I’ve spent the past 72 hours with cold feet. I mean that literally, not in the figurative sense of the old cliché about being nervous about something and fighting against second-thoughts of the classic “she showed up at her own wedding, but got cold feet at the altar, leaving poor John high and dry” variety.
No, I mean this: My feet have been cold. Also, slightly damp. Because as a resident of the northeastern United States, I have spent the past three-plus days either shoveling, or salting, or sledding with my kids down the hill in my back yard. Which I love—I’m not sure there is anything better as a parent than hearing your children squeal with delight as they careen down a hill in an old-school plastic saucer—but the downside of all this winter-wonderland stuff is that a small house like ours gets snow tracked throughout it from the first moment one of us sets booted foot into the elements.
So: My feet have been cold and wet since the weekend.
Fortunately, I stopped caring about that minor inconvenience, and the potential subsequent flu or pneumonia or sniffle that my mother is sure to be concerned that I’ll catch as a direct consequence of said wet-cold feet, sometime around mid-afternoon on Saturday. Because that’s when I started drinking plenty of Armagnac.
I’ve long been a fan of Armagnac—it is, it seems to me, one of the truly great yet still under-appreciated brandies on this vast blue-and-green marble we all call home. But it still struggles a bit to break into the collective consciousness of the vast agglomeration of drinkers we all imbibe with. I still vividly recall ordering an Armagnac at an otherwise relatively nice bar several years ago, and the exchange between the bartender and yours truly devolving into a pallid, morbidly depressing simulacrum of some sort of failed Abbot and Costello routine:
Me: Do you have any Armagnac back there?
Him: Of course we have Cognac.
Me: Sorry, it’s loud in here. I said Armagnac.
Him: Right, I heard you. Cognac.
Me: Sorry, Armagnac. From Gascony. Armagnac.
Me: It’s actually really delicious, kind of like—
Him: Can I just get you a martini?
Me: I’ll just take a beer. Got any IPAs?
Happily, things are changing. Have been for a while now. And while Armagnac doesn’t quite yet have the same instant name-recognition as its more famous cousin--which I also love, but for different reasons--it’s absolutely gaining in familiarity. As well it should, for Armagnac is more than worth learning about. And drinking. As often as possible. Especially in weather like this. It not only warms you up and tastes phenomenal, expressing a unique part of France and its wonderful brandy-production heritage, but I’m also absolutely certain that it staves off illness brought on by wet, cold feet. And that’s a beautiful thing.
Honeyed in the glass, with beautiful, sweet aromas of dulce de leche, spice, apricot, and honey that lead to flavors of vanilla créme brûlée, honeysuckle, sultana, coconut, and a bit of hard stone fruit, finishing on a distinctly spicy note that makes you want to take another sip immediately. The texture here stands out, too, a silkiness that allows each sip to remain lithe on the palate despite its attractive richness. Very highly recommended.