The folle blanche or “piquepoult”, as it is called in Gascony is the Armagnac grape variety. Killed-off by phylloxera in 1893, it represents, today, scarcely 1 % of the total crop in the Appellation area. With round tightly packed grapes, Folle Blanche despite its extreme sensitivity to rot, remains the king of grapes for Armagnac, giving Spirits that have great subtlety.
The ugni-blanc or Saint-Emilion vine has large thick leaves with an ogival outline. The bunches are loosely packed with round grapes that become amber-yellow, when ripe. This variety is the latest to ripen and thrives in soil with an acid ph. The wines produce ample and well-balanced spirits.
The colombard is the most, fruity variety. The bunches have oblong grapes and merit early picking, before they are ripe, since this produces a fresh and lively spirit, which once aged will mellow into a full-bodied and powerful Armagnac.
The baco 22A, a hybrid wine grape, produced from crossing the American Noah grape and the Folle Blanche. It is the latest arrival in grape varieties in Armagnac. The leaves a triangular shaped with a small jagged outline. The grapes are round and not too tightly packed, while the colour is a white-gold. It can be recognised by the dominant fruitiness
of prunes, when grown in sandy or “boulbènes” soils.
The phantom grape varieties, Clairette de Gascogne, Meslier Saint-François, remain on only a few hectares today. Among the most interesting of these, is the Plant de Graisse, which produces magnificent spirits with lots of fat and which remain long in the mouth.