Janneau 1980 Vintage Armagnac is 40 years old in 2020 and will make a fantastic 40th birthday or 40th anniversary present. Like Cognac, most Armagnac is bottled as a blend (VSOP, XO or age statement brandy) however some, such as this, does get bottled as a single Vintage Armagnac. The great vintages or millésimés of Maison Janneau are the expression of a single distilling year, most commonly of a single cask.
Janneau is one of the top Armagnac houses and lead the field in terms of quality and innovation. It was founded by Pierre Etienne Janneau in 1851. Janneau Armagnac has been through some ownership changes since then – it was bought by Cognac Martell in the 1970s, which was eventually bought out by Seagram, before the Giovinetti family bought it in 1993 with the intention of returning the business to a family-run concern. Today the business is run by Fabio Giovinetti and Janneau is one of the larger Armagnac houses, indeed Janneau has access to one of the largest stocks of old Armagnac, 10% of the region’s stocks over 10 years old.
Janneau 1980 Vintage Armagnac is made from grapes harvested, vinified and distilled in 1970. Only the heart of the distillation, the best part left after the heads and tails are discarded, are used to produce this brandy which gives it great finesse with concentrated, fruity flavours. After distillation the vintage Armagnac is carefully aged in French Limousin oak barrels until it is ready to be bottled. In barrel, the Armagnac leaches vanillins and tannins from the toasted oak which lend the spirit colour and flavours – without barrel ageing the spirit is just a colourless liquid. The depth of colour and complexity of flavours increase all the time the spirit is aged in cask and the colour becomes darker with age ranging from pale straw to rich amber. As well as becoming darker in colour as Armagnac ages it also becomes softer, smoother and more elegant on the palate whilst aromas and flavours of prunes, violets, fig, honey, butterscotch and rancio develop.
Janneau 1980 Vintage Armagnac is presented in an individual wooden box with brass clasps and hinges.