Château du Cèdre 2021 Cahors

Tasting notes
A medium-bodied and expressive palate, with crisp tannins, vibrant freshness and appealing roundness. Its bouquet, marked by black fruits, spices, mint and some fresh peppers, evolves and grows gradually, giving length and finesse to the wine. An excellent companion for your roasts, stews and hard cheeses. An added bonus is the residual sugar being a very low ≤ 1 g/l.

Why we recommend this wine
Malbec is the dominant grape in both Cahors and Argentina. Argentinian winemakers have obviously popularised Malbec so it is interesting to compare the two to see why and which you prefer.

The wine
The vines of Château du Cèdre root in two different types of soil: the first terroir, composed of stony clay and limestone, give straight wines with fine tannins, while more powerful and dense wines come from soils composed of clay, sand and a large quantity of pebbles. The varietals in this Cahors are 90% Malbec, 5% Merlot, 5% Tannat.
The harvest is sorted in the vineyards and destemmed upon arrival in the cellar. 30 days of maceration with daily punching down of the skin cap starts fermentation. Malolactic fermentation is carried out in oak barrels. Thereafter the wine spends 20 and 22 months in new oak as well as in second and third fill barrels. The wine is bottled unfiltered and so will throw a sedimant as it ages.

The wine estate
A 27 hectares family estate now run by the third generation of the Verhaeghe family that originally came from Morsleede in Flanders. They started a mixed farming operation and started the vineyards slowly, adding one hectare of vineyards in three different plots every year. While still distilling lavender, Charles Verhaeghe bottled his first wine in 1973.
1995 changed everything after 80% of the vineyards were damaged by hailstorms. Jean-Marc and Pascal questioned their way of farming, deciding that they have to reveal the potential of the terroir and to lower the yields. They seek to combine Burgundy’s way of highlighting origin and terroir with the vinification techniques from Bordeaux. They blend single variety wines from different terroir and micro climates.
Amongst this ongoing change their quest is for balance: ecological balance in the vineyards and preservation of the entire grape quality during wine making. They work with oak casks from Burgundy, as they appreciate the elegance of their tannins and the general quality of their wood that has been air-dried for 30 to 36 months. For some of their wines, they use larger oak casks (up to 500 litres), which have been lightly toasted over a long time. They follow the rhythm of their wines, that is, allowing their wines to slowly grow towards ripeness by natural steps of transformation: fermentation with natural yeast, barrel ageing and absorption of sweet, woody tannins; keeping cellar temperatures around 12 to 15 °C, with a relative humidity of 90% and a well-adjusted ventilation to guarantee a healthy environment to their wines. And nature does the rest.

Food and wine
This wine has great aromatic strength and perfectly pairs with local, South West France dishes: duck breast, confit, cassoulet... It is also great with sharp cheddars and similar cheeses. Also see our guide to pairing food and wine here.

Did you know?
Much of the flavor imparted by oak barrels occurs naturally from the raw wood. But winemakers learned long ago that by "toasting" the inside of an oak barrel either over an open flame or using a hand-held torch, they can enhance these flavors. The fire 'caramelizes' the wood's natural sugars and brings out complex compounds.
Heavily toasted oak imparts bolder aromas like coffee and chocolate, while medium toasted barrels contribute mellower scents like allspice, dulce de leche, brioche and vanilla. Lightly toasted barrels can be great for white wines and Pinot Noirs, because they add oak tannin for an enriched mouthfeel without leaving an overwhelming oak character.