The Wines of Bergerac – The pedigree of Bergerac wines

by Martin Walker

Like most Brits who live in this part of France, I enjoy the wine and believe that the wines of Bergerac represent what the French call un bon rapport qualité-prix, or excellent value for money. The effect of speculation, wine investors and the surging demand from China have combined to price the most celebrated wines of Bordeaux out of the reach of most of us. In this and future columns, I plan to suggest some of the Bergerac wines that I find most appealing and which will not break the bank.

Bergerac wines have a very long pedigree. Laurent de Bosredon, who built up Château Bélingard, reckons his is the oldest vineyard in Western Europe, and proudly displays a Celtic chair chiseled from stone to prove it. The name itself comes from the Celtic: ‘gaard’ meant garden and ‘Belinos’ was the god of the sun and of war. And wine was being made when this region was part of the Roman Empire. The competition so alarmed the Italian winegrowers that in 96AD they appealed to the Emperor Domitian to ban the sale of wines from Gaul and destroy the vines.

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