When in Aquitaine, head to the Maison du Vin of each town to find out more about the local appelation and to taste and buy some great local wines. We headed to the one in Bergerac and thought their museum was excellent, with a great timeline of wine making in the region contextualised with wider world history. It is attached to a beautiful medieval cloister which is also well worth visiting and all free. They also have a fun game where you try to identify smells, but we thought that some of them we couldn’t identify even when we had read the answer of what it was supposed to be!
Then we headed through to the tasting room for our free taste. We came back later for more tastes and purchases, but the first 5 we had were definitely interesting and a good mixture of the different appelations available in the area.
Subtilité, Montravel dry white 2013
Light, floral and fruity on the nose. A high acidity gives a crisp taste, tart in the back of the mouth. There is a hint of green pepper and crisp green apples, but it is not as complex as some, still a young wine.
Bergerac sec 2013
Barely there on the nose, with notes of florals like honeysuckle. There is a slight alcohol note on th enose which is not really there in the mouth. It is much rounder than the dry white, less acid, but a little watery – not a particularly refined or full flavour. Having said that it does have lemons, blossom and some salinity or mineral elements. The K on the bottle looks like a weird symbol, so we have decided it is the wine formerly known as Prince.
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Chateau Grand Conseil
Bergerac red, 2011
This organic wine has scents of black cherry and light oak. It is a more mature flavour, hefty in the mouth with a punchy tannin but still quite a delicate black fruit flavour with warming elements of light smoke and licorice. It would be nice with food but not an easy drink on its own – there is a light ethanol hint on the finish even though it is relatively light on alcohol at 13%.
Domaine des Costes
A mix of blackcurrant and oak which is mellow and round on the nose from this Pecharmant, a red only producing appelation. It is surprisingly light at first in th mouth but then develops more body in the mouth, but a short finish which is light with a tinge of cherry. It dries the mouth afterwards, sort of acidic and slightly harsh – again it would be good with food, most likely duck and gamey flavours, but not great to drink on its own. Also slightly acetony on the finish, and almost crunchy mineral elements picked up from the stony hillsides from which the winery derives its name.
Cotes de Bergerac
Le Petit Paris, 2003
Deep and savoury, this is a heavy, deep wine with a rich savoury and rounded flavour which is black as night in colour. It has aged well, bringing out a surprising fragile pear note in between the deep punch of the flavour and full texture.