In the cellars of Château du Cèdre during harvest 2011.
Wine making in Cahors
In the cellars of Château du Cèdre during harvest 2011.
Wine Enthusiast, April 2011
“Pascal verhaeghe of Château du Cèdre is the other guru of Cahors. He and his brother, Jean-Marc, produce such iconic wines as Le Cèdre and GC, as well as even more innovative bottlings. His latest creation, a fortified wine made from Malbec, is a rich, sweet wine, close to vintage Port in style. The brothers also provide advice to other wineries and act as a distribution focus to cut costs for a group of vignerons. Part of the new generation that has taken over in Cahors, the Verhaeghes are driving the open approach of the region, which involves working with Argentina while promoting Cahors Malbec – the UIVC calls it “The Original Malbec”.
The Verhaeghes’ advice to Cahors winemakers : cut yields, encourage the vines to go deep for moisture in the hot summers, avoid chemicals and use open-top fermenters to more softly extract the naturally tannic Malbec.”
Tasted: Château du Cèdre, Le Cèdre 2007, Cahors
High toast aromas are filled out on the palate with rich, concentrated fruit and bitter chocolate flavours. This powerful, impressive wine is spicy and densely packed. At this stage, it feels hard edged, but that will fill out in the next 3-4 years as the wine broadens.
“Amongst the great winegrowers of this region (Cahors), Pascal Verhaeghe from the Château du Cèdre might be considered as one of the most talented”, writes Marc Vanhellemont when he visits the region and tasting the wines of Château du Cèdre. The 2008 wines have been bottled some months ago...
Dark in the glass, serious but delicate in the nose. A bouquet that gets more and more complex – raspberry and eucalyptus, smoky blackberry-marmalade, sweet, exotic spices from subtle oak, as well as hints of the stony earth in which the vines have grown their roots.
Generous, almost voluptuous on the palate, this wine shows a crystal clear acidity with solid, elegant tannins. To savour best with closes eyes…
Tasted on January 31st by S. Nickel
A great reward for our efforts in the vineyards and cellar, appeared in the November 2010 issue of the prestigious Revue du Vin de France (RVF): In a special dossier on organic wines, the RVF names the Château du Cèdre amongst some of the most distinguished wine estates of France, like La Romannée-Conti and Domaine de Trévallon…
(Extract RVF November 2010)
Château du Cèdre, Cahors
Application for organic certification since 2009
The French region of Midi-Pyrénées may claim to have the highest gain of organic agriculture in 2009 (68%). “Maybe that’s because this region only had few organic farming before”, suggests Pascal Verhaeghe, one of the most gifted wine makers of Cahors for more than 15 years.
Nevertheless, one might mention, that the climate of the region is one of the most difficult for organic farming.
The wine you should taste: Le Cèdre 2007, Cahors
100% Malbec, yes, but without and excess of power. It stays fresh and straight, showing the benefits of excellent ageing in oak wood.
Let us try to describe a whole vintage with a few words, to make you participate in a wine grower’s year of work: 2008 was what we call a “normal” year in the south-western part of France, a pleasant year without any climatic extremes.
Bud burst took place by the end of March, at the beginning of a wonderful spring, with warming sunshine and refreshing rainfall in turns. Every year, the effusive, young vegetation has to be guided and protected by the winegrower’s hands during these first weeks of almost ungovernable growth, until the vines start flowering in early June: Little white flowers you can hardly see, but offering a first delight to your nose.
Although the summer of 2008 was rather dry - with only a couple of rainfalls in July and late August – but without exceptional heat and the rather fresh nights conserved the acidity of the grapes. Leaf removal in the fruit zone and a long, beautiful “Indian Summer” allowed a long and complete ripening of the grapes.
Harvest began on October 13th under a perfect blue sky, followed by a couple of weeks of work in the cellar and some 22 months of oak ripening for the wines.
Despite all the words, the best way to appreciate a vintages character remains the tasting of the wines. So you should appreciate the effusiveness of spring in the “Château du Cèdre”, the minerality of cool summer nights in our cuvee “Le Cèdre”, and the accuracy of autumnal tannins in our “GC”.
Bottled in autumn 2010 after some 22 months of ageing in oak barrels, this blend of Malbec and some 10% of Merlot and Tannat shows up with a dark but sparkling, violet colour in the glass.
The spicy nose gradually opens with a smell of ripe and juicy cherries and hints of smoke and tar. A smooth attack and a dense but fluid palate with tight tannins.
The long final solidly stands on an almost perfect balance between structure and freshness, surrounded by fresh fruits, cinnamon and cloves.
Written by Marc Vanhellemont, translation S. Nickel
In the French region of Cahors, the Cot, a grape variety commonly known as Malbec, shows a particularly powerful and elegant expression. Amongst the great winegrowers of this region, Pascal Verhaeghe from the Château du Cèdre might be considered as one of the most talented. Like no one else, he distils elegance, power, nifty tannins and individual character from the Aquitania limestone soils of his vineyards. Even more since the estate has become “organic”…
Dark ruby colour with slight purple hints. Nose: A fruity adventure without frills; cherry marmalade with cinnamon and red currant jelly slightly coloured by black- and blueberries. Mouth: Tightly woven tannins slip like silk over the tongue, caressing the taste buds just enough to be thrilled. A nectar, discretely flowing through the palate, whispering about its bouquet and the mouth filling roundness to come.
A wine made of 90% of Malbec and 10% of Tannat et Merlot. Entirely destemmed, the grapes are macerating for some 30 days and malolactic fermentation is done in oak. The wine ripens for 20 months in barrels, about one third of which are new.
Food paring: A wine with a lot of character, but less austere than one might expect. Haemoglobin and lipids seem to be the best partners to escort this wine: Goose or duck, stewed or roasted, with wine, oranges or mushrooms. It will polish the last headstrong tannins and emphasize the fruity character. Furthermore, some spicy, grilled sausages with tomato and beans will give a tasteful reply to the Malbec.
Pale, light green yellow. Nose: Apricots, white peaches and freshly toasted bread with pistachio paste and violet fragrance. An aromatic, palatable wine, only made from Viognier grapes, fermented in 500 Liter oak barrels, half of them new. Nine months of ripening on fine lees.
Food paring: Excellent for aperitif, with freshwater fishes, white meat or certain cheeses like Comté or Cantal.
Léon Verhaeghe from Morsleede in Flanders, left his native country in the early 20th century to settle in south-western France. His son Charles started a farm in 1958 planting some vines on the property, and adding one hectare of vineyards every year. Today Pascal manages the 27 hectares of the estate together with his brother Jean-Marc.
“We do organic farming. We’ve started in the early nineties by banning all herbicides from the vineyards and managed to get rid of all chemical spraying agents by 2002. This really improved the quality of our grapes and encouraged us to ask for organic certification in 2009.” (Pascal Verhaeghe)
Have a look at this video posted on Youtube by Grape Radio. Natasha Hughes, a UK-based wine writer, describes some of the aromas that can be found in both young and aged Malbec wines from Cahors, France.
It’s a very interesting description of Malbec and Cahors wines. Watch it - taste it!