The Wines of Bergerac – Grape varieties – the more the merrier?

by Martin Walker

The Bergerac wine region is currently being rocked and increasingly transformed by three separate revolutions. The first is the steady shift towards organic wines. The second is the quiet rebellion against the strictures of the appellation contrôlée system which regulate the varieties of grapes permitted. The third is climate change, which is accelerating the first two movements.

The experts at the Maison des Vins in Bergerac reckon that their region has now nosed ahead of Alsace as the most organic region in France, and the Saussignac district is poised to be the first all-organic appellation in the country. But there is a catch. Organic does not quite mean what it says. Under European Union rules, wines can be described as being made from organic grapes, which means grown without chemical fertilisers, pesticides and herbicides.

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