Made by distillery Domaine d’Aurensan, Le Carré des Fantômes is an innovative single-plot Armagnac produced with a blend of the brandy's six rarest grape varieties
Although ten grape varieties are authorised for the production of AOC Armagnac, de facto only four are commonly used: Ugni Blanc, Baco, Folle Blanche and Colombard. The remaining six (Plant de Graisse, Mauzac Blanc, Meslier St François, Jurançon Blanc, Mauzac Rosé, Clairette de Gascogne), are instead rarely seen on bottles.
With the aim to to provide some diversity and more uniqueness to her distillates, Caroline Rozes of Domaine d’Aurensan decided to plant all ten authorised grapes in 2014 in the Tenarèze sub-region. In line with pre-phylloxera uses, all grapes were co-planted in the same plot.
Rozes then selected the blend of the six lesser-known varieties, or ‘phantom grapes/cépages fantômes’ as she dubbed them (hence the name of the new Armagnac, Le Carré des Fantômes). Once fermented, the liquid was distilled in Armagnac alambics (column stills) to 58% abv.
The Armagnac is described as having an expressive nose, while the palate is said to have a powerful attack yet full of freshness, showing fruity notes of pear, apricot and peach, plus honey and linden tree blossom.
Le Carré des Fantômes will be available soon to the UK on-trade through Les Caves de Pyrene.