What better way to spend a relaxed, romantic holiday than sampling some of the country’s delectable delights aboard a barge cruise? Here are a few of the specialities you should definitely try…
This alcoholic beverage is a signature speciality of Gascony. While it does share some similarities with its counterpart cognac, Armagnac is different from because of the way it is produced. 95% of the drink is distilled only once, using a specific form of continuous still – the Armagnac alembic. It is then aged in 400-liter oak barrels and stored in cellars. It can even be matured for up to 50 years before being packaged in glass bottles.
Armagnac can be divided into two main categories: vintage and non-vintage. Vintage Armagnacs are distilled from grapes grown in a single year, with the date displayed on the bottle. Non-vintage Armagnacs can either be labelled by age, where the number of years quoted relates to the youngest component of the blend or by category: VS (minimum two years in wood), VSOP (at least four years), XO (more than six years) or Hors d’Age (10 years plus).
Armagnac is the oldest brandy distilled in France. In the past, it was consumed for its therapeutic benefits. A cardinal in the 14th century, Prior Vital Du Four, wrote that it had 40 virtues:
It makes disappear redness and burning of the eyes, and stops them from tearing; it cures hepatitis, sober consumption adhering. It cures gout, cankers, and fistula by ingestion; restores the paralysed member by massage; and heals wounds of the skin by application. It enlivens the spirit, partaken in moderation, recalls the past to memory, renders men joyous, preserves youth and retards senility. And when retained in the mouth, it loosens the tongue and emboldens the wit, if someone timid from time to time himself permits.
Armagnac is usually produced by smaller family businesses rather than large global conglomerates which makes it a true delicacy that is ideally savoured in its place of origin. Learn more about Armagnac on a barge cruise aboard the French Hotel Barge Rosa.
Wine from Château Bellevue la Forêt
Included in Rosa’s standard itinerary is a visit to the famous vineyard Château Bellevue la Forêt. For wine lovers, this gorgeous estate is akin to a sprawling paradise of vine and vino. Spread out over 270 acres, it’s the largest single privately-owned wine estate in the southwest of France and the wines produced here have won several accolades and awards worldwide.
Château Bellevue la Forêt is produced from the following fine varieties :
- 57 hectares of NEGRETTE (a variety specific to the Fronton Appellation and rarely encountered elsewhere)
- 6 hectares of CABERNET FRANC
- 16 hectares of SYRAH
- 12.5 hectares of CABERNET SAUVIGNON
- 7 hectares of GAMAY
- 2.3 hectares of white grapes (Viognier, Roussanne, Petit Manseng).
This wine tasting is a wonderfully informative way to get to know a little bit more about the wine making process in an impossibly romantic surrounding!
Why Visit Gascony By Hotel Barge?
Ask Paradise Connections to arrange your luxury hotel barge cruise and the food, wine and excursions are taken care of. Just sit back on deck and relax with a drink in hand while Barge Rosa transports you to wonderful places of interest, such as the delightful 14th century Chateau de Duras, located in the heart of the Nouvelle-Aquitaine Region of South West France or the historical Château de Goudourville which has been transformed from an old medieval fortress into a welcoming château. Each evening is a three or four course culinary journey that showcases the best of the regional specialities. After your meal you are more than welcome to a digestif and a dip in the hot tub beneath the stars…
About The French Hotel Barge Rosa
Rosa’s charming accommodation for eight guests features two double and two twin-bedded staterooms, all with private ensuite bathrooms, and a saloon that gives direct access onto the spacious sundeck. A cruise on Hotel Barge Rosa is the ideal way to explore this beautiful, pastoral region of Southwest France.
Rosa’s Gascony route from Agen to Montauban on the Canal des Deux Mers, a delightful waterway that links the Atlantic to the
Mediterranean, features the best that the region has to offer: Armagnac,
foie gras, and wine tastings, delightful French countryside, and
Gascony Route Between Agen and Montauban:
- (Click to view itinerary)
- April 14 – June 29
- July 28 – August 10
Bordeaux-Gascony Route Between Castets-en-Dorthe and Boé:
- (Click to view itinerary)
- June 30 – July 27
- August 11 – October 26
Rosa still has good availability for cabin cruises on both routes BUT there are only two weeks left for private charters:
- October 13-19, 2019
- October 20-26, 2019