1977 Vintage Armagnac will make a fantastic 40th birthday present for anyone turning 40 years old in 2017.
Armagnac is a French brandy and it is the slightly less well known sibling of Cognac. Armagnac comes from Gascony in South West France (Cognac come from the Charentais) and the brandy produced here tends to be a little heavier, fuller and spicier than Cognac. However with many years ageing in the barrel, vintage Armagnac becomes a fantastically soft, mellow and round brandy. In Cognac, although they do produce vintage brandies, most Cognac tends to be blended into VSOP, XO or other older, luxury blends. In Armagnac producers have always made a lot of single vintage spirits but they also make blends such as 10 year old, 20 year old or XO, but not to the same extent.
There is more information on the differences between Armagnac and Cognac at this post.
If you are looking for something that is 40 years old in 2017, 1977 Vintage Armagnac makes a good gift because one can almost be guaranteed that it is still drinkable, unlike 40 year old Port or Wine. There are 40 year old wines and Ports which will be drinkable. Forty years old is a bit of a stretch for most wines but 1977 was a very good vintage and you can see what 1977 Vintage Ports (and Madeiras) we have here. We also have a very good Grahams 40 Year Old Tawny Port. Vintage Armagnac also offers very good value for money.
There are many producers of Armagnac, but two of the best smaller producers that specialise in Vintage Armagnac are Baron de Lustrac and Baron de Sigognac. We usually have stock of both.
Baron de Lustrac 1977 Vintage Armagnac
Baron de Lustrac 1977 Vintage Armagnac is available to buy here (where you can see some more photographs). It is made by a small independent bottler who has connections with lots of small producers that have good stock of older vintage Armagnac quietly ageing away in their cellars. It is in the cellars where the brandy is aged in toasted oak barrels where the spirit interacts with the oak to gain the desirable characters one should be looking for in brandy. So, over time, the brandy takes on colour from the cask along with vanillins and tannins. As it ages it becomes darker in colour and aromas and flavours of prunes, violets, fig, honey, butterscotch and rancio develop.
Baron de Sigognac 1977 Vintage Armagnac
Baron de Sigognac are slightly different from Baron de Lustrac in that they they actually grow grapes themselves, vinify them and oversee the whole distillation and ageing process themselves. This is the exception rather than the rule. This has led to Baron de Sigognac being one of the more highly regards Armagnac producers. They also remain independentyl family-owned. The Guasch family, who have been in Gascony since the 12th century, have owned Chateau de Bordeneuve, where Baron de Sigognac is made, since 1974.
Baron de Sigognac 1977 Armagnac is available to buy here.
There is a useful Baron de Sigognac vintage chart available here which displays the various characteristics of particular vintages. For example, the 1977 vintage is characterised as having “fruity” main flavours and that it is a “Classic, rich and well-balanced” Armagnac.