Domaine D'Ognoas 1976 Bas-Armagnac
Domaine D'Ognoas 1976 Bas-Armagnac Distilled: 1976. Bottled: 2012. Aged in oak barrels for 36 years.
From its deep amber color come forthright aromas of dried plums, dried apricot, toffee and wood spice. The palate is soft, with additional notes of vanilla, hay and oak. The long finish hangs on the palate for several minutes. D&M Tasting Notes
The history of the Domaine d’Ognoas dates to the 12th century and its construction for a local Viscount. After the marriage of viscountess Mathe de Mastas and Gaston VII Moncade, it became part of Béarn viscounty in 1607. In 1770, Etienne Lormand purchased the Ognoas seigneury. In 1775 his son extended the domain after purchasing the Tampouy seigneury. In 1847, the latest member of the Lormand family, without an heir, donated the property to the Church. The Aire-sur-Adour diocese owned the domaine until 1905 when the episcopal properties were transferred to the local government.
Since then, the 565 hectare (1,400 acre) estate has been under the responsibility of the Conseil Général des Landes used to showplace Terroir Landais. Its main purpose is to operate as a training ground for future farmers, a type of agricultural college for those wanting to learn about local crops like corn, sunflowers, soy beans and, of course, grapes. The students take classes and get practical, hands-on experience that they will later apply to their own farms in the department. Its main buildings and cellars have been renovated and are also open to public.
Located in Arthez d’Armagnac, this is prime real-estate for the production of Armagnac, whose tawny-colored sand is littered with small limestone chunks. Like the nearby towns Hontanx, Le Freche and Perquie, the distillates from the grapes are broad and fine, with a suppleness rarely found in other Armagnac regions. The vines are planted along a sunny plateau near where the Midou River flows. The estate was once planed with just Bacco 22-A, but was augmented by Ugni Blanc in the 80s and Folle Blanche in the 90s.
The estate has the oldest distillery in Gascony, which dates to 1830. Records show that in 1841, 43 new copper plates were bought and formed to improve the still. In the second half of the nineteenth century, the Ognoas distillery was improved with Sier technology—plates that included spider’s feet that force the outgoing spirit into contact with the wine to enrich it aromatically. Each year, approximately 800 hectoliters of wine are distilled, supplying 150 hectoliters of armagnac which ages for at least 10 years and as long as 40 years in the oak barrels from the estate.
From the 1976 vintage: Some of you might remember the bicentennial celebrations in our country that year, or Jimmy Carter being elected president, the Big Red machine winning its second consecutive World Series, Bruce Jenner setting decathlon records at the summer Olympics in Montreal, or Rocky playing at the movie theaters. Yes, 37 years ago, this Armagnac, made predominantly with Bacco, was distilled from grapes picked during a year that saw a very sunny summer and an early harvest. This Armagnac was aged in 420 liter oak barrels and bottled at cask strength. Enjoy!