I had the chance to visit the Chateau Castarede, a 17th Century estate/castle in the Bas Armagnac region where they produce armagnac. Florence Castarède was our host for the day. She says they're the oldest armagnac brand, but so too does Dartigalongue.
They make three armagnac labels:
- Armagnac Castarède
- Château de Maniban
- Nismes Delclou
They grow the grapes for their products, primarily Ugni Blanc and Colombard grapes. The region has the sandy soils full of fossils and shells of the former ocean floor.
They have two stills; one gas-powered, one wood-fueled.
While we were there, the cellarmaster was doing the annual inspection of the barrels of aging armagnac, tasting each one and noting whether or not it needed to be aerated.
Our brief visit there involved mostly a tour around the castle and then lots of time in their newest barrel room, where we spent a long time drinking barrels from our birth years. The older I get, the harder that is to find.