Bergerac wine

Last updated
Bergerac
Wine region
Appellations bergerac AOC version3.png
Typewine region, subregion of South West France
Year establishedfirst appellations created in 1936
CountryFrance
Size of planted vineyards12,000 hectares (30,000 acres) [1]
Grapes producedRed: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Côt, Fer, Mérille and Merlot. White: Chenin blanc, Ondenc, Muscadelle, Sauvignon, Sémillon and Ugni blanc.

The Bergerac wine-growing region, a subregion of South West France around the town of Bergerac in the Dordogne department, comprises 93 communes. Its boundaries correspond more or less with those of the Arrondissement of Bergerac, immediately east of the Bordeaux wine region. 1,200 wine-growers cultivate an area of 12,000 hectares (30,000 acres). The Bergerac area contains 13 Appellations d'origine contrôlées (AOCs) for red, white (dry, medium-sweet and sweet) and rosé wines.

Wine alcoholic drink made from grapes

Wine is an alcoholic drink made from fermented grapes. Yeast consumes the sugar in the grapes and converts it to ethanol, carbon dioxide, and heat. Different varieties of grapes and strains of yeasts produce different styles of wine. These variations result from the complex interactions between the biochemical development of the grape, the reactions involved in fermentation, the terroir, and the production process. Many countries enact legal appellations intended to define styles and qualities of wine. These typically restrict the geographical origin and permitted varieties of grapes, as well as other aspects of wine production. Wines not made from grapes include rice wine and fruit wines such as plum, cherry, pomegranate, currant and elderberry.

South West France (wine region) French wine region

South West France, or in French Sud-Ouest, is a wine region in France covering several wine-producing areas situated respectively inland from, and south of, the wine region of Bordeaux. These areas, which have a total of 16,000 hectares of vineyards, consist of several discontinuous wine "islands" throughout the Aquitaine region, and more or less to the west of the Midi-Pyrénées region.

Bergerac, Dordogne Subprefecture and commune in Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France

Bergerac is a commune and a sub-prefecture of the Dordogne department in southwestern France. Bergerac is designated as a 'City of Art and History' by the Ministry of Culture (France). It is the secondmost populated prefecture in the Dordogne, after Périgueux.

Contents

The vineyards extend across the southern part of the Dordogne department, the Arrondissement (urban district) of Bergerac. Bergerac soil also features excellent drainage as a result of its proximity to the Dordogne River.

Approximately fifteen per cent of Bergerac AOC wine is sold outside France mainly to Great Britain, Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands. [2]

History

As in the neighbouring wine-growing area of Bordeaux, the cultivation of vines began in this recently created country district of Bergeracois with the arrival of the Romans. Vines occupied a rapidly expanding place in the local economy, the River Dordogne helped to promote the wine trade along its navigable sections. The fall of the Roman Empire had few adverse effects on wine-growing, since the Visigoths, who became the country's new masters, were great wine drinkers.

Ancient Rome History of Rome from the 8th-century BC to the 5th-century

In Historiography, ancient Rome is Roman civilization from the founding of the Italian city of Rome in the 8th century BC to the collapse of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD, encompassing the Roman Kingdom, Roman Republic and Roman Empire until the fall of the western empire. The civilization began as an Italic settlement in the Italian Peninsula, conventionally founded in 753 BC, that grew into the city of Rome and which subsequently gave its name to the empire over which it ruled and to the widespread civilisation the empire developed. The Roman Empire expanded to become one of the largest empires in the ancient world, though still ruled from the city, with an estimated 50 to 90 million inhabitants ) and covering 5.0 million square kilometres at its height in AD 117.

Roman Empire Period of Imperial Rome following the Roman Republic (27 BC–476 AD)

The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of ancient Rome, consisting of large territorial holdings around the Mediterranean sea in Europe, North Africa and West Asia ruled by emperors. From the accession of Caesar Augustus to the military anarchy of the third century, it was a principate with Italy as metropole of the provinces and its city of Rome as sole capital. The Roman Empire was then ruled by multiple emperors and divided into a Western Roman Empire, based in Milan and later Ravenna, and an Eastern Roman Empire, based in Nicomedia and later Constantinople. Rome remained the nominal capital of both parts until 476 AD, when it sent the imperial insignia to Constantinople following the capture of Ravenna by the barbarians of Odoacer and the subsequent deposition of Romulus Augustus. The fall of the Western Roman Empire to Germanic kings, along with the hellenization of the Eastern Roman Empire into the Byzantine Empire, is conventionally used to mark the end of Ancient Rome and the beginning of the Middle Ages.

Visigoths Gothic tribe

The Visigoths were the western branches of the nomadic tribes of Germanic peoples referred to collectively as the Goths. These tribes flourished and spread throughout the late Roman Empire in Late Antiquity, or what is known as the Migration Period. The Visigoths emerged from earlier Gothic groups who had invaded the Roman Empire beginning in 376 and had defeated the Romans at the Battle of Adrianople in 378. Relations between the Romans and the Visigoths were variable, alternately warring with one another and making treaties when convenient. The Visigoths invaded Italy under Alaric I and sacked Rome in 410. After the Visigoths sacked Rome, they began settling down, first in southern Gaul and eventually in Hispania, where they founded the Visigothic Kingdom and maintained a presence from the 5th to the 8th centuries AD.

The arrival of the Saracens and the subsequent Viking raids dealt a severe blow to wine-growing. The Muslims ordered the uprooting of all vines and this, combined with the threat of danger from the northern invaders, caused communities to withdraw into themselves and killed off all trade.

The Bergerac area has produced wines since the thirteenth century and has exported wines since 1254, when it began shipping its vintages to England based on special privileges granted by Henry III of England. These dispensations gave the Bergerac community the right to assembly, special tax exemptions and the right to ship their wines to Bordeaux unhindered. By the fourteenth century, Bergerac had strictly defined quality standards for its wine growing areas. Despite Bergerac's special privileges, during this period, Bordeaux was known to use its position, downriver and near the mouth of the Garonne river, to give its own wines priority over barrels of Bergerac wines being transported on freight carrying "gabarres" (river barges). However, the Parlement of Guyenne granted Bergerac a charter to transport freely its wines to the Atlantic in 1511. By that time, the Protestant-dominated Bergerac was also trading with Holland and Scandinavia via an overland route. [3]

Renaissance to modern day

The south-western province of La Guyenne was an area in which Calvinism prospered. When the Wars of Religion broke out, many Protestants emigrated, in particular to Holland. Their attachment to their own regional produce meant that the popularity of Bergerac wines soared. The wine-growers decided to change their strategy and concentrate on producing dry white and sweet dessert wines, which were sought by this market.

In the 20th century, when the boundaries of the Bordeaux wine-growing area were being drawn up, it was decided they should match those of the Gironde department. Bergerac wines, which had long been sold under the generic name, Bordeaux, had to forge a new and separate identity overnight. The Libourne merchants who had traditionally sold these wines, now gave priority to wines with a Bordeaux label before even attempting to find a market for their other wines.

Etymology

The name Bergerac apparently comes from the word "Bragayrac", which is derived from the Gallic word "braca", meaning "manufacturer of breeches" (the baggy trousers worn by the Gauls).

Soil composition and geology

View of the vineyards from the Chateau of Monbazillac, with Bergerac in the background. P1060951 Vue sur Bergerac depuis le chateau de Monbazillac.JPG
View of the vineyards from the Château of Monbazillac, with Bergerac in the background.

The nature of the soils mirrors the extent of the wine-growing area. [4]

The lacustrian calcareous source rock of the south-eastern area produces brown soil containing calcareous pebbles. The soil varies in thickness.

To the north of the River Dordogne, the source rock contains sands and clays mixed with gravel; the latter produce acid soils with a faded brown colour, while an accumulation of minerals deep below the surface create an impermeable sub-stratum known as "tran".

In the south-east, boulbènes formed from sands and washed out silts result in a crusting soil that is poor in nutrients.

To the west, calcareous source rock that was once marine, produces brown soil containing calcareous pebbles. These are the same soils as those found in the wine-growing areas of the east Gironde, such as Saint-Émilion, Côtes de Castillon, Côtes de Franc.

During the Quaternary period, the River Dordogne deposited terraces of gravel alluvia on both banks. These soils are acidic and not particularly fertile, but they offer good drainage.

Climate

Climate data for Côtes de Bergerac
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Average high °F48.752.357.762.169.475.480.880.874.865.855.050.264.6
Average low °F34.335.23741.248.453.857.456.551.446.63936.044.8
Average precipitation inches2.02.51.73.12.72.92.12.63.12.83.13.231.82
Average high °C9.311.314.316.720.824.127.127.123.818.812.810.118.1
Average low °C1.31.835.19.112.114.113.610.88.142.27.1
Average precipitation mm526342806873536679718082808.2
Mean monthly sunshine hours 9511218117621821824324918312788761,964
Source: france.meteofrance.com [5]

The number of days with rainfall is 116, while fine weather days number 196, of which 123 enjoy small amounts of sunshine and 73 strong sunshine. [6]

The Bergerac climate is temperate oceanic. [7] Precipitation is evenly spread throughout the period when the vines are producing new growth. April is humid, which boosts vine growth and helps to prevent disastrous spring frosts. The summers are warm and relatively dry, ideal conditions for the ripening of grape clusters. Over four consecutive months, from May to August, the area enjoys more than 200 hours of sunshine a month. It is this sunshine which supplies the necessary energy for photosynthesis. September and October are critical months in determining the production of great vintage wines. Dry weather in September concentrates the grape aromas, while moderate humidity in October promotes the development of noble rot, vital for the creation of great dessert wines. The November and December rains replenish the soil's water reserves.

Grape varieties

The red wines are a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot, sometimes supplemented by Côt or, less commonly, by Fer Servadou or Mérille. They are often dark in color, with full-bodied flavours.

The white wines are mainly a blend of Sémillon with Sauvignon blanc, Sauvignon gris and Muscadelle, to which Ugni blanc, Ondenc and Chenin blanc are sometimes added. These combinations lead to the creation of fruity, dry white wines that can be powerful, and of medium-sweet or sweet wines that are aromatic and powerful.

Appellations

Protegee

See also

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References

  1. Source: le Guide Hachette des Vins 2010, page 870.
  2. "Site Officiel des Vins de Bergerac". Archived from the original on 2010-03-27. Retrieved 2018-11-05.
  3. Dordogne & the Lot, 5th Edition, by Dana Facaros and Michael Pauls, 2005
  4. Fiche de l'AOC Bergerac sur le site INAO.gouv.fr.
  5. France, Meteo. "PREVISIONS METEO FRANCE - Site Officiel de Météo-France - Prévisions gratuites à 15 jours sur la France et à 10 jours sur le monde".
  6. Relevés des normales à la station météo-france de Bergerac.
  7. Le climat en Périgord pourpre au pays de Bergerac sur le site pays-de-bergerac.com.