Bergerac Sec is an appellation for the dry white wines produced around the historic town of Bergerac in the south-west of France. It is one of 13 AOC-level appellations in the Bergerac region as a whole, which also include AOC Bergerac and AOC Cotes de Bergerac.
AOC Bergerac Sec covers white wines made from varying combinations of Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc, Muscadelle, Ondenc, Chenin Blanc and Ugni Blanc. The only legal requirement is that the proportion of Ugni Blanc must not exceed that of Sauvignon Blanc.
The vineyard management rules and minimum planting densities required by the Bergerac appellation laws are more relaxed than those in Bordeaux, just to the west. The wines must come from vineyards planted to a minimum of 3000 vines per hectare, compared to 6500 in many Bordeaux appellations. This figure is important, because the more vines there are in a given space, the harder those vines have to work as they send their roots down deep to find water and nutrients. This struggle results in more-complex, flavorful fruit, reflecting the character of the deeper soils.
The soils around Bergerac vary from sandier areas in the south-west, to a mixture of sand and clay in the north, and limestone outcrops in higher areas of the south-east. The soil variations follow the pattern of the perpendicular valleys which bisect the wider Bergerac region. The climate here is classified as maritime, but the winters are certainly colder – and the summers warmer – than in areas which are closer to the moderating effects of the Atlantic Ocean. Cold winters and hot summers are more characteristic of the continental climate type.