Cordes sur Ciel Wines and spirits
There are many varieties of wine produced close to Cordes sur Ciel, from sparkling white to full-bodied red and around 100 vineyards are open to the public for tasting sessions (dégustation) within about 20 km of the town. Many producers invite you to tour the vineyard and the winery itself and some even provide picnic areas where you can relax whilst having your lunch.
Gaillac holds a wine festival in August both in the town and on the surrounding wine estates. Outside of the festival weekend, there are a number of companies offering organised half- and whole-day tours to help you discover the best on offer. The diversity of the terrain means that many varieties of grape do well here and almost everyone will find a favourite vintage to take home.
Dry white wines (blanc sec) are produced using Len de l'el or Sauvignon Blanc, either singly or together and then blended with grapes such as Mauzac, Ondenc or Semillon. The dry whites are recommended to accompany fish and white meats. There is also a sparkling version (fraîcheur perlée). Sweet white wines (doux) of the region complement not only desserts, but also foie gras and cheese.
The red wines (rouge) of the region are made from Braucol and Duras grapes, blended with others according to the producer's preference. These wines are richly flavoured and hold their own when accompanying spicy dishes and game.
The spirit of the Midi-Pyrénées is Armagnac, distilled from white wine and aged in oak barrels. Various liqueurs are made using Armagnac and local fruits such as raspberries, cherries and plums. Other liqueurs are produced using walnuts (Quercy Noix), quinces (Liqueur de Coing) or violets (Violette de Toulouse).