Armagnac is produced in the Armagnac region in the ancient province of Gasgogne (Gascony), located southeast of Bordeaux between the Lot valley and the Pyrenees mountains.
The region contains 15,000 hectares of vineyards. It is the composition of its soils as well as the choice of grape varieties which gives the spirit ( 'the eau de vie' ) its unique character.
Three regions form the Armagnac :
Bas-Armagnac : 8000 hectares extending over the Landes and Gers departments. Don't be put off by the words! 'Bas' - which means low in French - does not refer to a low quality but to the declining relief of the region the closer one comes to the valley of the river Adour. The soils are sandy and silty and certainly produce the most fruity, delicate, light and highly-praised eaux-de-vie.
Armagnac-Tenareze (since 1993) : 6,500 hectares. It covers the north-west of Gers and the south of the Lot-et-Garonne area. The clay/limestone soils produce full-bodied spirits which require 20 to 30 years of ageing.
Haut-Armagnac : 500 hectares, including the east of Gers and a small part of the Lot-et-Garonne area. The limestone vineyards produce strong eaux-de-vie which need to be drunk early.