Part of the fun of visiting a château for a wine tasting is the feeling that you’re going to come away with a bargain from a little-known vineyard. However, the prospect of ending up with a wine that is infamous for all the wrong reasons is enough to make you think twice.
Which explains why I have yet to visit Château de Planques. I see it most days if I venture out of the house into Bergerac as it stands by the side of the N21 road.
Local wisdom has it that the ‘planques’ of its name is responsible for the English word plonk. That’s hardly the greatest recommendation for a wine.
Another, more popular, theory suggests that the word plonk was a term used by Australian troops serving in France during the first world war. They couldn’t quite manage to pronounce vin blanc, so they opted for plonk instead. Similarly, ça ne fait rien became san ferry ann.
This Australian origin of the word might mean that Bergerac’s Château de Planques is worth a visit after all. The Hatchette wine guide suggests that the white is available for under €5 a bottle, so how far wrong can you go?