The French town of Bergerac is equally renowned for its role in the love story of Cyrano de Bergerac as it is for its fine wines (not to mention elegant chateaux and a historic medieval center).
Monbazillac (pronounced moh-bah-zee-YAK) wines are those rare, sweet, lovely dessert wines that few Americans—even wine connoisseurs—have tasted. This white wine is often compared to fellow French late-harvest Sauternes wines and is even made from the same grapes— sémillon, sauvignon blanc and muscadelle. Monbazillac, however, has a higher percentage of muscadelle grapes and, thus, sometimes sweeter aromas.
The wine is an Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC). Only grapes that are affected by ‘noble rot’ can be classified as Monbazillac; other regional grapes that are used for dry white wines are classified as Bergerac sec.
Lighter than a Sauternes, with a bit less alcohol content, a fine Monbazillac wine can become gold or amber in hue, with less floral notes and a spicier taste. Enjoy exotic honeyed notes like grapefruit, elderflower, quince, mango, passion fruit and citrus with a nutty aftertaste.
It is perhaps most famously paired with Foie Gras but also enjoyed with various desserts, main dishes and appetizers. It also serves as a perfectly chilled apéritif.