One of the joys of France is the discovery of novel drinks and aperitifs. One of our favourites has been Floc de Gascogne which is a rich and aromatic blend of Armagnac and unfermented grape juice made to a traditional Gascony recipe originating in the 16th century. Both grape juice and Armagnac must come from the same vineyard and be stored for at least 10 months following blending. Floc de Gascogne can only be sold following approval by a committee of experts giving Appellation d’Origine Floc de Gascogne approval.
Recommended as an aperitif, served chilled but without ice, Floc is smooth, fresh and full of juicy, fruity flavours. In order to retain the Floc’s freshness and aromas, it is best drunk the year following its purchase.
We can recommend the red and white Floc which comes from Domaine de Lauroux at Manciet (32 Gers, Midi-Pyrenees) near Nogaro in the heart of Armagnac and Three Musketeers country. Here the new English owners Karen and Nick Kitchener use aged Armagnacs – this makes a notable difference to the taste – giving extra warmth and depth.
A similar concept is Pineau des Charentes which uses Cognac rather than Armagnac. It is always interesting that whilst in the UK Cognac is considered more important, if you see the wine list in a good restaurant in France, or visit the trendy food stores in Paris such as Fauchon in the Place de la Madeleine, they clearly rank Armagnac as the pre-eminent brandy.
Armagnac from Domaine de Laroux is available in the UK from:
Bentleys of Ludlow
www.winesoftheworld.co.uk in London and
Philip Pruden Wines Tel: 01476 860257 PHILIPWINE@aol.com who also stock the Floc de Gascogne.
The Armagnac is also available at one of our local restaurants – The Butchers Arms at Priors Marston, near Southam in Warwickshire.
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