Grape of the Art Fontan 1996 Armagnac

Highly Recommended 88 /100
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Growth area
Bas Armagnac

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Bottle size
Vintage year
$ 116 Out of stock
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Tasting review

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Color: Captivating in clarity, inviting one to delve into its depths.

Nose: A vibrant tapestry of aromatics, with sweet and tangy candied orange, evocative raspberries, the sun-soaked dried fruits of Gascogne, and the intricate complexity of fragrant woods.

Palate: The raspberries take center stage, delivering a bold and thick presence. This is a spirit of power and substance, a balanced profile in a heavy, commanding body.

Finish: A finale that lingers with intent, dry, and immensely satisfying, echoing the profound journey from barrel to bottle.


Grape of the Art Fontan 1996 Bas-Armagnac

Grape of the Art Fontan 1996 Bas-Armagnac Cask #B116, 26 years old, dry cellar, 55.1% abv cask strength, ugni blanc

Grape of the Art - who needs no introduction.

Maison Fontan is an Armagnac producer based in the Gers region of France, where the Fontan siblings, Nadège and Sylvain, blend tradition and terroir to create their esteemed eau de vie. The winery dedicates itself to the production of Cotes de Gascogne wines and Armagnac, following ancient Roman customs by distilling a portion of their Ugni blanc wine harvest. This distillation occurs in a traditional copper Armagnacais still, yielding an exceptionally aromatic spirit. After distillation, the eau de vie is transferred to Gascogne oak barrels, where it begins its transformation into Armagnac, acquiring complexity, color, and character over many years. The Fontans' approach to Armagnac production is meticulous and patient. The oak barrels used are sourced from Bartholomo, a local cooper who ensures a consistent quality and barrel chauffe, influencing the spirit's breathability and tannin profile through medium to large grain wood. In the shadowed quiet of their cellars, Sylvain carefully monitors the aging process—gauging tannin development, the angel's share evaporation, and the emergence of the coveted rancio flavor. This dedicated stewardship over the years is what allows Maison Fontan to produce Armagnacs of exceptional taste and quality.

Bas-Armagnac, lieu dit “Maubet”

This 1996 Bas-Armagnac is made from 100% Ugni Blanc grapes, the grape variety favored by Fontan. Immediately after distillation, the spirit dripped off the still between 52% and 60% alcohol, from which point it began its slow aging process until seeing the light of day with this Grape of the Art bottling. The casks employed come from Batholomo and have a larger grain. The Armagnac aged for 26 years in one of the domaine’s dry cellars. Like all bottlings from Grape of the Art, it is bottled at its natural cask strength 55.1%. It goes without saying, there are no additives whatsoever. The aromas are explosive and loaded with all sorts of fruits - candied and fresh. It is inviting, delicious smelling and is generally met with an audible sigh upon first nosing. If the nose pulls you in, the palate arrests you with its intensity and power. Balance is preserved though, and the various fruits support the character of the spirit.

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