France: South West France

The Dordogne

The Wines of Bergerac, Duras, Marmande and Buzet
By Paul Strang

This Guide was last updated on 28 July 2011
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Main grape varieties

Red

Cabernet Sauvignon
Can be difficult to ripen on cooler, damper soils and thrives better on well-drained warm gravel soils. Adds structure and tannins to the blends, with flavours of blackcurrant.

Merlot
Produces supple wines that develop earlier and complements Cabernet Sauvignon in the red wine blends.

Cabernet Franc
A lighter and less intense version of Cabernet Sauvignon that can give the wines finesse and bouquet.

Malbec
Often known here as Cot, it is a useful blending ingredient giving structure and colour.

Côt or Cot
Alternative name for Malbec.

Fer Servadou
Occasional ingredient in Bergerac reds. It adds colour, body and blackcurrant and raspberry aromas.

Abouriou
Uniquely local to Marmande and obligatory as a minority grape in the blend.


White

Sauvignon Blanc
Used for dry white wines giving good acidity and citrus flavours.

Sémillon
Dominant grape in Bergerac, often blended with Sauvignon Blanc, gives richness and structure to dry whites. It is the principal grape for the sweet white wines since it is particularly susceptible to noble rot.

Muscadelle
Adds perfumed character and is mainly used for sweet whites.

Chenin Blanc
Used occasionally in blends.


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