Bergerac: French Wine Region

Tuesday, March 20th, 2007 at 12:00 am

As a distinct wine-producing region of France, Bergerac has its own unique qualities that make it special. Here are a few facts about this French wine region.

History

Bergerac is another one of France’s wine-producing regions. Its origin correlates to the dawn of the Romano-Gallic civilization. The varietal of wine that is grown in these first plantations were called "Biturca" which is a name that is descriptive of the tribe that first introduced its cultivation "Bituriges Vivisques".

Technically, is the grand predecessor of the current Cabernet that all of us know. It is grown for its ability to be able to grow despite bad weather. It also has the ability to produce enough yield that increasingly improves over the years.

Some of the very first documents that support for the evidence and localization of the vineyard of Bergerac can be trace all the way back to the 13th century. The documents that were recovered indicate the  abbeys and the domains were the very first to own the main divisions of vineyards. This continues to stretch across the North bank of the Dordogne which is about a 10 to 15 km radius around Bergerac. It then extended to the Montravel region. The "Vinee de Bergerac" soon expanded to the South, across the river.

Landscapes and terroir

The wine-producing region of Bergerac is traversed by the river Dordogne and it is irrigated by a large number of its channels. When it is seen from a geological point of view, the terrain and the formations of the region on its surface as primarily linked to the Tertiary and Quaternary periods.

The region boasts of a vast landscape that stretches with hills which are called ‘boulbenes’ which are siliceous soil which have a high chalk content from the hill slopes of Monbazillac. The wine regions also stretches from the plateau of the Tertiary Era and soil from the Quaternary period which are widely exposed to the rays of the sun on separate banks of the Dordogne.

The overall surface area of the Bergerac wine region if measured in terms of production is around 12,220 hectares. This includes all of Bergerac A.O.C. which includes 6,200 hectares for the red Bergerac A.O.C. and 3,400 hectares for white Bergerac A.O.C.

Grape varieties in the region

With regard to their grape varieties that the wine region uses, Bergerac red wines are the Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cot or Malbec and the rarer Fer Servadou Merille or Perigord.

The white wines, the wine region uses grape varieties which are Semillon, Sauvignon, Muscadelle and in a very small proportion the Ondenc and the Chenin blanc. Another occasional variety is the Ugni blanc. They are usually vinified after either they are totally or partially stemmed.

The Cotes de Bergerac are from the best of each wine grower. These are aged in barrels and it produced as rose wines through maceration. Bergerac white wines on the other hand are treated by setting aside a plot for their particular characteristics.

There you have it! An overall look at the Bergerac wine-producing region of France!