Discovering the Wines of the Côtes de Duras

The Côtes de Duras extends over approximately 2,000 hectares, across the plateaux and the slopes south of the hillsides overlooking the Dropt valley.  Its vineyards were among the first to be designated Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC), the highest form of recognition. Vineyard development dates from the 12th century. Today, the Côtes de Duras AOC consists of more than 200 wine growers in 15 towns and villages: Auriac-sur-Dropt, Baleyssagues, Duras, Esclottes, Loubès-Bernac, Moustier, Pardaillan, Saint-Astier, Saint-Jean-de-Duras, Saint-Sernin, Sainte-Colombe-de-Duras, Sauvetat-du-Dropt, Savignac-de-Duras, Soumensac and Villeneuve-de-Duras.

Visitors are often surprised by the high quality of wines here. Reds can be big, with deep color, rounded structure and body dominated by Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. Rosé wines are fruity with the promise of strawberries and summer. Whites are crisp and clean, with wonderful mineral and fruit flavors that pair well with seafood, especially oysters.

The appellation's climate is identical to that of the Bordeaux region, except that temperatures are slightly more extreme because of the distance from the ocean. And, while it's true that Côtes des Duras wines lack the legend and cachet of their Bordeaux cousins, they also lack the high prices many Bordeaux labels carry. Adventurous wine lovers will discover truly wonderful — and deliciously affordable — wines that make the perfect match with the regional cuisine.

La Maison des Vins de Duras showcases most of the appellation's growers and is definitely worth a visit. It's on the main road to Duras from Gibeau. Daily tastings feature different producers, and there are also displays on the area”s viticulture practices and history.

La Maison des Vins de Duras
RD 668 - 47120 DURAS, France
Tel: 05 53 20 20 70 Fax: 05 53 20 82 85

The Sweet Wines of Monbazillac – a Regional Treasure

A 45-minute drive through pleasant countryside from Gibeau brings you to Monbazillac, the home of sweet wines that flow down the throat like late-afternoon summer sunlight. With age their golden color intensifies and they develop rich notes of honey, vanilla, apricot and orange. The autumn mists that rise from the Dordogne river to enshroud the land encourage growth of the Botritys Cinerea fungus responsible for “Noble Rot.” This natural process increases sugar concentration in the grapes and gives this renowned wine its sweet taste suffused with complex aromas.

Part of the Bergerac wine region, Monbazillac was the first sweet wine growing-area to earn the Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC), designation. The appellation extends over almost 3,600 hectares of Sémillon, Sauvignon and Muscadelle vine stock.

Monbazillac wines make an excellent aperitif, and the perfect pairing with Foie Gras, or any of the regional fromages bleus, such as Roquefort, Bleu d'Auvergne, or Fourme d'Ambert. The wine travels well and cellars for 30 years or longer.

The 16th-century Chateau de Monbazillac is well restored and appointed and set amid garden terraces affording panoramic views of the Dordogne Valley. It is open year-round to visitors (except mid-January to mid-February) and tours include complimentary tastings.

"Cave de Monbazillac" group
Tel. +33 - Tel. (w.e) +33
Fax. +33

Gibeau. An authentic country home for vacation rental in Southwest France. Inquire about availability