with 15 ha of organic vines, a large luxurious home and farm buildings
This property, in the midst of an area with “Bas-Armagnac” appellation where the French departments of Gers, Landes and Lot-et-Garonne meet, stands between two towns, Eauze (capital of the Lower Armagnac region) and Cazaubon, a town with all amenities. Some 80 km from Pau airport. A 90-minute drive from Bordeaux (TGV train station with 2-hour links to Paris).
Almost equidistant from Toulouse and Bordeaux airports as well as from the Atlantic Ocean beaches and the Pyrenean ski resorts (140 km).
A little-used, narrow country lane winds its way through the hilly countryside before reaching this authentic Gascon estate set in peaceful, harmonious surroundings. This undulating land extends over soil composed of very fine, acid loam and tawny-coloured sand. “Eaux-de-vie” spirits are renowned for their refined tastes. This estate, laid out around the buildings, spans a total, continuous surface area of approx. 55 ha, including almost 15 ha of organic vines with “AOP Bas-Armagnac” and “IGP Côtes-de-Gascogne” appellation. The estate itself is surrounded by approx. 40 ha of woods. In addition to its land, this property comprises a large, luxurious, 19th century home, spanning approx. 300 m² of living space, and a group of outbuildings, spanning approx. 800 m². Predominantly used for wine-growing purposes, these buildings include barrel storehouses, a fermenting room, a farm shed, offices, a tasting room, staff accommodation and a hen-house.
The large, luxurious home
With an almost square layout, this large, luxurious home is constructed from quarry stone blocks and topped with a hip roof, covered with flat tiles and enhanced with a double overhanging cornice, a distinctive sign once considered to bear witness to social standing.
The lime-rendered facades reflect an ochre hue, reminiscent of the appearance of the cob walls so characteristic of this region, made resplendent by the setting sun.
The main entrance, facing east like most Gascon houses, opens into a wide corridor featuring cement floor tiles with coloured motifs. This through room provides access to four rooms of comparable sizes.
On the south side, a bright lounge, with a plain, plaster ceiling, is enhanced by a marble fireplace and illuminated by two east-facing windows. It also has old floor tiles with inlaid decoration.
Further along the corridor is a study, overlooking the vines on the west side, which could also be used as a bedroom. It has exposed ceiling beams and joists.
On the other side of the corridor, a dining room is enhanced with multi-coloured, 19th century floor tiles and a light-coloured marble fireplace. It is illuminated via two windows. The ceiling here is covered with strips of softwood. At the end of the corridor, just before the first steps of the stairway, is a superb, large, country kitchen, where a huge fire crackles all winter. It communicates with the dining room and opens directly on to a paved courtyard on the north side. It features terracotta floor tiles and exposed ceiling joists. A small concealed door opens into a boiler room which protrudes slightly on the west facade.
Half-way up the little, wooden stairway, with two quarter turns, is a bathroom with a toilet. The stairs continue up to a large landing, illuminated at the end by a wide French window which opens on to a small balcony, overlooking the parklands. This level comprises four bedrooms, laid out in the same way as the ground floor rooms. All have wide strip parquet flooring made of the poplar wood that is traditionally used in Gascon bedrooms. Three of the bedrooms have a separate bathroom and exposed ceiling beams. The last one, without a bathroom, has a ceiling covered with strips of softwood.
In short, a plain, welcoming house, with reasonable home comforts and a typical Gascon layout.
Storehouse for barrels and Armagnac
This building, set back from the main house, is divided into two sections set at right angles. Its traditional combination of cob, brick and stone walls have the particularity of providing very good insulation. One section is given over to ageing the Armagnac and houses all the casks of “eaux-de-vie”. The other section, set at right angles, is used for the machinery that receives the harvest.
The casks are new, made of oak wood and contain 400 litres.
Storehouse for making wine and storing Côtes-de-Gascogne wines
This building, laid out longwise and used for wine-making purposes, contains all the epoxy resin vats for fermenting and storing wine as well as the machinery for making wine.
A full system for controlling temperatures guarantees the quality of fermentation.
A small outside stairway at the end of the building leads to a large room laid out upstairs, overlooking the vineyard and the clearing. It can be used for a multitude of purposes such as an office, an artiste’s studio or even accommodation for unexpected guests.
The annex house
A third building, spanning 100 m², near to the wine-making storehouse could be easily and inexpensively renovated for use as staff accommodation or as a holiday rental accommodation unit.
The ground floor comprises a kitchen, with a fireplace, and a small stairway leading upstairs. Next to this, a large room faces south and east.
The same layout upstairs includes two bedrooms and a shower room.
A little further on, a vast group of dwellings dating from the 1950’s is used for safely storing all the phytosanitary products. It once housed hens in the upper section and pigs in the lower section. Today, hens are still in the upper section but the pigs have been replaced by a few haughty geese.
The roof is extended behind this building so as to house farming equipment.
In the Armagnac region, it was the Romans that introduced vines, the Arabs that introduced the still and the Celts that introduced the cask. Armagnac resulted from the merger of these three cultures.
Light soils known as “sables fauves” (tawny-coloured sandy soil) and sometimes heavier soils, then qualified as “boulbène” (very fine, acid loamy soil), are known to encourage the growth and balance of white vines.
Armagnac is the oldest of “eaux-de-vie” spirits. It has been produced in the heart of Gascony, in the south-west of France, for more than 700 years.
The production area has been delimited since 1909 and its AOC “Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée” classification has existed since 1936.
The Armagnac vineyard covers approx. 15,000 ha spread over three departments: Gers, Landes and Lot-et-Garonne.
It is also divided into three “terroirs” (literally soils):
· to the west: Bas-Armagnac.
· in the middle: Armagnac-Ténarèze.
· to the east: Haut-Armagnac.
This property comprises 15 ha of vines producing organic grapes, now qualified as “Appellation d'Origine Protégée Bas-Armagnac”.
Vine stock suited to Armagnac:
- Baco gives “eaux-de-vie” spirits roundness, smoothness and aromas of ripe fruits. It is a more robust vine stock that, therefore, needs less phytosanitary treatments.
- Ugni-blanc is the distillation grape par excellence. It gives acidic and low alcohol wines that after distillation produce fine “eaux-de-vie” of high quality.
Vine stock for producing local PGI wines (Protected Geographical Indication known in France as IGP for Indication Géographique Protégée).
- Colombard is currently extensively used and valued. Its fruity and spicy aromas are appreciated in blends.
- Sauvignon provides floral aromas.
Chardonnay encourages body and length.
These vine stocks are used for white local PGI wines:
- Colombard: 4.9902 ha.
- Sauvignon: 4.0144 ha.
- Ugni Blanc: 1.5563 ha.
- Chardonnay: 2.6826 ha.
These for Armagnac:
- White Baco: 1.5563 ha.
All of this production is cultivated according to organic farming methods qualified with “Certification QUALISUD” and cultivated according to biodynamic farming methods qualified with “Certification DEMETER”.
Age moyen des vignes
All the vine stock is an average of 18 years old.
Nombre de pieds à l'hectare
In 1992-1993: 3,570 stock were planted per hectare.
Since 1998: 4,000 stock have been planted per hectare.
Harvest in 2016: 1,306 hl.
Harvest in 2017: 921 hl.
Harvest in 2018: 835 hl.
Distilled “eaux-de-vie” spirits represent 10% of the harvest and are marketed as “Hors-d’Âge” or as a vintage.
White wine represents 80% of the harvest which has been
sold in bulk to the same customers in France and Europe for seven years.
The remaining 10% of the harvest is bottled under the name “Domaine en IGP Côtes-de-Gascogne Blanc”, three-quarters of which is exported.
In the year 1310, Maître-Vital-Dufour, lawyer and prior of Eauze and Saint-Mont, extolled in Latin the forty virtues of this “Aygue Ardente” (water that burns) in his book “To keep your health and stay on top form”. In a world with standards, in search of safe, identical products, with no surprises, there are some first-class, extraordinary products. Those seeking to take up this torch will need to enjoy and appreciate the land as much as the Armagnac, unite their own roots with those of the vine, adopt its way of life, spend time on the land and live in the house, in short, become Gascon. Here there is no pretence, just pure authenticity.
|Land registry surface area||55 ha 83 a 82 ca|
|Surface of the vines||14 ha 79 a 98 ca|
|Number of bedrooms||4|
|Main building surface area||300 m2|
|Outbuilding surface area||1000 m2|
Armelle Chiberry du Vignau +33 1 42 84 80 85
NB: The above information is not only the result of our visit to the property; it is also based on information provided by the current owner. It is by no means comprehensive or strictly accurate especially where surface areas and construction dates are concerned. We cannot, therefore, be held liable for any misrepresentation.