At 58% it’s not punishing, and the complexity is welcome.
Chateau Garreau Bas Armagnac 2008 Cask #16
100% Ugni Blanc, 47.8% ABV
Rock on – it’s fruit salad’o’clock again. Butter cream, bright pepper, a touch of orange rind, Cassis, blackberry and that lovely tanninc Armagnac bite.
Moderate mouthfeel, once again the tannin shines. Peach cobbler, cocoa, a touch of tannin and nougat. Dole cocktail fruit syrup. Starting to shine quite nicely.
Long finish, bitter tannin is giving way to much more rounded oak structure. Vanilla, toasted marshmallow, blackberry jam, orange preserve, sweet cherry.
Chateau Garreau Bas Armagnac 2007 Cask #126
100% Baco, 48.1% ABV
Sweet on the nose. Less oak, more Dole cocktail fruit syrup, light pepper, welcoming in some tobacco here.
Bitter at first, livens up to give way to orange peel, maple, nougat and almond. Black cherry is particularly pronounced, the Baco shows nicely.
Long finish. Tobacco, cherry reduction, faint balsamic, sweet cream and barrel aged manhattan vibes.
Oh yeah, that’s the stuff.
Chateau Garreau Bas Armagnac 2005 Cask #11
100% Baco, 52.2% ABV
Hot diggity – a great blend of tobacco, caramel, vanilla, big toasted oak and robust grape character.
Rich on the palate, dry and oaky on the back palate. Sweet cream, orange, papaya, mango, blackberry, cherry. Grape preserve, some old sherry notes. Unexpected complexity for a vintage some may still consider youthful.
Long finish. It draws my mind to our first Cassou. Red vines, salt water taffy, peppercorns and tobacco.
Chateau Garreau Bas Armagnac 2003 Cask #54
100% Baco, 44.5% ABV
Floral and bright – a contrast to the 2005. Creamy, fruit forward fun. Lavender, bitters, toffee and a touch of perfume. Lovely lack of tannin here that makes the show all about the fruits.
Light on the palate, but fun and effervescent. Honey, heather, white grape, pear and honeydew. A real trip.
Long finish, fruit continues to shine, unbridled by the cask. It’s not a bourbon lover’s brandy – this is the pure spirit of a brandy lover’s brandy.
Chateau Garreau Bas Armagnac 1985
Bold and syrupy. Faintly bitter, there’s rancio and some funk in spades. Not unexpected when you take an 18 year hop into the past. Stewed fruits, syrupy cherry, tobacco and tha funk.
Moderate to rich on the palate. The old character and funk shine more than any oak. Rancio, sweet cream, bitter plum, musty tobacco. A tug of war between savory and pure syrup. Demands attention.
Long finish, not easily forgotten. Sticks around for ages, and blackberry jam refuses to leave. Old tobacco.
It’s lovely, it’s complex, it focuses on what I like to see for well aged vintage brandy. That said, the vivacious fruit character of the ’03 still can’t be shaken.