The largest sweet world.
The greatest appellation for liquoreux, ie. very sweet white wine, is Monbazillac. It is harvested in successive stages, with the result of a very elegant wine, revealing a pungent bouquet with hints of acacia honey and spices. Two types of Monbazillac are available:
Classic Monbazillac, with sugar levels ranging in the first category of liquoreux – it is perfect for an aperitive drink, or served with a meal, with selected dishes.
Monbazillac made from “selected noble grapes” comes, it goes without saying, as a wine with a level of sweetness reaching above 85 gram, for a pure moment of pleasurable enjoyment, or accompanying a well-chosen dessert.
Julius Caesar’s legions brought the vines to the region, but it was at the very beginning of the Middles Ages that winegrowing began to prevail in the Dordogne valley, within the region of Périgord. As for Monbazillac, it came to existence during the Middle Ages. Legend has it that in the 10th century, the monks of Saint Martin, too busy with other chores, neglected their vineyards, allowing Botrytis Cinerea to develop on the grapes. The renown of Monbazillac and of its nectar became well established, as another legend proves it: a man from Bergerac who visited Rome and the Vatican was presented to the Pope as ‘a bourgeois from Bergerac’, to which the Holy Father replied with a smile: “Ah! Bergerac… close to Monbazillac surely!”
Monbazillac is without doubt the most famous of all wines produced in Dordogne. The vineyards spread over the south slopes of the valley, and they are some of the oldest in the region. Their particularity is their North orientation, steeply sloping towards the plains surrounding the Dordogne river. The terroir of Monbazillac stretches over almost 10,000 acres and 5 villages: Pomport, Rouffignac, Colombier, Saint Laurent des Vignes and Monbazillac.
The vineyards enjoy a particular type of temperate climate – the most remarkable phenomenon takes place in Autumn, when the morning mist is followed by the afternoon heat from the sun. The humidity, during this still-warm season, enables the growth of a microscopic mushroom called Botrytis Cinerea. This mushroom reduces the flesh volume inside the grape, modifying its nature and increasing its sugar content. The natural concentration of sugar, formed by the ‘noble rot’ caused by Botrytis Cinerea is necessary to the elaboration of all high quality liquoreux sweet wines.
Potential for laying-down
Monbazillac reveals its charm quite naturally when served with goose or duck foie gras. It is just as appealing with a light and fragrant dessert, in the company of its longstanding friends – strawberries.