Le Vieux Marc de Bandol 1996
To taste an old marc, choose "chimney"cognac glasses, instead of the classical round ones. This marc is not only elegant, but really interesting thanks to its strength. It is no longer aggressive. The nose is quite suave, with complex aromas of raisins, plum, prune, and a hint of liquorice. A powerful and ample mouth, followed by a long and elegant final.
Made from de-stemmed Mourvèdre marcs. At the end of the vinification, when the wine is racked-off, the red marcs, that come out of the press, are de-stemmed and ensiled in tanks sheltered from the air. It is the "méthode bourguignonne". The distillation starts when wines are finished and put in oak casks, generally at the very beginning of January.
THE COPPER STILL has a small capacity: about 250 kg of marc. It works with wood fire and allows 4 "passes" a day. A "pass" produces about 25 litres of alcohol, reaching about 60 degrees. We improved the distillation process, in order to keep only noble alcohols, that is to say the HEART of the stoking. The head and end alcohols are carefully separated.
The ageing process in oak barrels is essential: we first use new oak from the Armagnac area, then an older oak during 15 years on average. The "Armagnac" barrel. At Château de Pibarnon, the choice of oaks is the result of a long investigation: we use new oak barrels of 418 litres, made with Armagnac forests wood. It is a special variety called "Chêne Rouvre". The grain and tannins are especially adapted to this kind of spirit, less tight than oaks from Vosges or Massif central. The light amber colour of the marc is due to the wood.
After 19 years of ageing, the degree of alcohol decreases to 42/44° by evaporation (the famous "part des anges"), the marc is bottled at Château de Pibarnon, without filtering.
Each vintage produces about 4 "armagnac" barrels of 418 litres.