Castex-d’Armagnac. At the Château de Monbel, the adventure continues

Last April, the village of Castex-d’Armagnac said a final farewell to Olivier d’Agrain. He was the manager of the Château de Monbel which mainly produces Armagnac. It is always difficult to name a successor in this kind of situation. The “castle” is a family business. Catherine, Olivier’s sister, was often present at the property to support him given his chronic illness.

In fact, she knew the business and the workings of the property. She is therefore quite naturally approached for this task, which she does not refuse. Catherine lives in Paris. She works as a commercial agent. His usual universe is a comfortable office. Like Harry Potter, it is not platform 9 3/4 that transports her to the 19th century, but platform n.1 of the TGV at Montparnasse station. At the castle, his concern is to have enough split logs to keep warm and pack them in the kitchen stove. Antonio and the Portuguese working on the property see to it. The ancient residence does not have air conditioning. Suits and elegant city shoes gave way to thick woolen sweaters and boots during this particularly cold and wet winter. The nerve center of the property is the cellar. Everything evokes Olivier’s presence and soul. The barrels chosen for the aging of Armagnac and also its roundness in the mouth that customers appreciate and which make it Olivier’s signature. The challenge is great to maintain the quality and the trademark of Armagnac de Monbel. Olivier has set the bar very high. This year, somewhat taken aback, the family did not launch the distillation. Next fall, the old still and the cellar will smell of alcohol vapours, that’s for sure. It is the will of the family and also a beautiful tribute to Olivier’s work.

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