My father-in-law has been a member of the Opimian Society for many years, Canada's largest, and longest-running, wine club. Chateau Pique Segue, a Bergerac estate, has been a long-time supplier to the Opimian, and recently offered some older vintages of its Dauzan La Vergne label to the society - and some of these found their way into my cellar when my in-laws sold their house :)
Visually older, with more brick colouring at the edges, the 1996 Chateau Dauzan la Vergne (Cotes de Bergerac) showed musty, cooked fruit (cherries), and green vegetal notes at first, later some almonds, cheese rind, then some black ash and mushrooms. Thin, light on the palate, green and tart, nutty, with a shorter finish than the 1999 below. Fairly complex, with a late flowering complexity on the nose...intriguing, but a touch rough, edgy, unbalanced. But this Bordeaux lookalike was drinking surprisingly well after three hours in the decanter.
The 1999 Chateau Dauzan la Vergne (Bergerac) was a deeper cherry red in the glass. Simpler, with a nose of musty undergrowth, some spice and old leather, but flatter than the 1996. A palate of peppery wet stones, both smoother and harsher at the same time, but becoming velvety over the evening. A riper, softer and more modest finish.
Both were quite oaky, heavy, and I have to admit that I am surprised how much time these old wines from "lesser" appellations needed to open up. I am not sure how much these cost, but I am guessing these present good values vs. true Bordeaux. And I wonder why these are from two different appellations?
(NOTE: Some healthy competition has been injected into the Canadian wine market with the recent creation of the Hemispheres Wine Guild, which I will address in a future post).