Armagnac: Domaine de Danis

The Domaine de Danis is located in the north-west of the Gers department and features 35 hectares of vines. The family-owned estate, which has been passed on from generation to generation for more than four centuries, is producing both, wine and Armagnac, made mainly from Folle Blanche, but also Colombard.

danis86 (2)Danis 1986 (48%): Nose: A very fruity and floral bouquet that’s constantly switching back and forth between overripe, almost foul mango, tangerine and freshly cut flowers. Behind that some glue, wood, rubber and again the fruits. Really, really nice. If the palate is only half as good we are in for something special, my friends. Palate: A bit drier and a lot woodier than the nose. I am even inclined to say that this one has become a bit too woody – what a pity. The notes I have been looking for (mango, tangerine) are still there, but they are clearly only paying second fiddle to the cask here. It is not even extremely bitter, but it seems that a lot of its potential has been lost, unfortunately. Then butter, croissant, a whiff of herbs and something between walnut and pine cone perhaps. Maybe it didn’t come across as such but it is indeed a really good one, maybe just not close to how good it could have been if you know what I mean. Finish: Long with the croissant and wood. Now also minimally bitter and tannic notes as well as the walnuts again. The higher abv relative to many other Armagnacs helps tremendously, yet this one has been bottled a bit too late for my liking. It really had the chance to be something really special. As it is, it is only very good. (88/100)

danis86 (2)Danis 1982 38YO (43%): Nose: Very full with pasta, pastry and apples, followed by more exotic fruits that are about to start to rot, apple vinegar, coriander, oak and chamomile. It is not bad, but that vinegar-esque note slightly disturbs me… Palate: A bit of a miss for me. A rather weird and acidic texture meets the apple vinegar, rather bad cider, and equally bad Cabernet Sauvignon, quite some wood (different woods actually, also virgin oak), chamomile again and chanterelles, where you aren’t quite sure if you can still eat them or not. This is night and day relative to the excellent 1986 vintage. Finish: Relatively short, slightly bitter but without any of those lovely nutty notes. Instead we get vinegar, foul grapes and bad apples. I understand that this review sounds extremely negative but the Armagnac actually isn’t. It is clearly not one I enjoy, but it is still not a terrible product nevertheless. (70/100)

danis86 (2)Danis 1980 39YO (47,5%): Nose: Very full and fat with pears, apples, apple pie, leather, minimally musty notes, wet grass, stale red wine and must, sour cherries and a certain, every so slightly pungent, acidic note. It is not incredibly complex and neither as good as the 1986 nor as mediocre as the 1982. How about the palate then!? Palate: I am sensing that this is straightforward Danis at this point. We get apples in different forms and processings, the sour cherries, quite some oak, a whiff of walnut fats and oils, leather, medium old furniture (yeah, yeah…), plenty of spices (cinnamon, cloves etc.), cocoa and even a whiff of tar perhaps. Cool juice and I must say that the palate is much better than the nose. Finish: Relatively long with wood, cocoa, coffee, a hint of brine and maybe even the tar again. Very good stuff that needs some time in the glass – interestingly for both, the nose and the palate. (84/100)

danis86 (2)Danis 1975 44YO (46%): Nose: Relatively light given its age. The wood is definitely present but is really supporting the profile instead of dominating it. We get a mix of spices, Herrencreme and Schwarzerwälder Kirsch cake (cream, chocolate and cherries, if that doesn’t ring a bell), shoe polish, pumpernickel (yeah, really a “German” Armagnac!) and orange peel. Very nice! Palate: The oak is a lot more dominant than it was in the nose and I must say that it is already a step beyond the borderline of the golden rule. Then chocolate, the cake from the Blackforest, old walnuts and their oils, tannins and other related bitter notes, more wood in the form of freshly cut and rotting branches, cardboard and over-extracted coffee. It’s a very nice Armagnac, but sadly we’ve lost a bit too much of the distillate’s base character, which I think was probably excellent. Finish: Long and (too) bitter with lots of wood, walnut bitters, cocoa and spices from the cask. All in all, it is a very nice profile that has already had the best of times. Sometimes it is better to retire early. (86/100)