After 31 years working in the prison service, she took the plunge and headed back to the family estate, its vineyards, its barrels and its stone-built winery with its old wooden beams. Myriam Darzacq has been back in Betbezer d'Armagnac (Landes) for some years now, where she has been relearning the methods and techniques of her parents, who she would watch, when she was just a young girl, along with her sister, in this bright 17th century manor, purchased by her great-grandfather for a fair price back in 1933.
Albert and Paulette, both over 80 years old, have been producing Armagnac since 1957 and continue to look after the Domaine de Paguy which has since become a gîte de France and guesthouse and is set at the heart of its 77 hectares of land, including 12.6 of vines. “It was now or never if I wanted to take over”, explains the fifty-year-old whose life is now punctuated by grapes, frosts, harvests and musical evenings around the still which arrived from Nogaro for the annual distillation of their multi-medal-winning Armagnacs.
Almond or red-berry tastes
Myriam talks lovingly about the Floc de Gascogne: “I’ve never ever met anyone who, after having tasted it, didn’t like it!” she says with a desire to rejuvenate the image of an aperitif reserved for granddads and grannies: as a cocktail, such as Mojifloc or Floc Fizz, as well as in cooking, for simply deglazing duck breast fillet or for Floc-jellied chicken...
The Floc, concocted by a Gascogne recipe from the 16th century and a traditional countryfolk well-kept secret, has been protected since 1990 through an Appellation d'origine contrôlée covering 780 hectares in the Gers, the Landes and Lot-et-Garonne. This sweet blend comprising two thirds fresh grape juice and one third young Armagnac has to settle for several months in the winery (cellar) before being bottled. White (perfect drizzled over foie gras or Roquefort) and rosé (today known as red), “there are as many Flocs as there are producers, and a variety of tastes from almond, citrus, cherry to raspberry,” she states.
And, because in local Gascon dialect, floc means a bouquet of flowers, Myriam believes it’s a wonderful idea to offer a bottle to one’s partner as a summertime gift. Instead of just a few days of colours in a vase, the bottle will keep several months in the fridge...
Find out more: www.domaine-de-paguy.com
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