Bergerac is full of surprises and presents every visitor with the beauty of the natural surroundings, the zeal and passion of the winegrowers, the eternally sought after truffles, other fungi, pate de foie gras, and wild boar of the Perigord, and the emotions that are unleashed with each sip of wine.
The soil of this area is chiefly a mixture of loam and chalk, loam and granite sand on the plateaux, granite sand in the Perigord and river-washed sediments and pebbles. There are terraces with poor soil and a top layer of sediment on the right bank of the Dordogne. The south-facing slopes are covered with stones. The soil on the left bank is very chalky, especially on the slopes of the hills, interspersed with some loam. Everything is present here, just as in the bordering Bordelais, to guarantee high quality for this French wines: plenty of sun, enough rain, harsh winters are not common (the exceptions being 1956, 1985, and 1987). The humidity is fairly high through the proximity with the Atlantic Ocean and the abundance of water in the Dordogne and its many tributaries.
However good a terroir is it does not actually make the French wine. Vines have been grown in Bergerac for 2,000 years. French wine-making has almost been elevated to art through the input and experience of generations of wine-makers here. Currently most of the younger French wine-growers seek to retain much of the centuries old tradition while adapting to the latest vinifcation techniques. With the different combinations of varying terroirs and grapes, there is a wide range of types of French wine from just 11,000 hectares (12 AC wines).
The grapes used for red French wine are Cabernet Sauvignon (sturdiness, tannin, colour, bouquet (blackcurrant and cedarwood), Cabernet Pranc (prolific bouquet of strawberry and freshly-sliced green pepper, with high alcoholic content), and Merlot (bouquet: cherry, red berries, plum, juicy with a velvet smooth texture).
White French wines are made with Semillon (sensitivity for noble rot; bouquet: honey, apricot, peach, or mango, with good balance between sweetness and acidity), Sauvignon Blanc (finesse and bouquet of green apple, new-mown grass) and Muscadelle (intense aroma of honeysuckle and acacia).