The Wines of Bergerac – Château Bélingard

by Martin Walker

If you want a bit of history to go with your wine tastings, you can do no better than to visit the Château Bélingard in Pomport, ten minutes south of Bergerac on the D17. Just before the turn-off to the vineyard you will pass a small stone monument. This was the place where a disaffected and partly dispossessed local baron, Antoine de Rudel, started the Hundred Years War with a little local skirmish. The vineyard is less than an arrow flight away.

If you like your history even older, you will find on the château grounds a boulder into which the Celts carved a sacrificial stone chair. Indeed the name Bélingard comes from Celtic roots. Belinos was their god of the sun and of war. Gaard was their term for garden. So this is the garden of the sun god and maybe the war god, too. The stone chair is aligned precisely along the point of midday between sunrise and sunset on the day of the spring equinox.

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