Aquitaine: the wines of the Dordogne and Garonne

In the part of this book dealing with wines of Southwest France it was explained that the wines of Duras and Bergerac have their own entity alongside the wines of Bordeaux and those that are truly of the south-west.

To avoid dispute and confusion and not to take sides, both wine-growing areas are listed separately here. Both have closer social and economic affinity with the capital of Aquitaine (Bordeaux) than that of the south-west (Toulouse). The daily trade and business of Bordeaux in the daily business of both areas and the economic importance of Duras and Bergerac all play an important role.

Cotes de Dures Wines

Cotes de Duras

The wine-growing area of Duras appears to be wedged between the vineyards of Bordeaux to the west, those of Bergerac to the north, and south-west vineyards of Pais Marmandais. Duras is not a large French wine region with about 2,000 hectares. Centuries of experience makes this area special and the wine superb. Although the folk of Duras are proud of their wines you will find little fuss about it in the local media. The people prefer to work quietly away at improving their vines and their French wines. Duras (AC since 1937) is aimed more at the connoisseur rather than those attracted to a wine by its label. Only those prepared to make the effort to seek out quality and the simple pleasure of wine without a fuss will experience the delight of the superb Duras wines.

The vineyards of Duras are sited at the tops of the gently undulating hills (white wines) and the southern slopes (red wine) . The subsoil is extremely varied but the tops of the hills consists of a calciferous sandstone while the slopes are a mixture of compacted clay and chalk with many fossilised shells. The climate is similar to that of Bored, except that it is generally hotter and drier in Duras. The predominant white French wine grapes are Sauvignon, Semillon, and Muscadelle (with the odd trace of Ugni Blanc, Mauzac, Ondenc, and Chenin Blanc) while Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and a small amount of Cot (Malbec) is used for the rose and red wines. The majority of the production is of red French wine (54%) and dry white (42%), with sweet white accounting for (2.5%), and rose (1.5%).

Cotes de Duras Sec is a light, fresh, elegant, and fruity dry wine with a wonderful pale yellow colour that is tinged with green. This French wine, which is dominated by the Sauvignon Blanc, is certainly one of the best Sauvignon wines from Aquitaine. Drink this French wine at 8-10°C (46.4-50°F).

Cotes de Duras Moelleux is a rare sweet white French wine dominated by Semillon. It is a harmonious, wholly sweet wine with a nose of honey, vanilla, toast, apricot, peach, preserved fruit, almond, walnut, hazelnut, and figs. The texture is fatty, almost unctuous, and the taste lingers long on the palate. The French enjoy this French wine as an aperitif with goose and duck liver pate. Drinking temperature for this French wine: 6-8°C(42.8-46.4°F) .

Cotes de Duras rose, created by the saignee (early drawing) method, is fresh, fruity and very aromatic (black currant and acid drops). It is an ideal French wine to drink with summer dishes. Drink this French wine at temperature10-12°C (50-53.6°F).

Cotes de Duras red can be a very pleasant, lithe, elegant, and fruity wine, made by steeping in carbonic acid gas (maceration carbonique). Today though most wine is vinified by traditional methods which produce a fuller, fleshier wine with loss of the fruity character. Always drink the first type chilled when young (12°C/53.6°F). This traditional French wine can be kept for five to ten years. Drinking temperature for this traditional French wine: 14-16°C (57.2- 60.8°F) .