The Armagnac Region
The region - ARMAGNAC - vineyards of the South-West
Armagnac lies in a vast area described as the South-west, or Sud-ouest, wine region which is a collection of over 10 wine regions that stretch from central France all the way to the Spanish border.
Situated betweeen the Atlantic and the Pyrenees it enjoys a generous amount of sunshine through the winter, rainfall in the spring which nourishes the vineyards, a warm summer and sublime weather stretching through the vendanges well into November. It is a compact area is roughly 80 kms long by 80 kms wide and comprising 15,000 hectares with numerous scattered villages.
Gascony and the Armagnac wine region is one of the most unspoilt and beautiful regions of France, an area famed for its gastronomy, its delicious Armagnac and its mouthfilling country wines. The region combines the warmth of the southern sunshine with Atlantic freshness. The countryside varies through rolling hills topped with the 'Bastide' towns and villages, vineyards, fields of sweetcorn and sunflowers to the heart of the Armagnac countryside in the west and beyond to the sandy beaches of the Atlantic coast, to the foothills of the Pyrenees and ski stations in the south and onward to Spain. The scenery is more that of rolling hills and glacier-formed flat valleys. Yet there are views of the Pyrenees from the southern hills. The towns and villages of Gascony tend to be small and far apart and the local economy is mainly agricultural.
What makes this a great area for wine and food lovers?
This is foie gras country and eating is the region's number two pastime, second only to drinking Armagnac and wine. Cereals produce great bread while ducks and geese are used for the famous Gascony preserves, pâtés and particularly foie gras.
For more temptations Armagnac FOOD & and CUISINE ..
ARMAGNAC - the Brandy
Armagnac claims a longer history than Cognac, probably first produced by the Moors in the 12th century, and certainly from the 15th century onwards. Isolated from efficient transport links, it remained very much a locally consumed product until the middle of the 18th century. Production contrasts significantly with the much more industrial methods employed in Cognac. There remains a mood of experimentation in Armagnac: they freely use more fragrant grape varieties, along with a variety of distillation methods. It is slightly more rustic in style than Cognac, softer and rounder, with a fuller flavour on both nose and palate. Armagnacs have extraordinary intensity and finesse, allied with the capacity of ageing effortlessly for up to a century, and sometimes even longer.
This is a region of gently rolling hills, hilltop bastide towns and villages, an abundance of rivers and wide-open spaces.
Vineyards – enjoy the warm hospitality and sample Armagnac, Floc de Gascogne, Eau de Vie blanche, and a wide range of red, white and rose wines.
Chateaux - the turbulent history of Gascony has produced fortresses and castles throughout the region.
Historical Bastide villages - relive the lives and architecture of the 12th to 14th centuries in well-preserved heritage villages.
Rivers - river valleys, such as the Gers, Gimone, and Baise drain northwards and water the region.
Architecture - the countryside is dotted with handsome stone-built farm houses, chateaux and elegant manoirs tucked into wooded parks. The houses are often characterised by terre-cuite floors, wide stone fireplaces, carved oak staircases, and built-in fruit-wood cupboards, each with characteristics unique to their district.
To the towns
Eauze - the capital of the Armagnac trade. This old Roman settlement is surrounded by vineyards and remains very much central to the region.
Lectoure - Lectoure is a spectacular town perched on a high rock escarpment with wonderful views stretching all the way to the Pyrenees. It has been an important centre since Gallo-Roman times and was the main residence of the Counts of Armagnac.
Auch - is the capital (prefecture) of the Gers and its largest town with around 20,000 inhabitants.The impressive cathedral of St-Marie holds two of the regions finest art works, the Arnaud de Moles stained glass windows and the 113 carved oak choir stalls. Auch is a vibrant centre of commerce and has numerous good cafes and restaurants.
Condom - in the north of the Gers, is the capital of the Tenareze Armagnac region. It is a beautiful town centred around the cathedral of St-Pierre and although its name is often a source of amusement to English speakers it is believed to be derived from two Latin words "condate" and "dum", meaning confluence and hill respectively.
Fleurance - is a bastide town and an important market town with one of the best markets in the Gers.
Mirande - is a fine example of a 13th-century bastide and now holds an internationally famous country and western festival each year.
Marciac - is an attractive quiet bastide town with some good cafes and restaurants and is well-known for its world famous jazz festival.
Unique foods and Cuisine - Gascon cuisine is wonderful peasant food enhanced with skill and passion. Enjoy the pleasure of Armagnac served with all fruits (apple, orange, pear …) and chocolate desserts or Armagnac and coffee.
ARMAGNAC - world-class!
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