Armagnac is the ideal spirit to sip while sitting next to a roaring fire, curled up with a book or lazying about on a rainy day. This type of brandy is the oldest distilled in France and is produced in the Armagnac region of Gascony.
It can be made from 10 different white grapes, though four are the most common: ugni blanc, baco blanc, folle blanche and colombard. It's distilled once (unlike cognac, which is distilled twice) in column stills, then aged in oak barrels.
Armagnac is labeled by vintage depending on the youngest wine in the blend: VS for at least two years, VSOP for at least five years, XO for at least six years and Hors d'Age for at least 10 years.

It's great to sip neat in a snifter and also makes a good addition to fruit-forward cocktails.

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Check out acclaimed author Max Watman’s guide to France’s other grape brandy, Armagnac.

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