Something sweet? Wine tasting at the Maison des Vins, Monbazillac

When you visit somewhere and get told that there are more hectares of vines than head of population, then you know it’s going to produce some gems. And it makes you want to move there, immediately. This is how it was when we cycled down to Monbazillac during our recent visit to Bergerac. I’ve already written about the surprisingly excellent wines we sampled at Chateau Peroudier, so now let’s have a little looksy at what we uncovered at Monbazillac‘s Maison des Vins. It’s dessert winetastic, I’ll tell you that for nothing.

Look at all those bottles of golden loveliness!

Chateau Vignal La Brie, 2013
Aromas of spring blossom and a very light apricot give way to a less sweet dessert wine taste, which is rounded in the mouth without being too syrupy. Again the apricot predominates, and gives a light finish which does not leave a lingering sweetness in the mouth. Has a slight earthy quality from the ‘noble rot’ which would match well with blue cheese.

Chateau Bellevue, 2009
A light, straw coloured wine which is punchier, although less sweet on the nose than the Vignal La Brie – it barely gives anything away until you taste and then BAM! Vanilla, a touch of almond – like marzipan and apricot jam on the palette. Very cakey. A cake eater’s wine. Very delicious and a naughty treat.

Chateau La Borderie, 2007
A vineyard has existed on this site since the 14th century, so you’d hope they know what they’re doing and by jingo, they do. This wine has a deeper, more orangey colour due to its age and more acetone notes on the nose, not particularly fruity or floral. It is sweet and round but fades away delightfully on the finish. That said the tastes of peach and deep honey make it a little stickier than the others, but also more complex. We also found notes of fig. Delicious and deep. A crowd pleaser.

Chateau du Combet, 2006
Deep, almost whisky like in colour, this is light on the nose but then turned out to be the most complex and well rounded of the bunch. In an exciting turn of events this one transpired to taste like that pink water that you get at the dentists (but in a good way) – it was like grapefruit without the acid, the ubiquitous honey, perhaps a dash of mint and also orange flavours. An interesting twist on the Monbazillac mantra.

Chateau Vieux Touron, 2005
This is a Monbazillac for those who aren’t messing around. Fascinating aromas of crunchy leaves on the forest floor with this one, then it smacks you around the chops with sweet, sticky honey flavours. No florals, but lots of earthy, truffley (is that a word?) notes with a slight tannin element, which is more acidic than tangy. Not my favourite, but it packs a hefty, jammy bag and brings it home.


Bestselling author and freelance drinks writer. Champion of pubs and breweries. Occasional printmaker.

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