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Fruits of the Vine

The vineyards of Gascony form a rich mosaic, spread over rolling hills and valleys. Small-scale producers cultivate highly individual grape varieties and preserve ancient harvesting and winemaking practices, passed down through generations. Gascon wines are not produced for the mass market, they express the richly individualistic qualities of the local vineyards and grape varieties, le vrai goût du terroir.

Wine

The wines of Gascony are enjoying a renaissance of interest. The reds of the Madiran vineyards in central Gascony are full of character and will keep for years. The most characteristic grape variety is Tannat, with high tannin levels, it must be aged for several years to soften the tannins. No one knows for sure if Tannat is so-named because of the high tannin levels, or if it is simply an ancient local name whose origins are lost. Whatever the reasons for the name, the red wine made with Tannat grapes is not for the faint-hearted - as they say in Gascony, it knows how to wear a beret!

The dry white wine of the Madiran area is known by the curious name of Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh and is fruity and fresh. The sweet wine of late-harvested Pacherenc is a special treat, honeyed and smooth, not cloying, and with a spicy finish. The Madiran-Pacherenc area enjoys a gentle microclimate, the air is moistened by Atlantic breezes in the spring, while the protective hills ensure low rainfall during the summer and autumn.

The reds and whites of the Côtes de Gascogne appellation in the Gers are beginning to gain more than just a local reputation and offer are excellent value for money.

The wine producers of Gascony are represented by the Interprofessional Committee of the Wines of the Southwest

Armagnac
Armagnac - the spirit of Gascony! Armagnac has an aura of mystery about it. No one knows exactly when Armagnac was first made, but it is certainly older than its northern rival Cognac. The vineyards which produce the wine for Armagnac occupy a vine leaf-shaped area in the centre of Gascony. The grape varieties are the versatile Ugni Blanc, the delicate Folle Blanche and the aromatic Colombard. There are as many subtle variations of Armagnac as there are small, independent producers. The vineyards are grouped in three appellations. The most productive appellation is the Bas-Armagnac area to the west, with its sandy soils, it produces light and fruity Armagnacs, known as Black Armagnac, from its association with the nearby forests. The appellation La Ténarèze in the centre produces vigorous, aromatic Armagancs. The Haut-Armagnac appellation to the east and south is a large terroir producing small quantities of high quality Armagnac, known as White Armagnac, because of the chalky soil in the area. The distinction between Bas and Haut describes the lie of the land rather than the quality of the Armagnac.

The Armagnac producers of Gascony are represented by the National Interprofessional Armagnac Bureau

Floc de Gascogne

Floc de Gascogne is an aperitif of Armagnac blended with red or white grape juice. Floc de Gascogne has its own appellation contrôlée: in order for a floc to qualify for the appellation, the proportion and type of Armagnac mixed with the grape juice have to be quite precise. Floc is velvety, fruity and fresh, it goes well with a slice of melon or with foie gras. The word floc means bouquet of flowers in Gascon and is the perfect way to open a meal. Floc de Gascogne is promoted by the only wholly female wine society in France, the Académie des Dames du Floc de Gascogne. The ladies of floc de Gascogne wear black capes when they are on their official business of promoting the fine aperitif. Pinned to their capes they wear sprigs of the three essential fragrances of Armagnac: plum, rose and violet. Their motto: Les capes, les bouteilles, et en avant!

Link to the Domaine de Lauroux, producers of Côtes de Gascogne, Floc de Gascogne and Armagnac, from the heart of the Gers.

Click on the tree to link to Domaine de Lauroux

 

 

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