Here is one of my favorite shots from Château Bélingard, owner of one of the biggest vineyards in Monbazillac. Sitting here in San Francisco on a sunny Friday afternoon, I can’t help but let my mind wander to just a couple of months ago when I spent two weeks worth of lazy afternoons gallivanting around the Southwest of France…and the above photo was typical of what I could see from the passenger seat of the car every single day as we drove to and from Ribagnac.
Jules introduced me to Monbazillac a few years ago at a dinner party. He was excited to share a bottle that he found at Whole Foods in Oakland, because he had actually worked at the chateau where the bottle was produced. When we finally made it to France, we made it a point to visit Bélingard, which is literally a few minutes from his family’s home.
Wines called Monbazillac are sweet, made from grapes that are affected by botrytis, or “noble rot”. This wine is often overlooked outside of France in favor of the very famous wines of Sauternes, like Château d’Yquem, but don’t let the low-profile AOC fool you. Monbazillac pairs perfectly with the food of the Southwest of France, like my favorite California contraband, foie gras. Château Bélingard also produces Bergerac Sec, Bergerac Rouge, Bergerac Rosé, and Côtes de Bergerac Rouge. There are a few stores that sell Chateau Bélingard wines in the USA, but not enough.
We were treated to a tour and tasting by Jules’ wine-making mentor, propriétaire Comte Laurent de Bosredon. Château Bélingard has been in his family for over 200 years, and it is said that the site where the Château sits has some roots in Celtic origin. I don’t know how much of it is just storytelling, but I do know that when you’re sitting on the big sculpted rock (said to be a Druidic sacrificial altar) or just standing looking out over the Dordogne valley, it does feel magical and special. I’ve stood in many vineyards in Napa and Sonoma, and none have taken my breath away like Château Bélingard did.
Our favorite Château Bélingard wine by far is the Monbazillac “Blanche de Bosredon”, named in honor of M. de Bosredon’s grandmother, who died at the age of 102, after running the estate for nearly 60 years. (Jules bought a case, Jules’ dad bought a case, and we could only bring back two bottles, so we drank a lot of Monbazillac before we left. No complaints here!)
For more information on Château Bélingard or to visit the Estate:
Laurent & Sylvie de Bosredon
Tel : 05.53.58.28.03
International tel : +33.553.582.803
Fax : 05.53.58.38.39
International fax : +33.553.583.839
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org