« The antique dealer of Armagnac »
Article paru dans la revue Vert de Vin - juin 2015

Maison Jean Cavé

« The antique dealer of Armagnac »

Armagnac Jean cavé Dame JeanneThe history of the Jean Cavé House of Armagnac begins in the small village of Lannepax in 1883 when created by Jean Cavé grower and trader in fine wines and Armagnac. Subsequently four generations of Cavé have succeeded at the head of this house as a master with the word “respect for tradition”, “quality” and “stockpiling vintages.” During the two World Wars, from 1914 to 1918 and from 1939 to 1945 Maison Jean Cavé deliberately chose to close its doors to support the national effort of the 1st World War. They voluntarily made the choice to close during World War II to avoid any trading with the enemy. However Maison Jean Cavé has sought to continue to distill Armagnac for storage. Today, thanks to this the Maison Jean Cave has a collection of rare vintages, exceptional years of “war” . In 1989 the Cavé brothers decided to partner with the Volpato Family, with whom they have since increased the development of the brand by focusing on vintage Armagnac. “We are known to be the keepers of antique Armagnac. We have a unique collection of old vintages. Also through our relationships of more than 40 years with the holders of vintage Armagnac, we know the status of stocks of other winegrowers in the region. We tirelessly travel the land of Armagnac in order to unearth the treasures forgotten in the estates. It is a real work of looking for gold! “ Today, after more than 130 years of distillation and tradition the Maison Jean Cavé is committed to the preservation of this know-how for more than a century of production, and to respect the traditions of the Gas- 17 Interview cony land. The Jean Cavé team always works with the valuable advice of Henry Cave, the fourth generation of the family. With this memory alive, they are the guarantors of development in continuity, a sense of place and a passion for the soil. In 2001 Maison Jean Cavé and the VOLPATO family creatd Armadis a subsidiary of “Armagnac” Winegrowers of Gerland, the Armanoir group that distills, ages and sells under the entity “Le Club des Marques SAS” houses such as Puysegur, Sempé, Chabot, Clés des Ducs, Ferté de Partenay, Carrère… This alliance is unique in armagnac and is the number one player in the sector both in the distillation in marketing.” “Our blends are designed and implemented in the early years of growth. The secret of the development of these is to maintain “a sediment” which guarantees a constant taste over time. Vintages are pampered by our Cellar Master, and are marketed after ten years minimum.” “We are gardians of ancestral knowledge and we must not forget that the Armagnac is the oldest Eaux-de-Vie in the world. Armagnac has existed for 700 years. We never work for the current generation but for the future. All our decisions and our production must reflect that truth. We mainly distill with ‘continuous’ stills, taking care to separate the different varieties.  

«Tasting a Vintage Armagnac is enjoy the stopping of time.» (Stephane Volpato)

    Ageing takes place in Gascogne oak barrels specifically from the “MONLEZUN forest.” Our house has retained a strong traditional aspect in the manufacture and in the bottling / picking. For example our bottles are always waxed by hand. Our spirits are distilled at 62°c. The finest eaux-de-vie which are destined for the finest vintages attain a temperature of between 55°c and 60°c.” To increase the surface contact between the Eau-de-Vie and the barrel, the Maison Jean Cavé has developed with its cooper a technical method of putting grooves on the inside of the staves thereby increasing the surface contact and ensuring better extraction of tannins and natural vanillin from the wood in the early days of aging.

Where does the logo of Maison Jean Cave come from?

The coat of arms of the House Jean Cave consists of a dove affixed above the name «Jean Cave». «From the creation of the Maison Jean Cave in 1883, the turtle dove is present on our bottles. It symbolizes the commitment and passion to the development and aging of Eaux-de-vie of’Armagnac. V.d.V.: What that allows one to recognize the Armagnacs Jean Cavé in a tasting? S.V.: “These are spirit-waters are refined, powerful, harmonious, round and expressing mellow aromas, a smooth oak / well integrated and floral aromas. Our Armagnacs are aromatic and elegant. “ To me the fattiness, a certain richness, the structure and certain spices (ginger / pepper) allows one to recognize the Armagnacs of this house. Thanks to Stephane Volpato and to Vincent Barthe for their hospitality. - J.C.C. • Maison Jean Cavé - 32190 Lannepax +33 (0) www.armagnac-jean-cave.fr Source Vert de VinFabrication de l'Armagnac