Thursday, October 7, 2021

Hitting the jackpot with lesser known reds from Dordogne and Rioja

 Hitting the jackpot with lesser known reds from Dordogne and Rioja


Maison des vins in Bergerac

Cuvée Des Conti Bergerac Rouge (AC) 2019, 13%,

€19.45  64 Wine DublinBradley’s of CorkGreenman DublinLe Caveau Kilkenny


This is a bright and fruity organic glossy-red blend from the Bergerac area, immediately to the east of Bordeaux;  the Dordogne River flows through both areas. The producers list the grapes in the mix as Merlot, Malbec and Cabernet Franc.

Colour is a dark red. Aromas are pleasant and inviting. Red fruits including cherry, a touch of spice. The palate is full of fruit, plum and blackberry, plus a subtle spice. And there’s also a lively acidity and so it is perfectly balanced. The mouthfeel is velvety, the tannins soft. As you might expect the finish lingers long. Very Highly Recommended.

Le Caveau: This new cuvée replaces the Bergerac Classique. The grapes come from Tour des Gendres, organic certified own vineyards. As with all of Luc's wine, this cuvée has been delicately put together, one can sense the perfectly ripe and healthy fruit, gentle and soft extraction resulting in a pure and perfectly balanced wine.

Hautefort, one of many
impressive chateaus here
I have visited the Bergerac region on a few occasions and love the wines (both red and white) from here. Quality is regularly on a par with neighbours Bordeaux. But historically, the city of Bordeaux controlled the head of the river and the port and Bergerac struggled to find outlets. One of the few benefits, at least for the foreign consumer, is that wines from the Bergerac region are mostly easier on the pocket. You may have to search a bit harder (Le Caveau have a few) but it will be worthwhile.

One of my visits was back in 2010 and I was looking for statements supporting Bergerac . Easy enough to find though as these two well-known wine writers were onside.

Hugh Johnson: Bergerac is a good value Bordeaux lookalike.

Robert Joseph: The second class status of Bergerac today owes more to the efforts of Bordeaux merchants to discriminate against it than to the quality of its wines.

Viña Albergada Albizu Tempranillo 2019 

€11.95, 64 Wine Dublin, Bradley’s of Cork, Greenman Dublin, Le Caveau Kilkenny

In Rioja

A dark vibrant ruby is the colour of this LDR. LDR? It means light dry red. If you like Gamay you’ll love this. Not an exact replica of a Beaujolais of course - that was hardly ever the objective - but in terms of lightness, juiciness and structure, they could well be closely related. And I’d have to agree with importers Le Caveau that this juicy fruity Tempranillo “is a real find”.

And yes, that Tempranillo fruit is grown within the Rioja Alavesa appellation in the heart of Rioja but you don’t see any mention of the Spanish wine region on the label. Producers are Viña Albergada and they obviously go their own merry way. And that’s good for us as the quality its incredible. Not to mention the value! Amazingly light compared to traditional Rioja, this is Very Highly Recommended.

Like many LDR wines, this can be chilled a little. You’ll enjoy fairly intense aromas of plum along with red and darker berries. And that palate, amazingly sophisticated for a joven (young wine), is full of ripe fruit (plum, cherry, berry) with terrific acidity. All crowned by a refreshing and dry finish. This well balanced Albizu is delicious on its own, and very versatile with barbecued meats and tapas style food.


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