Our main features
- An exceptional terroir producing the finest eaux-de-vie;
- 25 hectares of vinyards;
- Three grape varieties: Baco, Folle-blanche and Colombard;
- Harvest, vinification, distillation and aging by grape variety;
- Natural wines and only first press wines;
- Distillation with a traditional Armagnac still heated with wood;
- Aging in traditional 420 l oak barrels;
- Use of 40 to 50% new barrels for each harvest;
- No addition of external products (wood, sugars, colorings, etc.);
- Bottling as sales come.
The Armagnac production
How to make a great Armagnac? You need an exceptional terroir, a vine in perfect health, a high quality, perfectly natural wine, a very gentle and very slow continuous still, perfectly made 420 liter pedunculate oak barrels, an aerated aging cellar, temperature and constant humidity, continuous attention and a lot of patience.
Château de Lacquy has all these qualities combined and it also benefits from more than three centuries of experience in the manufacture of Armagnac.
The vines were grouped on plots already planted with vines in the 18th century and chosen for the excellence of their soil and their good exposure. They are planted at 4,600 plants per hectare and cultivated in a sustainable manner without herbicides or insecticides, with very few inputs. The grape varieties chosen for Armagnac are perfectly adapted to the terroir:
- The Baco blanc which represents a third of the distilled wine, a hybrid created in 1898, very resistant to diseases which replaced the piquepoult (Folle-Blanche) destroyed by phyloxera at the end of the 19th century. It produces a powerful, fatty Armagnac, long in the mouth, aging admirably and retaining all its qualities with age. It is characterized by scents of prunes, violets, honey and spices, cocoa, fresh mint. Most of the estate's old Armagnacs come from this grape variety. When young, it makes Armagnacs very quickly, complex and aromatic.
- La Folle Blanche, an old piquepoult, which is very difficult to cultivate, represents a third of the distilled wine, re-established on the estate in 2002 in order to reconnect with the ancient tradition. This plant is very adapted to Lacquy soils. It produces Armagnacs of great finesse, floral, long in the mouth with hints of candied citrus fruits and cocoa.
- Colombard represents a third of the distilled wine, planted in the 60s, produces fruity Armagnacs, powerful but round, with scents of candied fruits and flowers, but quite lively and requiring aging.
- Ugni Blanc which was planted in abundance after its introduction at the end of the 19th century. It is a plan of Italian origin (Trebbiano), very robust, a large producer of low-proof wine and therefore considered the distillation grape variety par excellence. It produces very lively but not very aromatic Armagnacs. Unlike the rest of the appellation where it represents 60% of the surface area, this grape variety has no longer been distilled at Château de Lacquy since 2007, because the estate considered that it was less qualitative on its soils. It is still found in small quantities in old blends and vintages from the estate.
Château de Lacquy therefore stands out from the rest of the appellation by the distribution of its grape varieties.
To make a great Armagnac you need a perfectly natural and healthy wine, with a low alcohol content and high natural acidity: it is not strictly speaking a “good” wine but it will give an exceptional Armagnac.
The harvest and vinification are carried out by grape variety with perfect traceability of the plots in small capacity vats. The temperatures of the fermenting wine are controlled so as not to exceed 20°C. Only the first juices are intended for distillation, the press wines being eliminated. During fermentation all of the sugars are transformed into alcohol and as soon as vinification is completed, the wine is cooled and rests to allow the heaviest lees to settle. It is a completely natural fermentation. Wines rarely exceed 9% alcohol. Once the lees have been drawn off, the wine which has not received any oenological product and contains fine lees in suspension, is kept at a temperature of 15°C until its distillation.
At Château de Lacquy, distillation is done by grape variety and each grape variety thus expresses its own characteristics.
Distillation takes place immediately after vinification (October-November) with a still built in 1939, owned by the estate, made up of 3 tonnes of copper and 90 meters of coil. It is a continuously heated still perfectly suited to the manufacture of Armagnac, heated with wood and very slow (2 to 3 420 liter barrels per day). It has a column of five trays in which the rising alcohol vapors “bubble” in the descending wines, thanks to a very ingenious system of condensers in the shape of spider legs which allow the purification of volatile ethers.
When it leaves the still, the Armagnac has an alcohol content of 52% to 54%: it is a white and transparent eau-de-vie, very round, very fragrant, close to the fruit and without any aggressiveness, which flows directly into a 420 liter oak barrel which will be transported to the aging cellar.
At Château de Lacquy, aging is done by grape variety, exclusively in 400/420 liter pedunculate oak barrels placed in the cellar.
When it leaves the still, the Armagnac is white. It is introduced directly from the still into a pedunculate oak barrel of local origin or from Limousin (quercus robur) with a capacity of 400 to 420 liters where it will age. The pedunculate oak differs from its cousin, the sessile oak (quercus petraea), by its less dense wood and more suited to the aging of Armagnac eaux-de-vie.
Around 50% of the year's barrels are new. These pieces are handmade very traditionally by a local cooper (Bartholomo in Frèche) with a mix of strong, medium and weak workings. At the same time as it evaporates (this is what we call the "angels' share"), the Armagnac becomes colored, softens, lowers its alcohol content, evacuates its most volatile ethers. Little by little, as it ages, it acquires its velvety texture and as time passes, the aromas that make up its character blossom. Each barrel evolves differently over time and is monitored, regularly checked for its color and alcohol level. The Armagnacs are tasted and aerated, changed barrels according to the decisions of the cellar master.
The angels' share represents around 4% the first year, then 3% per year for a few years, to stabilize at 2% beyond 20 years. The alcohol level drops quickly from 53% in the first year to 48% after 5 to 8 years, then to 46% at 15-20 years. In the Château de Lacquy cellar, the oldest Armagnacs in barrel generally settle down to 43%.
The quality of the cellar is one of the key elements for the good aging of Armagnac. The floor of the Château de Lacquy cellar is made of clay, which eliminates condensation and regulates humidity. The cellar is ventilated, the temperature varies slowly, the humidity is high, these factors being essential to promote good aging.
The stock inventory is kept on computer, by vintage and by grape variety. The stock represents approximately 35 years of annual sales (for the entire Armagnac region this figure is approximately 7 years).
Blending and bottling
The blending of Armagnacs is the final and determining phase of the long process of producing Armagnac.
The barrels are first tasted then chosen based on the intrinsic qualities of the Armagnacs they contain.
The chosen Armagnacs are then mixed in a first vat and stirred, then aerated and left to rest in 4000 liter tuns for several months. They are then put back into damped 420 liter barrels where they remain until they are bottled, which is carried out as sales progress.
The exceptional quality of the estate's Armagnacs and their aging makes it possible to prohibit any addition of sugar, caramel, wood or other substances unfortunately authorized by the Appellation Decree. Each vintage offers an extremely wide range of different Armagnacs: different grape varieties, damped barrels, new barrels, strong, medium or low toasting, give complex aromas of flowers, red or white fruits, apricots, mango or citrus fruits, spices, pepper, cocoa, vanilla, tobacco, crème brulée, toast, chocolate, hazelnuts…
The blending of these different Armagnacs together produces a unique and exceptional finished product. For a vintage, we choose several barrels from the same year of different grape varieties, sometimes of a single grape variety, and for an Age Blend, we generally choose barrels from 5 different years, and of different grape varieties.
Sometimes a barrel can be so balanced that it deserves to be kept intact: these are our rare Unique Barrels.
The range of Bas-Armagnacs from Château de Lacquy is made up of vintages chosen each year and which change from one year to the next, blends of ages which are constant qualities over time, unique barrels numbered and in limited quantity and the Siècles carafe.
Château de Lacquy armagnacs do not contain any coloring, sugar, caramel or wood and are therefore perfectly natural products.
All our Armagnacs are presented in 50cl, 70cl, 150cl (magnum) and 250 cl (pot) bottles, as well as in glass carafes.
Château de Lacquy also produces a liqueur wine, based on Gros-Manseing juice mutated with Baco Armagnac that has been in barrel for a few years.
Due to the absence of any additions in the Château de Lacquy Armagnacs, the vintages are all different from each other. It therefore seemed important to create blends from several years in order to offer a range of consistent quality. The benefit of a well-made blend is to ensure consistency of taste and continuity of quality over time while expressing the qualities of the Lacquy terroir.
The Château de Lacquy blends (3 years, 7 years, 12 years, 17 years, 21 years, 30 years) are made up of Armagnacs from 5 different years and different grape varieties, selected for their specific qualities (aromas, length in the mouth , color, etc.) assembled in a 4000 liter oak barrel, stirred and aerated, and then returned after a few months to dampened 420 liter barrels. With the exception of the 30 year old which is cask strength, these blends are slowly and slightly reduced in the cask by adding small amounts of water (max 9% to go from 48° to 43° for the 3 year old and the 7 year old) then by aeration. The age indicated is that of the youngest vintage used in the blend.
Vintages are Armagnacs from the same year from different barrels and grape varieties, or sometimes from a single grape variety, blended to express the best of that year at the time of bottling. Vintages express the characteristics of the wine harvest year: they are all different from each other and evolve at their own pace. Some will take several years to open, others will become exceptional very quickly. They therefore require constant monitoring and attention. In addition to the characteristics of the year, there are differences in grape varieties and differences in barrels (damped, new, high, medium or low barreling), which lead to an infinite number of aroma possibilities.
The vintages are assembled and bottled each year according to sales and therefore continue to age and evolve in barrel: a vintage bottled in 2010 will be 7 years younger than the same vintage bottled in 2017. This is the reason why, the year of bottling is indicated on the back labels. Beyond 30 years they are generally put in glass bottles kept in a special cellar called Le Paradis.
The vintages are bottled at their natural alcoholic strength without reduction, which is called “brut de cask”. They do not undergo any addition of external products, woody, caramel, sugar, coloring, authorized by the rules of the appellation but which serve to hide the defects of bad Armagnacs.
The Armagnacs of Château de Lacquy are not standardized by these additions. Each vintage of Château de Lacquy is thus unique and provides the enthusiast with an inexhaustible source of pleasure in comparing the different vintages with each other.
OUR UNIQUE BARRELS
Some barrels are of such quality that it is decided to keep them without blending, to age them and bottle them. These are rare Unique Barrels, from a single vintage, often from a single grape variety, sometimes each grape variety is the subject of a special emphasis. A special label then indicates the barrel number and the number of bottles produced which cannot exceed 550 to 600 bottles since the barrel contains 420 liters.
CARAFE OF THE CENTURIES
This assembly of forgotten barrels was made in 2011 to commemorate the 300 years of the acquisition of the estate.
You have to have time ahead of you and behind you to produce Armagnac, to assemble what past generations have left and allow what future generations will taste to age.
The quintessence of this long work is housed in the Carafe des Siècles, engraved with the family monogram, and whose case is a box of raw pedunculate oak from the forests of Aquitaine. It is this same oak which is used to make the barrels in which the estate's Armagnacs are aged.
This unique blend of Armagnacs distilled between 1800 and 1980 is characterized by its great finesse and voluptuousness on the palate. Without aggressiveness, it exudes aromas of great complexity with floral notes, with hints of spices, vanilla, cocoa and candied fruits. Its length in the mouth is exceptional, leaving lingering aromas of incredible power on the palate at the same time as delicate sweetness.