On the Trail

DOMAINE DE CHARRON

You would never expect this tiny house, just off the main road in the town of Perquie, to be full of aging spirit. It's the chai of Claude Lartigue, the owner of Domaine de Charron, who is a rather new producer in the region. Claude is a relative of the Darroze family who started out by selling a few barrels here and there. Eventually he bought 12 hectares of baco from another family and began distilling four to six barrels of brandy per year. He's a bit unique, however, in that he only uses new oak and he doesn't touch the spirit once he's filled each cask. Basically, he makes brandy like Americans make Bourbon. 

The difference in style is clear right when you look at his bottles. The brandy is dark and rich in color, just like you would expect a Bourbon to be. We tasted his 2004 vintage first and I looked right at David and said, "Stagg Jr." It's a big, spicy behemoth of a brandy. The Zebra on the label is an homage to Claude's favorite local rugby team, whose uniform consists of a black and white striped polo shirt. We might do a few of these vintages for all you high-proof-loving American whiskey drinkers. This Armagnac is right up your alley.