Francis Darroze first developed his love for Armagnac while working as a sommelier in his family’s two-star Michelin restaurant in Bas- Armagnac. In 1974, after years of sourcing the best Armagnacs for the restaurant, Francis began a new business as a producer and trader, specializing in single vintage, single estate, cask-strength Bas-Armagnacs. He now enjoys a well-deserved international reputation as “The Pope of Armagnac”, and offers an unparalleled range of bottlings from the finest domaines and vintages available. Francis and his son Marc, a trained oenologist, manage the Darroze portfolio which includes more than 250 different Armagnacs from 50 different vintages and 30 different estates. Darroze sources exclusively from the region once known as the Grand Bas-Armagnac. Each estate is selected for typicity, terroir and quality. The base wines are fermented naturally and distillation occurs either at the estate of origin or at a respected mobile distiller. Armagnac is made using a single, continuous distillation process which yields a fiery spirit that emphasizes the singular character of its origin. The diversity of crus, vintages, grape varieties and styles held in the family cellars allows Marc Darroze to create masterly blends known as Les Grands Assemblages. Chosen for their complementary characteristics, the selected Armagnacs in each blend are different ages. The age on each bottle indicates that of the youngest Armagnac in the blend. Each Grand Assemblage reveals the evolution of the spirit through aging in barrel and the resulting balance between alcohol, aromas and tannins. All the Darroze vintage Bas-Armagnacs (known as their Unique Collection) are aged in barrels – more or less new depending on the tannins required – for at least 10 years, which is the legal minimum. The optimal balance between flavor, tannin and alcohol is reached after 12 to 15 years, after which they are transferred to older barrels. After 50 years, the vintage Armagnac is transferred to demijohns. The bottling date is shown on every label, indicating the length of barrel aging.
|For three generations, the Darroze family has been dividing its time and passions between cooking and Armagnac.
The adventure started in the 1950s and 1960s when Jean Darroze scaled the heights with the family restaurant in Villeneuve de Marsan, right in the heart of Bas-Armagnac. He shared his passions and his work with his children all of whom played a part in the national and internationally renowned family restaurant.
It was here that Francis, the youngest member of the family, was in charge of the wine list and of course the Armagnacs. During his regular visits to the different vineyards, Francis acquired an extraordinary collection of eaux de vies coming from all different areas in the Bas Armagnac region.
At the beginning of the 1970s, Francis decided to age the eaux de vies himself, in his own cellar and under his sole control. He hunted throughout the Gascony countryside far and wide searching for the best barrels from different estates. In more than 30 years, the Darroze family collection grew and today amounts to an impressive 250 different armagnacs coming from 30 properties and including more than 50 vintages.
Today, Helene, the eldest daughter of Francis, continues the family culinary tradition. Her restaurants in Paris are well known for the quality of the products and the sincerity of their cuisine.
Her brother Marc, trained as an oenologist, takes care of the Armagnacs’ ageing. He works with the same rigor and passion that characterizes his father.