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Bergerac: Worth investigating

Sarah Chugg, Manager of Majestic Wine Yeovil, takes us on a tour of world-renowned Bergerac

LogoTo the east of the vineyards of Bordeaux, in the very heart of the Périgord-Dordogne region sits the ancient city of Bergerac, producer of wines since Roman times. Characterised by a compact maze of elegant Renaissance and Medieval buildings dotted with gourmet restaurants and street entertainers, the city is a joy to wander. The Dordogne River is a huge draw, especially for trips on a gabarre (traditional wine boat).

Small is beautiful

Bergerac is famous for its wine, and a short trip to the city’s outskirts reveals the home of some of the world’s finest vintages. The wine region encompasses 93 villages, covering an area of more than 12,000 hectares. There are around 1200 wine growers tending vineyards here of which the average size is just 11-12 hectares and half the vineyards are less than 7 hectares in size.

BergeracWhat’s in a name?

Bergerac is one of the rare regions in France to produce nearly as many white wines as red (around 48% versus 52%). The area contains 13 Appellations Contrôlées. All of these appellations: Bergerac red wine, Côtes de Bergerac red wine, Bergerac dry white wine, Bergerac rosé wine and Côtes de Bergerac sweet white wines, can be grown in all of the Bergerac vineyards.

The wines to watch

In 1990 Patricia Atkinson moved to the village of Gageac in Bergerac to take on the small vineyard Clos d’Yvigne. She had no knowledge of wine making and she spoke little French. From humble beginnings of four hectares the vineyard has evolved into a sizeable 21-hectare estate. Today it’s responsible for outstanding wines known internationally for their high quality and excellence. Here at Majestic Wine, we’re delighted to be able to stock the whole range.

Clos d'Yvigne Princesses de Clèves 2009 Bergerac Blanc Sec  Clos d’Yvigne ‘Princesse de Clèves’ 2009, Bergerac Sec
£8.99 or £6.99 when you buy 2 bottles

Elderflower and nettles dominate on the nose, while the palate brings flavours of fresh citrus and a hint of herbs. This crisp, clean, well-rounded wine is great with chicken-liver pâté on crispy melba toast.

Clos d'Yvigne Cuvée Nicolas 2009 Bergerac Sec  Clos d’Yvigne ‘Cuvée Nicolas’ 2009, Bergerac Sec
£9.99 or £7.99 when you buy 2 bottles

A more complex offering, this wine has been fermented in oak, yielding aromas of melon and grapefruit. The palate has a weighty mouth feel with notes of citrus peel and hints of vanilla.

Clos d'Yvigne Le Rouge et Le Noir 2007/2008  Clos d’Yvigne ‘Le Rouge et Le Noir’ 2007/08, Bergerac
£9.99 or £7.99 when you buy 2 bottles

Aged in oak for up to 2 years, this 75% Merlot 25% Cabernet Sauvignon blend is a dense purple colour, brimming full of ripe black fruits and hints of cedar. One to enjoy with roasted venison.

Clos d'Yvigne Le Prince 2007 Côtes de Bergerac  Clos d’Yvigne ‘Le Prince’ 2007/08, Bergerac
£9.99 or £7.99 when you buy 2 bottles

Ruby coloured in the glass, plums and cherries on the nose lead to a mouthful of red fruit, sweet spice and light smoky notes. This blend of 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc makes a great match for autumn meat casseroles.

Clos d'Yvigne Bel Ami Rosé 2008 Bergerac  Clos d’Yvigne Bel-Ami Rosé 2008/09, Bergerac
£8.99 or £6.99 when you buy 2 bottles

A warm evening wine, this rosé is made from Merlot. The wine has 10-12 hours in contact with the skins, giving it a lovely deep rose pink colour. Enjoy the taste of fresh raspberries, strawberries and cherries, complemented by a crisp acidity.

Clos d'Yvigne Saussignac 2005 50cl Bottle  Clos d’Yvigne Saussignac 2005/06
£19.99

South-west of Bergerac is the younger, smaller appellation of Saussignac, famous for its sweet white wines. Expect a complex mix of honey, apricots, peaches, vanilla, marmalade, butterscotch and a hint of liquorice. The intense sweetness is well balanced with natural acidity.

Bergerac Online

For more information as well as food and wine matches from the region, visit bergeracgourmet.com/uk

Prices valid until 31 October 2011.

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