Gascony landscape – With woodland and rolling hills, Gascony has a landscape to beat Bourdeaux. Some travelers are finding its wine and cuisine a match, as well.
Enjoyed young – "Unlike most Bordeaux wines, which require aging, Gascony's wines are meant to be enjoyed now," says Remy Grassa, co-owner of Domaine du Tariquet, Gascony's largest producer.
Heard of this one? – Gascony's 1,200 wineries produce more than 100 million bottles per year. Among them are dry, aromatic whites made from native grapes like petit manseng and ugni blanc.
Almost secret brandy – Gascony is also known for Armagnac. A lesser known brandy with a quality arguably superior to that of Cognac. It's affectionately known as "the brandy the French keep for themselves."
Craft distillers – "We're not competing with Cognac -- they're much better at marketing than we are," says Benoit Hillion of Bas-Armagnac Dartigalongue, the oldest brandy producer in the region.
Gascon cuisine – In recent years, local restaurants like Le Loft and La Vie en Rose have made efforts to elevate traditional Gascon farmhouse fare, like Magret de canard, for visitors.
La Belle vie de Chateau – On the outskirts of each village in Gascony are numerous beautiful gites: country cottages, often part of a farm or estate, that are rented out to visitors.
Wine trails – Instead of well-trodden wine trails, Gascony has hand-painted signposts along rugged country roads.