Château Arton was founded by a passionate couple named Patrick de Montal and Victoire de Montesquiou who have, from the ground up, passionately built this brand from scratch. They left their life in Paris and planted their first vines in 1981. Now run by Jean and Lili de Montal, the Château Arton range of entirely estate-produced Armagnac comes from the rare and distinctive Haut-Armagnac appellation. They firmly believe that quality Armagnac is "grown, not produced." In 2017, Château Arton was awarded the highest honor in France – the Prix d’Excellence from the French Ministry of Agriculture. Over 22,000 products were considered, and Château Arton was recognized for producing the best brandy – not just Armagnac – in the entire country.
The Arton domaine is true terroir. Authentic. Abrupt. A spirited land of rocks and hillsides. A land of contrasts, at once both wild and mapped out. A land where the light, season after season, pulsates the ochre soils and the warm stones of the charterhouses.
|Patrick de Montal and Victoire de Montesquiou
|Patrick de Montal and Fabrice Saramon
(SUSTAINABLE, ORGANIC, BIODYNAMIC)
Patrick de Montal, vigneron of the Arton estate, understood its potential for producing exceptional wines and Armagnacs. He planted the first vines on the domain in 1981, reviving the winemaking tradition in the area, subsequently restoring the reputation of the Haut Armagnac designation and exalting Côtes de Gascogne wines.
ARTON, A LAND OF CHARACTER IN THE HAUT ARMAGNAC
Situated on the Lectoure plateau in the heart of Gascony, the vineyard of Domaine Arton stretches over 88 hectares, 35 of them planted with vines. It enjoys excellent natural conditions auspicious to the production of both wine and Armagnac of excellent quality.
The clay-limestone soils — rich, fertile, and filtering — are crossed by subterranean streams to which the roots of our vines stretch to meet. This fervent extension of roots is reflected in the vivacity of the wine, a mirror effect where the grace of our wines and of Armagnacs originates.
The humidity from the ocean, the Mediterannean warmth carried by the eastern winds and the continental influences create mild, wet winters and hot, often stormy, summers, where the wide differences between day and night temperatures benefit the aromatic potential of the grape.
The fertile earth is characteristic of Haut Armagnac, one of the three sub-regions in the AOC designation that can produce Armagnac.
Armagnac. An historical wine-making territory, it is the birthplace of the eau de vie that carries its name, the crown jewel of Gascon gastronomy. We call our region “Haut Armagnac” because it overlooks the rest of Gascony, a landscape of steep hills butting up against the Pyrenees mountains on one side and the Garonne river on the other. We call this region “Armagnac Blanc” because of its hillsides, which reflect the light off of limestone peyrusquets, or rocky layers of soil. We call it undiscovered because its vineyard, devastated by the phylloxera epidemic at the end of the 19th century, has been minimally replanted. Patrick de Montal was the first to reintroduce the grapevines to the Lectoure plateau, thus restoring the thread of history.
THE ART OF PLANTING IS TO BE ABLE TO TELL WHAT IS BEST FOR THE SOIL
In addition to the natural heritage of the Arton domaine, it features an original collection of grapes: 8 varieties (Ugni Blanc, Colombard, Gros Manseng, Petit Manseng, Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon) divided among the 19 plots around the house, like many small vineyards, each with its own specific identity. Because here, it is Nature who speaks. Paying homage to the earth is to respect its diversity, that of the soil where the heterogeneity plays with the aromas of the wines and Armagnacs, that of the exposition of the sun and the wind, essential for pollination and the gift of the grape and that of the varieties that give richness and complexity to our blends.
The Arton vineyard is designed like a tapestry, a detailed combination of vines that give the wine grown on each plot a particular typicity. Nothing is left to chance. Each variety is planted on the plot that suits it best and each plot benefits from an oversight adapted to its specific needs. It is one of the secrets of our excellence.
The diversity of the plots is a daring approach that gives personality to our wines and Armagnacs. Subtly blended, our different varieties give a unique character to the final product. It is the signature of Arton and the insurance, year after year, of a consistency in taste that distinguishes us.
Domaine d’Arton raises Armagnac to the rank of the best French brandy. It challenges the codes to make this spirit part of the wine culture and reveal the aromatic power of Haut-Armagnac. Because Armagnac is not a brandy. It retains the living character of the wine, the signature of the grape variety and of the year. Expert in Unique Pieces, Château Arton produces vintages that bring out the Gascon brandy from its entrenchments and reveal the exceptional terroir of Haut-Armagnac AOC.
Maître tonnelier Gilles Bartholomo
Gilles Bartholomo is a craftsman with golden hands. He is the last of the master coopers in the region, located in Frêche, in the Landes. He constructs his barrels entirely by hand from Gascon black oak, according to ancestral know-how. These are the same barrels used to age our Armagnacs as well as our wines La Croix Reserve and Victoire. The quality of these pieces is essential in producing an exceptional Armagnac. The choice of wood is crucial, as it gives the eau de vie its signature color and enriches its aromas. The nobility of oak is essential. It is chosen, cut, prepared, adjusted, then dried naturally outside for 2 to 3 years. The wooden staves, each carrying the date that they were stacked, are placed on top of each other in such a way that air can still circulate. In this way they are weathered by the wind, rain and sun, thereby reducing the intensity of the tannins present in the wood–a crucial step in the shaping of the wood’s personality.
The slats are then selected one by one and assembled by hand into a 420 liter barrel. Only four metal hoops hold the staves together. Then the barrel is rolled over an open flame (medium toast); the warmed oak acquires a taste and a color that will transform the Armagnac. At each end a groove is cut into the wood to allow the barrel heads to fit, secured by a natural glue made of flour and water, to seal the barrel. And that is the magic of hand craftsmanship!
Devoted to perfection, Gilles Bartholomo has established himself as the partner that Arton needed. A perfect match.