CALIFORNIA
HAWAII
DOMAINE D'ESPERANCE
MAUVEZIN-D'ARMAGNAC, FRANCE

In 1990, Claire de Montesquiou returned to her family tradition of Armagnac distilla­tion, one that began in 900 AD, but had stalled in the 1960s with a sale to Pernod Ricard. She and her husband purchased the small Domaine d' Esperance estate, located on a hillside of Gascony's renowned Bas-Armagnac area. Of the 30 hectares of vines, about 8 are dedicated to making Armagnac - growing Baco 22 A and Folle Blanche. The rest is used to produce table wine, which supports the business as their Armagnac ages. 

The estate uses two small stills. The first is over a hundred years old, the second belongs to a traveling-distiller, Pierre Michalovsky, who lends the estate his still. Distillation is slow - about 4 casks of 420 liters every 24 hours. The estate distills for only about a week per year, due to its size. Baco 22 A and Folle Blanche are distilled and aged separately. When the Armagnac needs to be proofed down, distilled water is added little by little, at least 6 month before bottling. 

The family uses local Gascon Oak casks, toasted to a "medium" level and produced about 15km from the estate, by one of the last independent coopers in the area. The estate uses two cellars - one dating back to the 17th century and a second, more modem cellar built in 2003, which hold about 240 casks.

COUNTRY France
REGION Gascogne
APPELLATION(S) Armagnac , Haut-Armagnac
PROPRIETORS Jean-Louis and Claire de Montesquiou
FOUNDED 1990
WINEMAKER Claire de Montesquiou
ANNUAL PRODUCTION
FARMING
(SUSTAINABLE, ORGANIC, BIODYNAMIC)
Sustainable