Is Bergerac wine better value than that of Bordeaux?
Are the wines of Bergerac better value than those of Bordeaux?
At only a tenth of the size of Bordeaux, Bergerac does not pretend to be as important in its wine production as its larger neighbour, but it nevertheless represents very good value for money!
Lying to the east of Bordeaux on the Dordogne river, its grape varieties are the same as those of Bordeaux, namely Sauvignon Blanc, Semillion and Muscadelle for its whites and Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc for its reds. Most whites and roses tend to be dry and fruity but autumn mists over the river help give the right conditions for excellent sweet whites to be produced. The reds tend to be lighter than those of Bordeaux and in terms of quality progress from generic Bergerac and the Cotes to the more serious weightier reds from the Pecharment area to the east of Bergerac just north of the river.
Where can you try or buy these wines and who are the main producers? Well, there are few wines made in the immediate locality except for Vin de Domme and it is an easy drive from Milandes. It is extremely drinkable and we put loads of ice in the rose and drink lots of it! However, it’s never traveled very well back to the UK! There are masses of vineyards between us and the airport including the pecharment area and Milandes is a great base to take a day or two’s tour of a selection of vineyards. Good drinkable fresh and fruity whites and roses can be bought in the vineyard from five euros upwards. As regards reds, the French tend to drink their wines younger than we do and the best are available for under fifteen euros with masses of selection below this. Only a few would merit putting down but that means you can enjoy them when on holiday. Having said that, we have brought back several vintages over the years which were bought at very low prices, perhaps not with same sophistication of a Classed Bordeaux claret but certainly with a similar enjoyment.
There is an excellent wine merchant in Sarlat called “Julien de Savignac”. Oddly enough, I only found it in 2012, (over a decade after we bought Les Milandes) but have since returned on numerous occasions – it stocks many good Bergerac wines as well as expensive clarets, brandies, champagne etc and is definitely worth a visit and their website is a good source of information.
Restaurant wine lists tend to feature similar producers but in principle offer reasonable value.
Good producers of white, rose and red include: Julien de Savignac, Chx Jaubertie, Belingard, L’Ancienne Cure, Grinou, Clos d’Yvigne, Vari……..
Pecharment Reds: Tiregand, Costes, Biran, Champarel, Chemins d’Orient………
Well, is it better value than Bordeaux? Who knows? I feel as happy after a good bottle of Bergerac wine as I do Bordeaux and also feel a lot less poor! Definitely worth a try.
You can read my blog about organic and biodynamic wines here.