It's no longer just Pellehaut for Armagnac from the Tenereze. We're now working directly with Ladeveze out of Chateau Boubee. This father and son estate is actually located in the town of Montreal, just outside the main center, which is where we stay each year when we visit the region. Jean and his son Alexander are doing some very interesting things at Ladeveze, including higher warehouse maturation (evaporating more water to increase the proof of the spirit) and the planting of ultra-rare grape varietals for distillation. For example, they have a 1998 vintage made entirely from Plant de Graisse (apparently allowed by ancient appellation doctrine).
We were stunned by the quality of the Armagnac at Ladeveze, so much so that we tasted through just about everything they had available. They're much more interested in cask strength brandy than any other producer we visited, which is right up our alley. The spirits had character, a certain liveliness, and lots of gusto. Whereas the Pellehaut brandies are soft and graceful, the Ladeveze brandies have punch and power. The only thing I'm currently worried about is the price. Judging from the tags in their gift shop they may be asking a lot for their selections (which makes sense because they're fantastic). The question we have to ask ourselves is: do our customers care enough about artisinal Armagnac to pay a little extra?