On the Trail

DOMAINE DU CARDINAT

Domaine du Cardinat is one of those hidden little gems run by some of the sweetest people in Gascogne. They know they have something special, but aren’t necessarily entrenched business members of the industry and they definitely aren't aware of K&L, our brandy consumers, or what the niche market wants. Not that they’re provincial in anyway, they’re quite cosmopolitan, but their story is unusual in that this younger generation has taken over the branding, rather than simply sell all the production to one of the larger blending houses like so many of their neighbors have. The Domaine dates back to the late 19th century when Joseph Lalanne farmed the land and built the family home which stills stands today. In 1935, his sudden death thrust his young son Camille into the patriarchal role. Just four years later at then tender age of nineteen, on the eve of World War II, Camille planted his first vines.

In a time when the future was anything but certain Camille dove into this patient passion and devoted the rest of his life to the cultivation of Armagnac. He worked the land by himself for another seventy years before being joined by his daughter Patricia and her husband Malkeet. Patricia, who specialized in viticulture and oenology, had left the family domaine years earlier to pursue a career in marketing. Her savvy for business and willingness to learn was the first thing I noticed about her. Most Armagnac producers don’t necessarily ask what our customers want, they simply show us their wares, tell us their prices, talk about the vines, and the history of the domaine. Patricia, perhaps from her new relationship with the domaine, or maybe it’s simply her nature, was very interested in what I had to say about what K&L was looking for. She was interested to hear that we’d only bottle products at full strength with no additives. Her oenologist has recommended she add boise and sugar during blending to make the products more approachable. we said, “Absolutely not! We want the real deal, bottled the old way, straight from the cask.” 

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