Thursday, March 29, 2007


Just south of Bergerac, on the heights above the left bank of the Dordogne river, sits the Château de Monbazillac, a mid-16th century construction that straddles the architectural styles of the middle ages and the Renaissance. The castle is owned by the Monbazillac wine cooperative, and vines cover the valley slopes.

The Château de Monbazillac sits above the Dordogne valley near Bergerac.

Three grapes are grown here that combine to make the sweet white vin de Monbazillac : sémillon, sauvignon, and muscadelle. Monbazillac is an A.O.C. in its own right (since 1936), and is most often compared favorably to Sauternes.

Vineyards in the Monbazillac appellation region.

When we drove by, we noticed that there was a tasting room and it was open. We're not known to pass up a free sip of wine, so we stopped in. The woman in the room greeted us and poured samples, which we downed eagerly. We were surprised that the wine was sweet; I guess we were expecting a more traditional, drier white like a sauvignon blanc.

One of the castle towers.

When Ken remarked that the wine was sweet, I think he used the word sucré. In an almost surly tone, the woman corrected him. "C'est liquoreux, monsieur." We had been summarily put in our place. By the way, the Robert-Collins defines liquoreux as "syrupy, sweet and cloying." That it was, and good, too. But definitely not sucré.

Another view from the château.

We took a few photos around the château then headed down into the valley and our destination for the night : Bergerac.


  1. I always like photos of vineyards! They always look stunning.

  2. Loving your blog but I'm a tad bit jealous of the turn out on your Clustermap! Damn yer popular.

  3. claude, it's hard to take a bad picture of a vineyard, imho.

    jayne, my cluster map's been up since last June. I've seen others that are so covered with red you can't see the map underneath. Talk about envy !


Pour your heart out! I'm listening.