Château Laballe

Back-Vintage Armagnac, Straight from the Domaine (1970-2004)
Château Laballe

Lovers of fine French Brandy will be familiar with Laballe’s fabulous collection of Armagnacs. An artisanal alternative to its more famous, big brand-dominated neighbour Cognac, vintage-dated Armagnac provides a historical snapshot of a season, a grower and a region that has remained defiantly agricultural. Moreover, it’s an emotive and captivating mature spirit, as unique as it is rare. With the festive season imminent, it’s worth noting that it also offers a singular way to commemorate a special year—and remains well-priced compared to Whiskies or Cognacs of a similar age.

Today, we’re delighted to offer a selection of Laballe’s latest vintage Armagnac releases, shipped directly from their impressive cellar in Landes. Our listing includes some truly great Armagnac years—2001, 1985, 1981 and 1972, to name a few. All the vintage spirits listed today are at least 19 years of age and are at a stage of development when those rich and deeply evocative old Brandy characters—coveted by the cognoscenti—have begun to emerge. These are often summarised as rancio, varnish, chestnut, bonfire, or even likened to the umami notes of soy sauce.

In addition, for those eager to dip their toe into Armagnac, there are few better places to start than Laballe’s Resistance Baco bottling. A liquid commemoration of the Baco grape's historical significance in the region, it’s an inviting gateway to this fascinating world.

Though we have shipped some of the below vintages before, as the Laudet family seek to conserve their museum stocks, the older vintages are becoming increasingly difficult to source. With that in mind, we recommend securing your part of Armagnac history sooner rather than later.

Range Available

Château Laballe Bas Armagnac 1970
Bibendum Bar
Added

Château Laballe Bas Armagnac 1970

The great spirit of Gascony has been made in this part of south-west France for at least seven centuries, predating Cognac—which is made in the Charente Valley three hours to the north—by a century and a half. And yet, while the global appreciation of this rural spirit has long lagged behind its urbane (and well-marketed) cousin, Cyril Laudet and his wife Julie are here to ensure that Armagnac is no longer content to quietly sit by and play second fiddle.

Located at the edge of the great Landes forest (France’s largest) and Gers river, Château Laballe lies in the village Parleboscq, part of the Bas Armagnac terroir. Château Laballe’s founder, Jean-Dominique Laudet, purchased the Domaine back in 1820. After a career in the spice trade, Jean-Dominique’s dream was to settle down in the country and produce France’s oldest spirit. Today, Cyril and Julie are the 8th generation to continue the family tradition, and are determined to galvanise their ancient Estate, without sacrificing its enduring connection to the past. And they’re off to a flyer. 

100% Baco grape. In the glass, the 1970 is a bright amber colour, with gold flecks and  viscous tears. Powerful aromas of roasted coffee, cinnamon biscuits, tobacco and cocoa emanate forth, followed by a balanced, open and powerful palate rich in spice, toast and rancio notes. A harmonious and distinguished Armaganac is on offer here.

100% Baco grape. In the glass, the 1970 is a bright amber colour, with gold flecks and viscous tears. Powerful aromas of roasted coffee, cinnamon biscuits, tobacco and cocoa emanate forth, followed by a balanced, open and powerful palate rich in spice, toast and rancio notes. A harmonious and distinguished Armaganac is on offer here.

Château Laballe Bas Armagnac 1970
Bibendum Bar
Added
Château Laballe Bas Armagnac 1972
Bibendum Bar
Added

Château Laballe Bas Armagnac 1972

Great, aged Armagnac can convey a deep sense of place in a manner that is rare in the spirits world, and Laballe’s fabulous examples are loaded with personality, fine textures and flavours that echo across the palate. Distilled in the domaine’s 1923 wood-fired copper still, these Armagnacs then age in Chêne Noir Gascon—410-litre barrels made of oak from the nearby Landes forest—until they are bottled for sale. The extended maturation within this thick-grained oak imparts plenty of tannin and spice, giving Laballe’s vintage Armagnac its distinctive style., There is no addition of colour, and all the spirits are bottled brut de fût—unfiltered and at their natural alcohol level—often from a single barrel.

100% Baco grape. From a strong year for Armagnac in general, a mere drop of this ‘72 floods the palate with aromas and flavours of toast, vanilla, grapes, leather and roasted nuts. It’s wonderfully rounded (in the Laballe style) with excellent persistence and charming finesse. The finish is warming, lightly spiced and exceptionally long. If you know a spirit lover born in this year, don’t hesitate.

From a strong year for Armagnac in general, a mere drop of this ‘72 floods the palate with aromas and flavours of toast, vanilla, grapes, leather and roasted nuts. It’s wonderfully rounded (in the Laballe style) with excellent persistence and charming finesse. The finish is warming, lightly spiced and exceptionally long. If you know a spirit lover born in this year, don’t hesitate.

Château Laballe Bas Armagnac 1972
Bibendum Bar
Added
Château Laballe Bas Armagnac 1973
Bibendum Bar
Added

Château Laballe Bas Armagnac 1973

The great spirit of Gascony has been made in this part of south-west France for at least seven centuries, predating Cognac—which is made in the Charente Valley three hours to the north—by a century and a half. And yet, while the global appreciation of this rural spirit has long lagged behind its urbane (and well-marketed) cousin, Cyril Laudet and his wife Julie are here to ensure that Armagnac is no longer content to quietly sit by and play second fiddle.

Located at the edge of the great Landes forest (France’s largest) and Gers river, Château Laballe lies in the village Parleboscq, part of the Bas Armagnac terroir. Château Laballe’s founder, Jean-Dominique Laudet, purchased the Domaine back in 1820. After a career in the spice trade, Jean-Dominique’s dream was to settle down in the country and produce France’s oldest spirit. Today, Cyril and Julie are the 8th generation to continue the family tradition, and are determined to galvanise their ancient Estate, without sacrificing its enduring connection to the past. And they’re off to a flyer.

100% Baco grape. 1973 was a classic vintage with a pronounced fruity character. The nose is very delicate and fresh with aniseed notes and citrus fruit leading to a smooth and long palate with a similar profile and added notes of liquorice. Layers of spice bring great freshness and complexity to this medium-bodied Armagnac. 

1973 was a classic vintage with a pronounced fruity character. The nose is very delicate and fresh with aniseed notes and citrus fruit leading to a smooth and long palate with a similar profile and added notes of liquorice. Layers of spice bring great freshness and complexity to this medium-bodied Armagnac.

Château Laballe Bas Armagnac 1973
Bibendum Bar
Added
Château Laballe Bas Armagnac 1974
Bibendum Bar
Added

Château Laballe Bas Armagnac 1974

The great spirit of Gascony has been made in this part of south-west France for at least seven centuries, predating Cognac—which is made in the Charente Valley three hours to the north—by a century and a half. And yet, while the global appreciation of this rural spirit has long lagged behind its urbane (and well-marketed) cousin, Cyril Laudet and his wife Julie are here to ensure that Armagnac is no longer content to quietly sit by and play second fiddle.

Located at the edge of the great Landes forest (France’s largest) and Gers river, Château Laballe lies in the village Parleboscq, part of the Bas Armagnac terroir. Château Laballe’s founder, Jean-Dominique Laudet, purchased the Domaine back in 1820. After a career in the spice trade, Jean-Dominique’s dream was to settle down in the country and produce France’s oldest spirit. Today, Cyril and Julie are the 8th generation to continue the family tradition, and are determined to galvanise their ancient Estate, without sacrificing its enduring connection to the past. And they’re off to a flyer.

100% Baco grape. A rich amber hue with flecks of mahogany. Deep and powerful aromas of sweet golden citrus fruit and warm baking spice lead to a round and silken palate, touched by tannins and laden with citrus, spice, rich dried fruits and smoky and nutty complexity. The 1974 is a powerful and beguiling release.

A rich amber hue with flecks of mahogany. Deep and powerful aromas of sweet golden citrus fruit and warm baking spice lead to a round and silken palate, touched by tannins and laden with citrus, spice, rich dried fruits and smoky and nutty complexity. The 1974 is a powerful and beguiling release.

Château Laballe Bas Armagnac 1974
Bibendum Bar
Added
Château Laballe Bas Armagnac 1975
Bibendum Bar
Added

Château Laballe Bas Armagnac 1975

The great spirit of Gascony has been made in this part of south-west France for at least seven centuries, predating Cognac—which is made in the Charente Valley three hours to the north—by a century and a half. And yet, while the global appreciation of this rural spirit has long lagged behind its urbane (and well-marketed) cousin, Cyril Laudet and his wife Julie are here to ensure that Armagnac is no longer content to quietly sit by and play second fiddle.

Located at the edge of the great Landes forest (France’s largest) and Gers river, Château Laballe lies in the village Parleboscq, part of the Bas Armagnac terroir. Château Laballe’s founder, Jean-Dominique Laudet, purchased the Domaine back in 1820. After a career in the spice trade, Jean-Dominique’s dream was to settle down in the country and produce France’s oldest spirit. Today, Cyril and Julie are the 8th generation to continue the family tradition, and are determined to galvanise their ancient Estate, without sacrificing its enduring connection to the past. And they’re off to a flyer. 

100% Baco grape bottled in 2021 from Pièce N°3. The 1975 has a warm, deep and golden hue. Elegant and complex aromas and flavours of rich orange citrus, candied ginger and complex, deep spices surround a round and smooth spirit, brimming with elegance and refinement. The finish is warming and very long.

100% Baco grape bottled in 2021 from Pièce N°3. The 1975 has a warm, deep and golden hue. Elegant and complex aromas and flavours of rich orange citrus, candied ginger and complex, deep spices surround a round and smooth spirit, brimming with elegance and refinement. The finish is warming and very long.

Château Laballe Bas Armagnac 1975
Bibendum Bar
Added
Château Laballe Bas Armagnac 1981
Bibendum Bar
Added

Château Laballe Bas Armagnac 1981

The great spirit of Gascony has been made in this part of south-west France for at least seven centuries, predating Cognac—which is made in the Charente Valley three hours to the north—by a century and a half. And yet, while the global appreciation of this rural spirit has long lagged behind its urbane (and well-marketed) cousin, Cyril Laudet and his wife Julie are here to ensure that Armagnac is no longer content to quietly sit by and play second fiddle.

Located at the edge of the great Landes forest (France’s largest) and Gers river, Château Laballe lies in the village Parleboscq, part of the Bas Armagnac terroir. Château Laballe’s founder, Jean-Dominique Laudet, purchased the Domaine back in 1820. After a career in the spice trade, Jean-Dominique’s dream was to settle down in the country and produce France’s oldest spirit. Today, Cyril and Julie are the 8th generation to continue the family tradition, and are determined to galvanise their ancient Estate, without sacrificing its enduring connection to the past. And they’re off to a flyer.

100% Baco grape. 1981 was a powerful vintage, ‘on the fruit’ as they say in the region. It has an old gold colour and a discreet yet complex nose, leading to a palate that is very complex, generous and powerful—rugged yet fine. There are some sweet fruit notes but also a lovely freshness, a common feature of Laballe Armagnacs.

100% Baco grape. 1981 was a powerful vintage, ‘on the fruit’ as they say in the region. It has an old gold colour and a discreet yet complex nose, leading to a palate that is very complex, generous and powerful—rugged yet fine. There are some sweet fruit notes but also a lovely freshness, a common feature of Laballe Armagnacs.

Château Laballe Bas Armagnac 1981
Bibendum Bar
Added
Château Laballe Bas Armagnac 1982
Bibendum Bar
Added

Château Laballe Bas Armagnac 1982

Great, aged Armagnac can convey a deep sense of place in a manner that is rare in the spirits world, and Laballe’s fabulous examples are loaded with personality, fine textures and flavours that echo across the palate. Distilled in the domaine’s 1923 wood-fired copper still, these Armagnacs then age in Chêne Noir Gascon—410-litre barrels made of oak from the nearby Landes forest—until they are bottled for sale. The extended maturation within this thick-grained oak imparts plenty of tannin and spice, giving Laballe’s vintage Armagnac its distinctive style., There is no addition of colour, and all the spirits are bottled brut de fût—unfiltered and at their natural alcohol level—often from a single barrel.

100% Baco grape. Bottled in September 2021 from barrel ‘Dame Jeanne n°R4’, this was another great Armagnac vintage, where good yields resulted in a harvest with great acidity. Laballe’s ’82 offers delicacy and elegance. It opens with complex aromatics of Tokaji and apricot, with light peat and herbal notes. The palate is expansive and superbly refined, unfurling in layers of dried fruit, roasted nuts, citrus and vanilla cream tapering to a long finish with well-integrated tannins.

This was another great Armagnac vintage, where good yields resulted in a harvest with great acidity. Laballe’s ’82 offers delicacy and elegance. It opens with complex aromatics of Tokaji and apricot, with light peat and herbal notes. The palate is expansive and superbly refined, unfurling in layers of dried fruit, roasted nuts, citrus and vanilla cream tapering to a long finish with well-integrated tannins.

Château Laballe Bas Armagnac 1982
Bibendum Bar
Added
Château Laballe Bas Armagnac 1983
Bibendum Bar
Added

Château Laballe Bas Armagnac 1983

Great, aged Armagnac can convey a deep sense of place in a manner that is rare in the spirits world, and Laballe’s fabulous examples are loaded with personality, fine textures and flavours that echo across the palate. Distilled in the domaine’s 1923 wood-fired copper still, these Armagnacs then age in Chêne Noir Gascon—410-litre barrels made of oak from the nearby Landes forest—until they are bottled for sale. The extended maturation within this thick-grained oak imparts plenty of tannin and spice, giving Laballe’s vintage Armagnac its distinctive style., There is no addition of colour, and all the spirits are bottled brut de fût—unfiltered and at their natural alcohol level—often from a single barrel. 

100% Baco grape. A refined and elegant spirit, the 1983 holds a captivating bouquet, layered with spice, florals, honey and ripe fruits leading to a poised and balanced palate with fine structure and a polished, lengthy close. Spice, tobacco and rich fruits are laden throughout, making this a perfect finish to an evening of fine food, wine and company.

100% Baco grape. A refined and elegant spirit, the 1983 holds a captivating bouquet, layered with spice, florals, honey and ripe fruits leading to a poised and balanced palate with fine structure and a polished, lengthy close. Spice, tobacco and rich fruits are laden throughout, making this a perfect finish to an evening of fine food, wine and company.

Château Laballe Bas Armagnac 1983
Bibendum Bar
Added
Château Laballe Bas Armagnac 1985
Bibendum Bar
Added

Château Laballe Bas Armagnac 1985

The great spirit of Gascony has been made in this part of south-west France for at least seven centuries, predating Cognac—which is made in the Charente Valley three hours to the north—by a century and a half. And yet, while the global appreciation of this rural spirit has long lagged behind its urbane (and well-marketed) cousin, Cyril Laudet and his wife Julie are here to ensure that Armagnac is no longer content to quietly sit by and play second fiddle.

Located at the edge of the great Landes forest (France’s largest) and Gers river, Château Laballe lies in the village Parleboscq, part of the Bas Armagnac terroir. Château Laballe’s founder, Jean-Dominique Laudet, purchased the Domaine back in 1820. After a career in the spice trade, Jean-Dominique’s dream was to settle down in the country and produce France’s oldest spirit. Today, Cyril and Julie are the 8th generation to continue the family tradition, and are determined to galvanise their ancient Estate, without sacrificing its enduring connection to the past. And they’re off to a flyer.

100% Baco grape. One of the strongest vintages of terroir expression, this has a bright gold colour with fiery light and viscous tears. A rich and opulent nose features toasted sourdough, cinnamon and prune notes, then leads to an equally rich and generous palate finishing with spices galore. Great balance despite the generosity on offer.

One of the strongest vintages of terroir expression, this has a bright gold colour with fiery light and viscous tears. A rich and opulent nose features toasted sourdough, cinnamon and prune notes, then leads to an equally rich and generous palate finishing with spices galore. Great balance despite the generosity on offer.

Château Laballe Bas Armagnac 1985
Bibendum Bar
Added
Château Laballe Bas Armagnac 1991
Bibendum Bar
Added

Château Laballe Bas Armagnac 1991

Great, aged Armagnac can convey a deep sense of place in a manner that is rare in the spirits world, and Laballe’s fabulous examples are loaded with personality, fine textures and flavours that echo across the palate. Distilled in the domaine’s 1923 wood-fired copper still, these Armagnacs then age in Chêne Noir Gascon—410-litre barrels made of oak from the nearby Landes forest—until they are bottled for sale. The extended maturation within this thick-grained oak imparts plenty of tannin and spice, giving Laballe’s vintage Armagnac its distinctive style., There is no addition of colour, and all the spirits are bottled brut de fût—unfiltered and at their natural alcohol level—often from a single barrel.

100% Baco grape. The colour is very clear with a lovely brightness. The nose is powerful, very lifted and complex with aromas of fresh cut grass, some hints of menthol, vanilla, coconut and passionfruit (almost reminding of a young, quality Rum). The palate is impressively round with malt and orange rind hints, well-integrated alcohol and a long, spicy, herbaceous close.

100% Baco grape. The colour is very clear with a lovely brightness. The nose is powerful, very lifted and complex with aromas of fresh cut grass, some hints of menthol, vanilla, coconut and passionfruit (almost reminding of a young, quality Rum). The palate is impressively round with malt and orange rind hints, well-integrated alcohol and a long, spicy, herbaceous close.

Château Laballe Bas Armagnac 1991
Bibendum Bar
Added
Château Laballe Bas Armagnac 1997
Bibendum Bar
Added

Château Laballe Bas Armagnac 1997

Great, aged Armagnac can convey a deep sense of place in a manner that is rare in the spirits world, and Laballe’s fabulous examples are loaded with personality, fine textures and flavours that echo across the palate. Distilled in the domaine’s 1923 wood-fired copper still, these Armagnacs then age in Chêne Noir Gascon—410-litre barrels made of oak from the nearby Landes forest—until they are bottled for sale. The extended maturation within this thick-grained oak imparts plenty of tannin and spice, giving Laballe’s vintage Armagnac its distinctive style., There is no addition of colour, and all the spirits are bottled brut de fût—unfiltered and at their natural alcohol level—often from a single barrel. 

100% Ugni Blanc bottled from Pièce n°A1-12. The colour is bright and clear with a deep golden hue. Powerful aromas of white florals, candied citrus and sweet coconut lead to a palate of charming presence, length and persistence. A touch of exotic fruits is balanced by mineral delicacy and a vibrant, saline-flecked close.

100% Ugni Blanc bottled from Pièce n°A1-12. The colour is bright and clear with a deep golden hue. Powerful aromas of white florals, candied citrus and sweet coconut lead to a palate of charming presence, length and persistence. A touch of exotic fruits is balanced by mineral delicacy and a vibrant, saline-flecked close.

Château Laballe Bas Armagnac 1997
Bibendum Bar
Added
Château Laballe Bas Armagnac 2001
Bibendum Bar
Added

Château Laballe Bas Armagnac 2001

Great, aged Armagnac can convey a deep sense of place in a manner that is rare in the spirits world, and Laballe’s fabulous examples are loaded with personality, fine textures and flavours that echo across the palate. Distilled in the domaine’s 1923 wood-fired copper still, these Armagnacs then age in Chêne Noir Gascon—410-litre barrels made of oak from the nearby Landes forest—until they are bottled for sale. The extended maturation within this thick-grained oak imparts plenty of tannin and spice, giving Laballe’s vintage Armagnac its distinctive style., There is no addition of colour, and all the spirits are bottled brut de fût—unfiltered and at their natural alcohol level—often from a single barrel. 

100% Ugni Blanc. A powerful and richly expressive vintage in the fruity realm. The nose reveals aromas of orange blossom, pineapple and fresh lychee intertwined with cloves, chilli and tobacco. A bold and broad entry carries flavours of almond and hazelnut before turning more toward leather and spice, then honey and warm patisserie. The long, velvety palate closes with lingering notes of orange, lychee and gingerbread.

100% Ugni Blanc. A powerful and richly expressive vintage in the fruity realm. The nose reveals aromas of orange blossom, pineapple and fresh lychee intertwined with cloves, chilli and tobacco. A bold and broad entry carries flavours of almond and hazelnut before turning more toward leather and spice, then honey and warm patisserie. The long, velvety palate closes with lingering notes of orange, lychee and gingerbread.

Château Laballe Bas Armagnac 2001
Bibendum Bar
Added
Château Laballe Bas Armagnac 2004
Bibendum Bar
Added

Château Laballe Bas Armagnac 2004

Great, aged Armagnac can convey a deep sense of place in a manner that is rare in the spirits world, and Laballe’s fabulous examples are loaded with personality, fine textures and flavours that echo across the palate. Distilled in the domaine’s 1923 wood-fired copper still, these Armagnacs then age in Chêne Noir Gascon—410-litre barrels made of oak from the nearby Landes forest—until they are bottled for sale. The extended maturation within this thick-grained oak imparts plenty of tannin and spice, giving Laballe’s vintage Armagnac its distinctive style., There is no addition of colour, and all the spirits are bottled brut de fût—unfiltered and at their natural alcohol level—often from a single barrel. 

100% Ugni Blanc. This 2004 is still a youngster in Armagnac terms, yet there’s an immediate generosity and deep complexity from the first sniff. On the palate you get a lot of fruit freshness, caramel, and some woody green herbs—there’s quite a bit to unpack, so best to sit back, relax and let it unfurl in the glass. It has high energy, some sappy and grippy structure and a concentration of complexity that, when found, tends to make Armagnac drinkers smug in their choices.

100% Ugni Blanc. This 2004 is still a youngster in Armagnac terms, yet there’s an immediate generosity and deep complexity from the first sniff. On the palate you get a lot of fruit freshness, caramel, and some woody green herbs—there’s quite a bit to unpack, so best to sit back, relax and let it unfurl in the glass. It has high energy, some sappy and grippy structure and a concentration of complexity that, when found, tends to make Armagnac drinkers smug in their choices.

Château Laballe Bas Armagnac 2004
Bibendum Bar
Added
Château Laballe Bas Armagnac Resistance Baco
Bibendum Bar
Added

Château Laballe Bas Armagnac Resistance Baco

Until the late 1970s, Baco remained the prime ingredient in Armagnac and while Ugni Blanc holds that position today, this variety—now exclusive to Armagnac country—has played an important role in the region’s identity; a role that Cyril Laudet wanted to commemorate with Resistance. He also wants to demonstrate to people why this variety is important, by showcasing it on its own. So, made from 100% Baco grapes, in consultation with the trade, this unique bottling took three years to get just right and consists of a blend of three Armagnacs distilled in 2009, 2010 and 2012.

PS) A little explanation on the name and label. A French-American hybrid, Baco was developed at the turn of the twentieth century to produce some of the same flavours as Folle Blanche but without its susceptibility to phylloxera. So, the etching adorning the label illustrates this formidable parasite that devastated French vineyards around this time.

The three eaux de vie spent their first year after distillation in new 410-litre Chêne Noir Gascon barrels from Bartholomo (the last barrel maker in the Landes region) to develop texture and sweetness, and then the rest of their aging in older barrels, bringing more earthy and savoury notes. On the nose, you are immediately struck by the distinctiveness of this grape, with aromas of apple, smoke and citrus giving way to a round, salty expression in the mouth that finishes with a hint of liquorice. It’s a delightfully elegant spirit with an impressive balance of flavour, complexity and elegance as well as good length and the hearty weight you’d expect from a quality Bas Armagnac.

The three eaux de vie spent their first year after distillation in new 410-litre Chêne Noir Gascon barrels from Bartholomo (the last barrel maker in the Landes region) to develop texture and sweetness, and then the rest of their aging in older barrels, bringing more earthy and savoury notes. On the nose, you are immediately struck by the distinctiveness of this grape, with aromas of apple, smoke and citrus giving way to a round, salty expression in the mouth that finishes with a hint of liquorice. It’s a delightfully elegant spirit with an impressive balance of flavour, complexity and elegance as well as good length and the hearty weight you’d expect from a quality Bas Armagnac.

Château Laballe Bas Armagnac Resistance Baco
Bibendum Bar
Added

“Armagnac is a more agricultural spirit than cognac. The brandies of the region are vinous and wine like, maturing in the cask and also in the bottle… Single-vintage, estate bottle brandies from specific varieties of grape value the fruit and mineral qualities of the grape as much the traits of the oak from the barrels in which they rest.” Thad Vogler, By the Smoke and the Smell

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