Our final visit in Cahors brought Erin, Patrick and myself to one of the leading estates in the region, the Château du Cèdre. Located in the commune of Vire-sur-Lot, the domaine is run by two very dynamic brothers, Pascal and Jean-Marc Verhaeghe.
The domaines holdings encompass approximately 27 hectares (55+ acres) of south and southwest facing vines planted predominantly to?.. you are correct. Malbec. Tiny amounts of merlot, tannat, vigonier and semillon are also in the vineyard mix. The vine age range on is bewteen 21-50 years. In the photo above, Pascal was describing to us the vineyard (seen below) that makes up one of the prestige cuvées known as Le Cèdre (more on this later).
Although Château du Cèdre is arguably the most internationally known Cahors domaine, the enterprise is still quite modest in terms of size. Including brothers Pascal and Jean-Marc, the team totals 12 personnes. That averages out to 1 person for every 2.5 hectares. Plenty of work to do and never a dull day!
After a tour of the vineyards, we returned to the domaine and headed towards the chai (cellar) to taste. Smack dab in the center of the domaine courtyard was this mighty cedar or cèdre. Just in case you forgot where you were, here was a gentle reminder!
Once in the cellar, Pascal took us through the range of estate wines that are produced at Château du Cèdre.
Château du Cèdre Blanc: 100% viognier, fermented in 500L demi-muids, with elevage in 50% new barrel andd 50% 1 year barrel. A big and rich white.
Château du Cèdre “Prestige”: composed of 90% malbec and 10% tannat. Fermentation in large wood foudre. A classic cahors in terms of flavor profile (deep plum, licorice etc) but with more supple tannins. A great introduction to the wines of the region.
Château du Cèdre “Le Cédre”: 100% Malbec, fermentation in wood (80% new, 20% 1 year). Elevage last for approximately 22 months (80% new, 20% 1 year). Unfined, unfiltered.
Château du Cèdre “GC”: A new prestige cuvée, first released in 2000. Composed of 90% Malbec, 5 % Tannat and 5 % Merlot. Fermentation in 500L open top wood. Post fermentation maceration up to 40 days. 24 months elevage in the same wood vessel. Bottled unfined and unfiltered.
Pascal wrapped up our visit by opening this 1998 Le Cedre that had been resting in the cellar. Over the past 10+ years, inky black fruit and a monolithic structure had given way to soft plum, violets, a whiff of licorice. Warm tobacco nuances provided extra nuance, without overpowering this mature red. What a treat to try this ’98. (If you recall from an earlier post of mine, I had opened a ’99 back in Cali earlier in the year with several friends at dinner)
A huge thank you to Pascal Verhaeghe for this great afternoon at Château du Cèdre!
Next: Summer is here..Rosé, Rosé Rosé !!