Laurent de Bosredon is owner of Château Bélingard in Pomport, count, exceptional storyteller and wonderful host. I had the honor of meeting him.
I first met Laurent last July during a press dinner at Château Les Merles in Mouleydier. And what an animated dinner that turned out to be! When Laurent speaks, it is more than just words that flow energetically. His stories are vivid and fascinating. Like fairy tales that transport you to faraway places. Except they aren’t fairytales. The history of Bélingard is so engrossing, that if written into a book, it would be destined to become a bestseller.
Though it was the monks who first cultivated the vineyards that are now Bélingard in the 10th century, the history of this fertile land in the Dordogne goes back at least three thousand years when the Celts referred to it as ‘Belen Gaard’, meaning ‘Garden of the Gods’. It was Belenos, the Celtic god of the sun, after whom the estate was named. Laurent’s ancestral roots at Bélingard date to 1820, and in the late-1980s, he took over with his wife Sylvie.
Château Bélingard is located in the Dordogne Valley in the heart of the Monbazillac A.O.C. region, about twenty minutes away from the lively city of Bergerac. The château produces approximately 400,000 bottles of Bergerac and Monbazillac A.O.C. wines annually.
During our dinner with Laurent, we tasted a beautiful selection of his wines. All wonderful, but I was especially smitten by the Ortus, a Monbazillac from the ‘Definitive Collection’. Made with 70% Semillon, 20% Sauvignon Gris and 10% Muscadelle, the wine was rich, elegant and unctuous with hints of honey and candied fruits. We enjoyed it with dessert, but it would also be exceptional as an apéritif or paired with foie gras.
A MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE
The stories recounted at the dinner table that first night were colorfully brought to life when we met Laurent at his estate a few days later. He showed us the impressive surroundings of the place he calls home, and even the very rock (shaped into the form of a seat) upon which Druid sacrifices once took place. Spectacular stories mixed with spectacular beauty. As I walked around the estate, admiring the undulating sea of vines in rich shades of green, which seemed to effortlessly melt into the horizon, I could only imagine how glorious it would be to have these lands to wake up to on misty mornings or watch the haze of the sunset as the days turn into night. Vineyards have always moved me, much like a painting can. And the vineyards of Bélingard were certainly no exception.
That afternoon, we sat on Laurent and Sylvie’s veranda for a lunch of charcuterie, cheese, fresh bread and chilled wine. To say it was an unforgettable experience, would do it little justice. While there are wines that after one encounter stay etched in your memory, in this case, that also held true for the people who make them.
Images courtesy of Château Bélingard