Midi-Pyrenees Gastronomy - Wines and Spirits

In the voluptuous countryside that befits the epicurean feel of Gascony you'll find the prestigious Armagnac region to regale your senses with the precious gold and copper-coloured liquid that hails from the area between Auch and Eauze.Origins: records of aygue ardente (fire water, the original name for Armagnac) date back to the early 14th century..Grape varieties: a dozen different ones, mainly ugni blanc, baco blanc, folle blanche and colombard.

  • Type of wine: Armagnac is not a wine but a beautiful amber-coloured eau de vie made from wine that is drunk on various occasions, and not just as a digestif (an after-dinner drink to aid digestion).
  • Tasting notes: when young, Armagnac is fiery, giving off a complex bouquet of floral (lime blossom, vine blossom, etc.) and fruity aromas (quince, grape, plum, etc.) Aged Armagnac is more rounded, with enchanting aromas of prune and candied orange and subtle underlying tones of vanilla.
  • Countryside and terroirs: the gently rolling hills and valleys of Gers, so reminiscent of Tuscany, set off by magnificent sweeping wine estates, embrace the appellation's three terroirs, or regions. These terroirs are Bas-Armagnac (between Eauze and Nogaro), Ténarèze (around Condom and Vic-Fezensac) and Haut-Armagnac (between Auch and Lectoure).
  • Distinctive characteristics: before being aged for several years in oak barrels, Armagnac is produced by distillation using a special type of still. Made entirely of pure copper and maintained at a constant heat, the Armagnac still design was laid down by royal warrant in 1818.
  • Quality certification: Armagnac has been an AOC (Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée) since 1936.

Wine of Cahors
With sun-drenched vineyards, vast estates and big personalities, everything that is simple and alluring about the elegant countryside reaches its zenith in the Lot Valley among the vineyards of Cahors.

  • Origins: the Cahors vineyards were planted by the Romans in around 50 BC.
  • Grape varieties: the king variety here is malbec, to the extent that these days people refer to the 'Cahors Malbec Valley' and 'Cahors, the Malbec capital'.
  • Type of wine: red.
  • Dégustation : vins puissants, charpentés et subtils, aux tanins souples et bien enrobés, à la texture dense et élégante, développant un registre aromatique riche et une excellente aptitude au vieillissement.
  • Countryside and terroirs: downstream from Cahors the Lot paints broad meanders carpeted with vines and dotted with elegant châteaux, wine villages and Romanesque churches; above Cahors rises the undulating landscape of the causse where the vines thrive in the limestone soils.
  • Distinctive characteristics: Cahors stands out because of its almost black colour which the malbec grape gives it. This colour, which has earned it the nickname 'black wine', is indicative of a high concentration of polyphenols, which are good for you.
  • Quality certification: Cahors has been an AOC (Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée) since 1971.