BEAUTIFUL Bergerac is a tourist honeypot, but a neglected wine region. Many people visit this charming area on the Dordogne, just an hour’s drive east of St Emilion, but rarely seem to remember to buy the wines from here once they return home.
It might not be a classic wine region like its vast near-neighbour Bordeaux, but Bergerac offers excellent hunting ground for bordeaux lookalikes at better prices. Poor Bergerac has lost out time and time again to Bordeaux which controls the port, but in a recession when we are all looking for better value, Bergerac’s wines come into their own.
On the label you want to see Bergerac or Côtes de Bergerac. There is not much between these two appellations apart from a tiny amount of alcohol, but the Côtes reds sometimes have more concentration. Côtes de Bergerac Moelleux are for the sweet wines.
Then it starts to get complicated as there are also tiny sub-appellations around Bergerac all now trying to make a name for themselves: Montravel, Pecharmant, Rosette, Saussignac and the best known, Monbazillac.
I really enjoyed the reds in our tasting, which showed great value for cheaper claret styles. Red wines are now becoming more popular here, as estates have realised their potential. Some appellations, such as Montravel, which were once white wine-only are now allowed to make reds, although the name does not really help them as no-one has heard of Montravel anyway.
I was disappointed with the supermarket versions of the whites and rosés – it was a reminder that despite an influx of keen producers here there are still a lot of poor Bergerac wines on sale.