See full story of 4 weeks in the Dordogne at 

Got your wines in for the barbecue weather coming up? Here are a few tips, based on a recent trip to the Dordogne in France. But you don't have to fly off to Bergerac to stock up as most of these are available locally and on the net from Karwig Wines in Carrigaline.

Did some research before the four week long visit and so knew a small bit about what was available but didn't expect to fall in love with the local Moelleux (medium sweet wines).  I always thought that people who won't drink Chardonnay or won't drink Merlot are making a big mistake, cutting themselves off from so many possibilities. I confess my mistake, in white wines, was to confine myself to dry or medium dry.

That changed by accident, thanks to a hasty purchase on the evening of our arrival in Sarlat. The local Lidl was open and I grabbed a bottle of Jurancon from the box. Had stayed in the Basque country a few times so I knew what I was getting.

Expecting a dry white, I got something of a surprise when I put it up on the apartment table and looked at it closely for the first time. It was “goldy” in colour so I checked the label and found on the back that it was Moelleux, a semi-sweet wine.

It turned out to be a treat as did quite a few other Moelleuxs that followed it during the four weeks in Sarlat. Most of those were local Bergeracs. All are fine on their own but especially as aperitifs and as accompaniment to the local Foie Gras or indeed to any other pate or terrine. And they’ll do nicely with your desserts as well.

Of course, if you really want to go to town on it with the desserts, then the really sweet wines are what you want and again the Bergerac area is full of them, thanks apparently to a long forgotten Dutch trade which saved the wine industry here when the English market was cut off due to one of the many wars fought in the area between the French and English.

The wine from neighbouring Sauternes is well known but both Monbazillac and Saussignac are Bergerac AOCs as is Rosette. We enjoyed a visit to and a tasting at the Chateau at Monbazillac and you may read more on that at

Not feeling up to the sweet or semi-sweet? Then why not try the rosé. Bergerac make lovely fresh rosés and the one we had at a lunch at the Meeting of the Waters (the Dordogne and Vezere Rivers) in Limeuil, officially one of France’s prettiest villages, was a delightful example. Funnily enough, the one we liked most, though not easy to get in the area, came from further down in the south-east, namely a Bandol .

With so many good days forecast, you could pick a different type of wine for each. But if you prefer to stick with the dry whites, then there is no shortage from the Bergerac area. The normal Bergerac sec or Cotes de Bergerac sec are all fine, hardly distinguishable from many of the Bordeaux sec. 

Montravel is another AOC area in Bergerac and their range includes many decent dry whites. Also available are good bottles from Cotes de Duras and Gaillac.

To finish off the barbecue, put on a few bananas. When done, skin them and slip them quickly onto a base of ice-cream and then add a tablespoon or so of Sarlanoix, a nut liquor. If you don't have it, rum or kirsch will do fine. But do it all quickly, including the eating!

Pictures: Chateau de Monbazillac (main pic), Sarlat barbecue (left) and Monbazillac vines (right)

Our next wine post will look at the reds of the Dordogne area.