Grapes and Wine in Duras
The development of the Côtes de Duras Wines
The Côtes de Duras vineyards have been given one of the three Appellations d´Origine Contrôlée in the Lot-et-Garonne region, alongside Buzet and Côtes du Marmandais. They border the Entre-Deux-Mers, Sainte-Foy-Bordeaux and Bergerac appellation vineyards. The Côtes des Duras vineyards were one of the first wine regions to be given to be given the Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée in 1937.
The Appellation extends over approximately 2,000 hectares; it occupies the plateaux and the slopes south of the hillsides overlooking the Dropt valley, to the north-east of the territorial department. It groups together 15 towns and villages: Auriac-sur-Dropt, Baleyssagues, Duras, Esclottes, Loubès-Bernac, Moustier, Pardaillan, Saint-Astier, Saint-Jean-de-Duras, Saint-Sernin, Sainte-Colombe-de-Duras, Sauvetat-du- Dropt, Savignac-de-Duras, Soumensac and Villeneuve-de-Duras.
The development of vineyards dates from the 12th century. Duras wines won their reputation thanks to the support of renowned people, such as Pope Clement V or the Kings of England, whose lords occupied the region for three centuries, to the point of being accused of "harvesting the Aquitaine area". In his time, François I also saluted the Duras “nectar”. However, the 18th century was undoubtedly the greatest period of splendour not only for the history of the Duras region but also for the history of the local Durfort family.
Over the past 70 years Duras wine growers have sought excellence in grape growing and wine making. This is why they produce a reasonable amount of produce, with limited yields, balancing their love of tradition with modern requirements, whilst respecting quality control specifications.
Principal Grape Varieties
FACTS ON GRAPE GROWING and WINE-MAKING in DURAS
Size of the vineyards: 1997 hectares including 67% planted with red grapes and 33% with white grapes
Production volume: 103,400 hectolitres (2006)
Vineyards: 208 wine growers, including 116 cooperative wine growers grouped together in two cooperative cellars and 87 independent cellars, on some 2,000 hectares classified Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée, distributed over 15 towns and villages.
Soil: Marly or molassic soil and limestone or clay-limestone hillsides predominate. A soil blend of compact clay and chalk in red wine areas.
Weather: Bordeaux-like, but hotter and dryer with abundant sunshine and less Atlantic influence.
WINES OF DURAS
Côtes de Duras RED WINES
Red wines are made with four different types of grape: Merlot 52 %, Cabernet Sauvignon 27 %, Cabernet Franc 20 %, and Malbec 1 %. The Merlot, Cabernet-Sauvignon and Cabernet-Franc grapes impart a deep red colour, body and fullness to the wine.
Côtes de Duras ROSE WINES
Côtes de Duras roses are made with the traditional red grapes with Cabernet Franc being the preferred variety with its floral and fruity characteristics. They are known for their fresh, fruity characteristics and are ideal for summer meals, especially barbecues and charcuteries.
Côtes de Duras DRY WHITE WINES
Côtes de Duras dry whites are made with seven different types of grape: Sauvignon Blanc (67%), Sémillon (27%), Muscadelle (4%), Mauzac, Ondenc, Chenin and Ugni Blanc. Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon and Muscadelle grapes gives these wines their character or ‘typicité’.
Côtes de Duras BLANCS MOELLEUX WHITE WINES
The sweet whites are also made with seven types of grapes: Sémillon, Sauvignon, Muscadelle, Mauzac, Ondenc, Chenin and Ugni Blanc. With Sémillon grapes predominating, these more syrupy wines give off a hint of crystallised fruit.