Above: The vineyards and exterior of Château Lagrézette in Cahors, France

Notable Dordogne Wineries

Bordeaux sucks up all the oxygen, leaving little air for the wines of the Dordogne and Lot valleys. But vintners in both regions have rededicated themselves to quality in recent years, producing world-class wines worthy of far more attention than they receive. We visited three wineries during our stay, in addition to the Château de Mercuès, and discovered delicious bottlings in each. Indeed, top Cahors Malbecs can now compete with some of the finest red wines in the world.

Château Tour des Gendres

Secluded on a hill amid a patchwork of vineyards and orchards, this biodynamic winery has been a driving force in changing Bergerac wines from simple to serious. Winemaker-owners Luc and Martine de Conti met us when we arrived, and the charming Martine led our tour and tasting. Though my French is halting from lack of practice, my appreciation of the wines was obvious, and she offered to give us some tastings from the fermentation tanks as well. The Sauvignon Blancs (including one aged partially in amphorae) were delicious, as were the ripe and well-structured Merlot-based blends. But I absolutely fell in love with the rich and refined Contine Périgourdine Muscadelle and the sensational Le Saussignac, a well-balanced Sauternes-like blend of Chenin Blanc and Sémillon redolent of honey, green peppercorn and orange peel.

Château Tour des Gendres

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