Spirits / Armagnac / Domaine de Baraillon
Domaine de Baraillon - Bas-Armagnac
The Domaine de Baraillon sits back from the road just outside Lannemaignan (on the Gers/Landes border) in the Bas-Armagnac. The lovely little property is surrounded by sunflower, corn and wheat fields, as well as vineyards. Driving through, you wouldn’t even know the family living here produces Armagnac if it weren't for the large barrel on the side of the road with their name written on it. However, If you choose to make your way down the short drive, you will be rewarded with one of the most amazing collections of Gascon nectar to be found in the region.
The Claverie’s armagnacs are a blend of two properties: 4 hectares belonging to patriarch Paul’s sister in Le Freche and 12 hectares surrounding his house, planted in Baco, Colombard and Ugni Blanc. They once used the distiller Loubere in Labastide d’Armagnac, but in 2012 bought their own still in which they now transform their wines into spirits. The fresh eau de vie normally goes into 5,000 liter vats before being transferred into barrels, some new, some older. Every couple of years they aerate their armagnacs to promote oxidation, and every so often, they will blend all of the barrels from an individual vintage to ensure consistent color and taste.
Paul is now in his late seventies, and his daughter Laurence gives her father a firm helping hand. They have two chais: one in a building constructed in the ‘80’s that houses the still and more recent vintages, and a smaller building, closer to the house, that lodges vintages from the ‘60’s and ‘70’s, as well as a well-curated collection of vintages dating back to the late 1800’s, distilled by Paul’s father and grandfather. In this dark building laced with cobwebs, time stands still.
Domaine de Baraillon Bas-Armagnac 1923
Domaine de Baraillon Bas-Armagnac 1958
Domaine de Baraillon Bas-Armagnac 1970
Domaine de Baraillon Bas-Armagnac 1972
Domaine de Baraillon Bas-Armagnac Folle Blanche 1979
Domaine de Baraillon Bas-Armagnac 1985
Domaine de Baraillon Bas-Armagnac Folle Blanche 2002
Note: not all these vintages are currently available
video: Oscar Beckmann and Michael Housewright
Between this paradise and the family house is a small tasting room. Against a wall they used to have a table that was haphazardly covered with bottles, upon which each one had a vintage written on a white sticker. Visitors were allowed to taste whatever they liked: you want some 1923—there it is, go ahead. Some 1955, help yourself! You talk about being a kid in a candy shop!
They have since arranged the bottles in a more orderly fashion atop some shelves on the wall. But the same hospitality remains, offering the unique chance to taste over a century of spirits distilled and aged on one single property.