Domaine Boingnères | Bas Armagnac

A line-up of Domaine Boingnères Armagnac Bottles

Located in the small commune of Le Frêche, Domaine Boingnères is widely considered to be the benchmark producer of Bas-Armagnac. Originally founded in 1807 by Jean Boingnères it has, for six generations, steadfastly maintained the often difficult path of never producing anything but the very best Armagnac. However, it was not until 1953 that the style of Armagnacs began to change forever as Leon Lafitte took over the estate when his father-in-law died. First, he expanded the vineyard area and then second, sold bottled stocks directly to all the famous restaurants in France, whereupon the reputation of Boingnères Armagnac soon became second to none.

Leon then began replanting the vineyards with his favourite grape varieties, principally Folle Blanche, Ugni Blanc and Colombard. He then built a new press house and ageing cellar and in 1975 a new still was purpose built by Ster to give the greatest extraction of flavour from the wines. Leon Lafitte passed away in 1994 and so his wife Marguerite and daughter Martine took over, running the business as Leon had with complete attention to detail. In 2004, Marguerite succumbed to a long illness, leaving the domaine solely in Martine's hands. She has continued with the same spirit as her father and as a result, the reputation of Boingnères Armagnac has been taken to even further heights.

Much of the oak at Boingnères comes from the Gascon forests. Martine contracts trees every year, and the staves are air-dried next to one of the Boingnères chai. The staves are then fabricated into 420-liter barrels by the local tonnelier, Gilles Bartholomo. Gilles’s grandfather actually made the barrels for Martine’s grandfather more than 60 years ago! The barrels are stored in one of two chai, both of which are relatively dry. Consequently, the alcohol level descends very slowly, and even after 20 years, some barrels have only lost 3 degrees of alcohol!

Armagnac is traditionally bottled without being reduced in alcohol and, as Martine Lafitte is a strict traditionalist, the Armagnacs at Boingnères are released at cask strength to ensure their absolute purity.