A bit of trivia about Château de Pellehaut is that they used to produce entirely from ugni blanc grapes until 1996, but turned entirely to folle-blanche in 1997. This particular armagnac represents the brief transitional period while they were using both, but keeping the wines and distillates separate.
This brandy was distilled in 1996 from folle-blanche grapes, filled into new oak casks, then bottled in 2013 at 50.4% without coloring or chill filtration for K&L Wines.
Thanks to Florin for this sample.
Chateau de Pellehaut 17 Year 1996/2013 Folle-Blanche
Nose: slightly sharp oak comes first with richer grape notes in the background plus some vanilla bean ice cream. After adding a few drops of water it remains largely unchanged, but the vanilla is more prominent plus some pineapple/orange and cocoa notes come out
Taste: big oak and grape sweetness up front, a syrupy thickness around the middle, becomes more bitter/bittersweet with big oak and some creaminess towards the back. After dilution the sweetness is stronger up front, the oak turns into cedar in the middle, and the bitter turn at the back is more aggressive.
Finish: Fairly hot, balanced oak and grape, a little orange peel
This was kind of disappointing. I had read a lot of really positive reviews as this release helped cement Pellehaut's reputation in the U.S. Might just be that I sat on the sample for too long, but water at least got it closer to those expectations.
For a more favorable perspective, see MAO's review from the same bottle.
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