Armagnac vines have been cultivated for over 700 years, since Roman times. The mosaics of the gallo-romane villa of Séviac near Montreal-du-Gers, stand to this day demonstrating the importance of the grape in everyday life.
Muslims brought stills to this part of the world during the conquest of Spain in the Middle Ages. In fact, Arab doctors still use them to distill perfumes and
essential oils. In France, the monks were the first to use eaux de vie for therapeutic purposes. Master Vital Dufour, an Eauze priest, described forty virtues of eaux de vie in his medical journals dating back to 1310. This date is symbolic as the birth of Armagnac as we know it today. Later the Dutch, who were recognised as great traders of wines and spirits, promoted Gascon wine and are known for mixing white wine with Armagnac so it travelled better.
In 1806, Napoleon blocked the export of Armagnac. Armagnac is stored in oak barrels allowing the marriage of the eaux de vies and tannins in oak, which produces an alcohol with refined, yet subtle flavors.
Armagnac, since those early days has grown immensely in popularity and today different vintages are sought for their different characteristics and flavors. Enjoy Armagnac after a meal or with ice as an aperitif. And, of course, you can do as we do in this part of the world, where we use the Armagnac in cooking and baking to enhance the flavor of certain dishes or cakes, to give them a little Gascon soul and a spot of our fiery temperament.