The Wine: Bergerac Rouge 2016
This bold and yet lively red wine from Bergerac, Southwestern France, is a classic Bordeaux blend of 50% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 25% Cabernet Franc, all organic grapes harvested by hand and fully destemmed before pressing.
The must is fermented for fifteen to thirty days with daily pump-overs, and malo-lactic fermentation is completed. Château Le Payral Bergerac Rouge is a direct wine, very approachable, with dark fruit and earthy notes on the nose. The palate is ample and warm, underpinned by a subtle elegance.
The Producer: Château Le Payral
Château Le Payral is located in the town of Razac de Saussignac, south of the river Dordogne., and has been run since 1992 by Thierry and Isabelle Daulhiac. The estate is approximately 15 hectares, 8 of which planted with white grape varietals – Sémillon, Muscadelle, and Sauvignon Blanc – and 7 planted with red grape varietals – Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot.
Château Le Payral’s vineyards are planted within the boundaries of two obscure appellations, Montbazillac and Sainte-Foy. The Daulhiacs practice biodynamic farming, even though they are only certified organic as of 2018. In the cellar, their approach is informed by hands-off natural practices, but it also incorporates modern winemaking techniques.
The Region: Bergerac
The Bergerac region is located in Southwestern France, around the city of Bergerac, east of Bordeaux and south of the Dordogne river. In Bergerac wine has been made for centuries and yet the region is not well-known. The reason for this is its proximity to Bordeaux, perhaps the most famous wine region in the world.
Bergerac not only borders with Bordeaux, it also shares its ampelographic profile: grape varietals grown in the region are the same grown in Bordeaux. Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot for red wines, Sauvignon Blanc, Muscadelle, and Semillon, for white wines, are the most widely planted grape varietals in Bergerac. Monbazillac and Cotes de Bergerac are the AOC appellations where the best quality wines can be found.
The Terroir of Bergerac
The climate of Bergerac is on average maritime, however, as we move away from the Atlantic Ocean, it becomes gradually colder during the winter and hotter during the summer. Along the Dordogne river, we have higher humidity, and that’s where we can find sweet wines made with the noble rot technique. There is no soil formation typical to Bergerac: soils range from limestone, gravel with clay, and sand.