Gone with the autan wind
Haut-Armagnac, the eastern and southern part of the Armagnac region, is distinguished by a continental climate and clay-limestone soils.
Haut-Armagnac is also known as white Armagnac as opposed to black Armagnac (Bas-Armagnac) echoing the hillsides of marl limestone that ripple over the landscape.
The vines that represent 2% of the surface area in the appellation are scattered like small stripey islands among the other crops. Their development is assured by the chalky and clay-limestone soils known as terreforts.
Little known though reputed
Although generally a continental climate, the influence of the autan winds coming from the southeast sometimes give Haut-Armagnac a Mediterranean atmosphere. Known as the white autan wind in this area because it is turbulent and dry, whereas the black autan wind carries rain.
Charged with heat drawn from the Languedoc-Roussillon, the autan wind blowing over the roofs and walls of the cellars provokes an inexplicable seepage around the stored barrels’ bungs as if the alcohol starts to boil.
Even though it seems little known in comparison to its neighbouring Bas-Armagnac and Armagnac Tenarèze, Haut-Armagnac is nevertheless a recognised and reputed terroir that is part of Gascony’s heritage. A few producers continue to maintain the Armagnac tradition.