St Vivant Armagnac NV
a clean, bright nose of citrus, fresh pear, and hints of herb and spice ). In the mouth the same citrusy flavors are experienced, as well as some grassy/herbal, mineral touches. the finish is extremely clean, flavorful, full of fruit and perfectly balanced. This mineral component is likely from the granite-rich soil of Sardinia, and makes a perfect complement to shellfish -- especially oysters. You can also match this wine successfully with simply prepared white fish, salads, pork and chicken.
Although I don't have a lot of experience with armagnacs, I have had a number I've liked, even loved--especially one I can't recall the name of which I brought back from a trip to France--but they were also at least double the price of this one. St. Vivant, although a lower grade brandy, probably on the lower side of VSOP, nevertheless perfectly captures the armagnac fruitiness and character. A fair warning: I'm writing this review while eating gouda and sliced red delicious apple, so my tastebuds may have been a bit off. Anyway, diving in... Lots of mineral on the nose, a bit astringent, but also very prominent ripe fruit note as well. Starts out with slight vanilla creme with orange peel and melon as well as a bit of leather, and then dries up rather quickly into very prominent spicy tobacco and to a lesser degree, oakwood. Perhaps some strawberry creme? Not sure. It's not smooth by any stretch as I would expect from a higher-dollar brandy, but delightful to drink nonetheless. It finishes with a lasting but subtle fruit flavor, and the tobacco persists for a bit as well, but not unpleasant. I would recommend it for a decent value. If you love armagnacs but don't have the wallet for the really good ones, you probably won't find this disappointing. I foresee buying more bottles of this going forward.