Recommended Armagnacs

By Jason Wilson
Special to The Washington Post
Tuesday, January 18, 2011; 11:45 AM

On local shelves

At the VSOP and XO/Hors d'Age level, Armagnac often offers better brandy value than cognac. Here are some available locally:

- Chateau de Laubade VSOP, $40.

Warm and buttery, with burnt sugar, cocoa and raisins. If you're willing to splurge, the Laubade XO is exceptional.

- Tariquet VSOP, $45

Elegant, smooth, with butterscotch, prunes and mint. A great introduction to fine brandy.

- Castarede VSOP, $50

Castarede uses no less than 10-year-old brandies for its VSOP; other producers' usually are between four and nine years old. For a real splurge, look for some of Castarede's vintages, particularly 1974, 1979 or 1980.

- Chateau du Busca Hors d'Age, $80

From Tenareze, not Bas Armagnac, which means it's more muscular, meatier, with bolder fragrances, spices, baked fruit and tobacco.

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