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Comprehensive description of all European growing areas, their grape varieties, traditions and legal rules with maps.

Bergerac AOC

Description to Bergerac AOC

The appellation (also Bergeracois) is named after the town of the same name east of Bordeaux. With over 12,000 hectares of vineyards, it is the largest wine-growing region in southwest France. Wine is grown in about 90 of the 133 municipalities. They are located in the southeast of the Dordogne department along the river of the same name. As enclaves in this huge area there are the independent appellations Monbazillac, Montravel (with subappellations Côtes de Montravel and Haut-Montravel), Pécharmant, Rosette and Saussignac.

Karte von Bergerac mit Appellationen

The Romans were already cultivating wine here in the 1st century and reached its highest flowering in the Middle Ages through the monasteries of the Benedictines and Cistercians. At that time, Bergerac was called Haut-Pays (Upper Country) together with other areas. For centuries Bergerac was in competition with its "big brother" Bordeaux and was also fought with unfair means. The Bergerac wines had to be shipped via the port of Bordeaux and small barrels were prescribed for the small neighbour. Since the customs duty was not calculated according to volume but according to the number of barrels, this made exportation more difficult, but nevertheless wine from Bergerac attained world fame at that time. A prominent lover was the Prussian King Frederick II the Great (1712-1786). After the Hundred Years' War (1337-1453) between England and France in the battle for French mainland (including Bordeaux), the Dutch wine trade dominated, and for two centuries it was used to promote sweet wine. The vineyards were about three times as large at that time.

The oceanic climate is characterised by heavy rainfall in spring and late autumn, hot and dry summers and mild winters. The frequent fog in the Dordogne valley favours the formation of botrytis (noble rot). To the north of Bergerac, the soil to the right of the river consists of gravel-sand sediments on a limestone base and further downstream of limestone with red clay. On the left bank, limestone with clay predominates. The most important red and rosé wines are Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec(Cot), Fer and Mérille. The most important white wines are Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon, Muscadelle, Ondenc, Chenin Blanc and Ugni Blanc(Trebbiano Toscano).

There are two different appellation designations for the red, rosé and white wines. The reason is not the terroir, as one might think because of the term "Côtes", but rather the different types of wine. Under Bergerac, fruity wines that can be drunk young are produced. The storable wines Côtes de Bergerac are subject to stricter conditions with lower yield and higher alcohol content. The designation Côtes de Bergerac moelleux applies only to sweet white wines made from dried grapes. Well-known producers in Bergerac are Château Bélingard, Château Court-les-Muts, Château de la Colline, Château de la Mallevieille, Château du Bloy, Château Grinou, Château la Plante, Château le Mayne, Château le Raz, Château Tour des Gendres, Clos d'Yvigne, Domaine Constant, Domaine de la Jaubertie, Domaine de Richard and Domaine Grand Maison

Map: From Cyril5555 - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link