National Armagnac Day Date in the current year: December 21, 2023

National Armagnac Day If you love brandy, we know a holiday just for you! National Armagnac Day is celebrated annually on December 21 in honor of a distinctive kind of brandy that is produced exclusively in the Armagnac region of France.

Although Armagnac is less popular than cognac, another kind of grape brandy that is made exclusively in France, it is in fact the world’s oldest brandy and liquor that is still produced. The first mentions of an eau de vie (distilled beverage) from Armagnac date back to the early 14th century; by the 17th century, Armagnac was served at the royal court in the palace of Versailles. By the early 19th century, most of the Armagnac region of Gascogne was dedicated to the production of its signature grape brandy.

The Armagnac region was granted the AOC (appellation d’origine contrôlée, which means “controlled designation of origin”) status in 1936. It means that only grape brandy produced in the region according to strict regulations can be marketed as Armagnac. Each of Armagnac’s three districts has separate AOC regulations.

Like cognac, Armagnac is distilled from wine that is produced from a specific blend of grapes. There are ten permitted grape varieties that can be used in the production of Armagnac; the four most common ones are Baco blanc, Colombard, Folle blanche, and Ugni blanc. The spirit resulting from distillation is aged in oak barrels; aging softens the taste of the drink and helps it develop more complex flavors.

What are the differences between Armagnac and cognac, other than the former being produced in the Armagnac region and the latter being produced in the Cognac region? The first one is grapes; as we’ve already mentioned above, Armagnac is made from a blend of grapes, whereas cognac is made predominantly from the Ugni blanc grape variety.

The process of distillation is also different. Cognac is distilled using pot stills, whereas Armagnac is distilled using column stills. Moreover, Armagnac is only distilled once, in contrast to the double distillation of cognac. As a result, it has a higher alcohol content (up to 60% after distillation, although the process of aging removes some of the alcohol) and is more flavorful and fragrant than cognac.

Despite its long history, Armagnac is less known outside Europe than cognac. One of the main reasons for this is that the production of cognac has long been dominated by big-name brands such as Courvoisier and Hennessy, while Armagnac is primarily made and sold by small boutique producers that don’t have the same name recognition or marketing capabilities.

The origins of National Armagnac Day are unclear, but it was probably created to popularize Armagnac in the United States. And it’s great that this holiday exists because this amazing spirit definitely deserves to be celebrated.

You can observe National Armagnac Day by learning more about this type of brandy and its differences from cognac, savoring a glass or two of Armagnac at a restaurant or a bar, splurging on a bottle of Armagnac and sharing it with someone who will appreciate the flavor of the drink, and spreading the word about the holiday on social media with the hashtag #NationalArmagnacDay.

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Category

Unofficial Holidays

Country

USA

Tags

National Armagnac Day, unofficial holidays, observances in the United States, food and drink days, Armagnac