Why Don't We Drink Armagnac?

Cousin to cognac is good with rich foods: Esquire

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 5, 2013 3:29 PM CST

(Newser) – If you enjoy earthy, rich foods like duck, pork, and stinky cheese, save this for the next time you're booze-shopping. The French make a rustic version of cognac called Armagnac that's still fairly cheap because it hasn't hit the big-time—say, $40 for a good one and $84 or $114 for a finer bottle. In terms of flavor, Armagnac is to cognac what rye is to bourbon: similar but darker and feistier, with a leaner texture. It's rougher than cognac when it's young and earthier when it's old, "with just a hint of barnyard funk," reports Esquire.

Armagnac's sales may lag behind cognac's—only 6 million bottles worldwide to 177 million—but Esquire compares this moment to the point in the 1980s when single-malt Scotch was about to compete with easy-to-drink blended versions. And because Armagnac is made by small, family-owned firms in Gascony, there are no huge marketing budgets to inflate prices. Esquire's advice: Try the "warm and fruity" Marie Duffau Napoleon ($40), "bright and juicy" Chateau du Tariquet XO ($84), or "lean and leathery" Chateau du Busca Hors d'Age ($114).

One of four bottles of 1875 Armagnac Vieux, covered in a black fungus and unearthed from the labyrinthine wine cellar this week, are seen at La d'Argent restaurant in Paris, Thursday Oct. 15, 2009.
One of four bottles of 1875 Armagnac Vieux, covered in a black fungus and unearthed from the labyrinthine wine cellar this week, are seen at La d'Argent restaurant in Paris, Thursday Oct. 15, 2009.   (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
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