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Taste Test: Château Thénac - Côtes de Bergerac 2009

Published:  04 February, 2014

What do you buy for the man that has everything? Not a vineyard in Bergerac that's for sure...

What do you buy for the man that has everything? Not a vineyard in Bergerac that's for sure... Certainly not if that man is Eugene Shvidler anyway, as he's already got one. It's easy to be impulsive I imagine when you're a billionaire. Reportedly Mr Shvidler (a close friend of Roman Abramoich - billionaire's clearly need to stick together) was wine tasting in France when he decided he quite fancied a vineyard. We've all been there haven't we.... Sadly he's also top 400 on the Forbes Rich List, so he purchased Château Thénac a little while later.


Château Thénac is based in the Périgord to the east of Bordeaux. I actually slightly admire Mr Shvidler's originality; I imagine it would have been all to easy to just buy a property in Bordeaux, so at least he showed a little originality. Certainly marketing and selling the wines would have been easier than in the slightly untrendy Bergerac. That said he probably only needs to break even... Perhaps he was tempted by the micro climate as a result of which the area is cooler than Bordeaux with less rainfall and has open exposure. He's also got room to keep his flock of Highland Sheep. The little details matter....

Either way, having sampled their 2009 Côtes de Bergerac something is clearly working at Château Thénac. With hints of blueberries and almonds this is a very inviting wine. Merlot plays the dominant role at 58% with 20% Malbec and the Cabernets making up 12% (Cab Sauv) and 10% (Cab Franc) respectively. It's very elegant, drinking well now but with a decent chance of ageing gracefully for another few years. A bronze medal from the Decanter Wine Awards is in my view the least it deserves.

The 2010 vintage is available from Berry Bros for £15.95 a bottle.