Discover The Wine Regions Of The Dordogne In South West France
Sipping a glass of chilled rosé by the Dordogne river, basking in the warmth of the summer, it’s easy to let the mind drift and forget about the provenance of the fermented grape juice within the glass. But it’s at this time that the vineyard is at one of its most active phases of the annual cycle. The grapes are slowly changing colour under the heat of the summer sun in a process known as veraison.
Although not directly surrounded by vineyards in our little corner of France, we do have some little gems in this neck of the woods, slightly off the beaten track for those intrepid explorers who prefer to discover the slightly lesser-known wines.
To the south we have Cahors, renowned for its intense and tannic reds. Heading west, and before the Grande Appellations of Bordeaux, we touch on some delightful wines from Bergerac, Pécharment and Monbazillac.
You will find Dordogne Holiday Barns cunningly placed pretty much due north of Cahors and due East of Bergerac (map link at top of page for true location).
Wines Of Bergerac
The red wines of Bergerac are made primarily from Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet France and Merlot. So far so Bordeaux you might think. The lesser known local varieties of Malbec (or Côt as it’s known locally), Fer Servadou or Mérille may also be found in the blend.
The red wines tend to be heavier and fuller than Bordeaux, but what they lack in finesse they often more than make up for in a blend of intense dark flavours and hearty tannins which help soak up meaty bbq dishes.
The whites tend to be very dry with good amounts of fruit.
Wines Of Pécharment
The red wines of Pécharment are very similar to Bergerac reds, meaning they are perfect for accompanying local pâtés, charcuterie, confit and red meats.
Wines Of Cahors
In a similar vein, the wines of Cahors produce essentially full-bodied, tannic reds but almost only from the Malbec grape (Tannat and Merlot are allowed in the blend but Malbec must form at least 70% of the wine).
Wines Of Monbazillac
Monbazillac wines are sweet, white wines which are often compared to the more prestigious Sauternes. They are made from the same grape varieties of Sémillon, Sauvignon Blanc and Muscadelle (with often a higher percentage of Muscadelle making up the blend) which benefit from botrytis (noble rot) in the vineyard. This is what helps give the wines their distinctive sweet flavours by concentrating the sugars present in the grapes.