Winegrower ArmagnacChâteau de Briat : a modern approach for Armagnac
The strategy used for Château de Briat Armagnac is primarily to ensure superior quality throughout the entire production process. Member of the ‘Association des cinq crus légendaires’, along with Martine Lafitte, owner of Domaine Boingnières (see the article in this issue), Stéphane de Luze’s company adheres to a joint quality charter: the elaboration of ‘non-réduit’1 Armagnacs for vintage products, ageing in barrels (18 years minimum for a vintage Armagnac), indication of the date of bottling, etc… Armagnacs are selected regularly in order to preserve only the very finest in barrels. Naturally, no flavours or yeasts are added. Some Armagnacs of less than 5 years of age will become liqueur wines such as ‘Floc’. The company also makes an aperitif called ‘Skerzo’, a liqueur wine made with Armagnac and grape juice from the estate(17.5°), as well as a liqueur named ‘L’Amour des trois oranges’, which is a blend of young Armagnacs in which Andalusian orange zests have been macerated (36°).
Due to the fact that demand is currently higher than supply on the Armagnac market in general and the firm enjoys the advantage of regular custom, its turnover has increased by 30% since 2003. During this period the area of production has been extended from 3 to 8 hectares. Key events for sales are 9 annual exhibitions in France and Belgium, the most important one being the ‘Independent Winegrowers’ show in Paris.
Stéphane de Luze’s activity is not restricted solely to prospecting for new markets. It is easy to perceive that this young businessman is determined to communicate. Firstly using an informative approach: “We appeal to a younger clientele, keen to discover quality products at reasonable prices (a bottle of ‘Skerzo’ costs 17 euros)”.
His sense of mutual expression blends with the pleasure of discovering new ideas. In March 2007, Stéphane de Luze took part at the ‘Trofeo Habanos Armagnac’ in Havana, alongside Yves Belaure, chief editor of the magazine ‘Cigars et Sensations’. It was an opportunity to explore the similarities between cigars and Armagnacs. For its second consecutive participation at the ‘Cigar Festival’ (February 2007), Château de Briat Armagnac 1987 won first prize…
At the end of November this year, during the distillation process, Château de Briat will welcome the ‘Association des cinq crus légendaires’. Forty professionals are invited to celebrate this key moment of production. Amongst the guests will be chocolate-maker Jean-Paul Evin, who uses Château de Briat’s orange liqueur in some of his recipes.
A travers sa marque de négoce « Les fiefs de Briat » créée en 2004, Stéphane de Luze propose à une nouvelle clientèle étrangère, plutôt haut de gamme, d’acquérir des produits personnalisés, que ce soit sur des millésimes de plus de vingt ans ou sur des gammes de type XO ou VSOP à l’export.
Ce marché poursuit, rappelons-le, sa progression entamée en 2006 et révèle le dynamisme des producteurs décidés à développer l’appellation au-delà des frontières.
D’autant que ce type de distribution est de nature à conférer enfin à l’armagnac cette visibilité au plan international qui lui fait tant défaut.CFN
Château de Briat - Baron de Pichon-Longueville
40240 Mauvezin d’Armagnac
Tel: 06 85 83 23 23
Fax: 05 58 44 85 07