The French wine growing region of Bergerac has long lived in the shadow of Bordeaux, but while its wines cannot compete with its more illustrious neighbour, there are hidden pleasures to discover for undaunted wine enthusiasts.
Bergerac wine tours will introduce visitors to a land of picturesque valleys, fields and forests with vineyards cultivated by over 1,200 wine growers in a sub-region that covers the hills on either side of the Dordogne River in south-west France.
It’s the river that gives Bergerac its lifeline, providing the valley with all the fertility of its alluvial soil while softening the climate. The right bank features terraces with a mixture of different soils while the opposite left bank rises in a series of hillsides with predominantly limestone soils – it’s these differences in terroir that contribute to the marked characteristics of the region’s wines. The wines from Bergerac resemble those from Bordeaux, with vineyards dominated by the same Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon grape varieties – albeit produced in a style that doesn’t take itself as seriously.
There are 13 appellations under the French AOC (Appellations d’origine controlees) classification that can be explored on Bergerac wine tours. They produce a variety of wines, of which only 15% ever leave the country – with the United Kingdom, Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands the most likely export markets.
At Wine Paths, our local expert can arrange the best wine tours Bergerac has to offer, including elaborate tastings, luxury accommodations, fine dining experiences and unique activities across the region and beyond. Our private tours can be tailor-made to meet your exact specifications, ensuring every detail is taken care of so that you can relax and enjoy the matter at hand – sampling some of Bergerac’s well priced premium wines.
The most renowned appellations to visit as part of Bergerac wine tours are Monbazillac, which is exclusively renowned for its sweet dessert wines, and the Cotes de Bergerac where most of the region’s better quality wines can be found. The red and white wines of the Cotes de Bergerac are made predominantly from Merlot and Semillon respectively and represent a more relaxed alternative to the serious blends from Bordeaux – as well as being far greater in value.
Bergerac wine tours typically involve an opportunity to explore the vineyards and cellars accompanied by an expert guide to explain the characteristics of the region and the wine making process before tasting a range of the finest wines, often paired with local cusine. While Bergerac wines are not particularly exceptional or even fashionable, some wine makers in the region have been experimenting with innovative techniques such as barrel maturation to improve the quality of their production.
When not indulging in Bergerac wine tours, the so-called old town is worth exploring, especially the gentle upward sloping main square, Place Pelissiere, which features one of the town’s statues of Cyrano de Bergerac – although the connection between the place and the famous literary character barely exists in truth. Meanwhile, in the new town there is a maze of narrow streets, boutique shops and cafes to discover while the market in the town centre on Saturday is one of the largest and most colourful in the Dordogne.
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