Everywhere that Armagnac is produced, you’ll also find Floc de Gascogne, the ‘Flower of Gascony’, a Vin de Liqueur and an aperitif made since the 1500s.
Essentially, Floc is grape juice mixed with Armagnac, but don’t sniff – it has been strictly AOP since 1989, divided into the same three regions as Armagnac. It follows similarly strict rules: after the addition of Armagnac (which prevents the fresh juice from fermenting, setting the alcoholic content at 16 to 18°), the Floc is aged for a year in oak casks.
Fresh and fruity, it goes down well chilled in the hot months. Floc rosé, made from Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, goes with melons from Lectoure and sheep cheeses from the Pyrenees, while Floc Blanc, made from Colombard, Ugni Blanc (Saint-Émilion) and Gros Manseng, is an aperitif or dessert wine, especially good with a tourtière or slice of Roquefort cheese.
Uniquely in France, Floc owes its revival and success almost exclusively to women, who in 1980 formed the only French female wine confraternity (perhaps ‘consorority’ is the proper word) called the Dames du Floc de Gascogne. Their symbol is a bouquet of violets, roses and plum flowers – the traditional perfumes of Armagnac.
Image by figarou