Armagnac: Château de Léberon

All of these products are cask strength and neither sweetened nor coloured. Just what we are looking for. They also claim to be made to 65% from Ugni-Blanc and to 35% from Colombard. We are still noobies in this field, but these two grapes seem to produce our least favorite Armagnacs. Just saying – even though we are still exploring. For more background information on the Domaine (which is actually quite interesting), click here.

Château de Léberon 1992 27YO (43,8%): As we’ve said above, this should be good on paper, no matter if these are our favorite grape varieties or not. Nose: Relatively unspectacular at first and it does take some time for the Yak to open up. My first impressions are leather, Rum-soaked raisins, oak, dried apricot and mild nuts perhaps. Later also more rancid and buttery notes, curdled milk and wet cardboard. It’s not bad at all and when reading these notes, it sounds like a product I should really enjoy, but at the same time it doesn’t have a lot going for itself – it is hard to explain. Palate: A bit too thin, too woody and too bitter for my liking. There’s no balance between the influence of the barrel and the profile of the distillate and most of the notes from the nose are just lost, unfortunately. Instead we get stale black tea that has been infused for too long, walnuts that aren’t really palatable anymore, chestnuts, wood and later again that leathery note. It is really unfortunate, to use the word again. Finish: Long and bitter with many of the same notes as we have found at the palate. Nope, that hasn’t been made for me, even though the nose showed many glimpses of hope. But then again, this might simply be our perspective – that of a Rum lover! So who are we to judge. (69/100)

Château de Léberon 1988 30YO (44,9%): After the 1992, I am almost afraid that things will only get worse with the older bottlings but let’s see first. Nose: We get roasted chestnut, caramalized almonds with a pinch of salt, oak, pomace, a whiff of vinerous notes (clearly…), multi-grain bread, chocolate and roasted coffee. At least in the nose, this is easily the best of today’s bunch. Palate: Not as interesting as the nose anymore, something that seems to be a common feature for the domaine’s bottlings. Despite being full proof, it is too thin for my liking, i.e. not creamy enough, and without those intense roasting flavours from the nose. Definitely not as good as we feel it should and maybe even could have been. Instead, we get the bread again, paired with leather, some dried fruits and dry red wine. It’s fine, but nothing that would ever stand out in a larger tasting round I think. Finish: Medium long with wood, spices and juniper berries. All in all, this is the highlight in a very “low-light” tasting session but please keep in mind that we can only define greatness by experiencing the average and subpar as well. Now this this particular bottling is very average if you ask me and I feel that I have to remind some of you that average is not the same thing as bad! (74/100)

Château de Léberon 1987 31YO (49,9%): Nose: This one is really different from the other two expressions, as the nose is slightly acidic and sour with notes of vinegar, sour (white) grape juice, apple cider, citrus and grilled fish. Clearly our least favorite nose and in general one that just doesn’t feel right if you ask me. Palate: A lot better and closer wine (than to vinegar or what is that?). We still get slightly acidic notes but here they aren’t really problematic anymore. Instead, herbs such as thyme or oregano, lemon and the grilled fish (Dorade!?) again make an appearances. We might add that the Dorade has been carefully filled with apples and ginger perhaps. A strange combination. Finish: Rather short with apples, cider, apple vinegar and grapefruit. Actually, this is probably a solid product, just not the type of Armagnac we seem to enjoy. That nose was quite bad, the palate is solid, essentially the reverse of the previous two Léberons. All in all it is not a Yak I would recommend, however. (68/100)

The featured image comes from Château de Léberon.