I recently reported on a tasting of The Malbecs of Cahors. Whilst in the area I made time to visit perhaps the region’s most influential winemaker, Pascal Verhaeghe of Château du Cèdre.
Pascal (shown right with his wife Patricia) along with his viticulturist brother Jean-Marc, has led the revival of the highest quality Cahors wines, since 1995 following a Burgundian model of identifying specific sites to understand ’micro-terroirs’. He abandoned use of all synthetic chemicals in 2002, to be followed by full organic certification in 2009. He was also one of the first to drastically reduce vineyard yields, down to 35-40hl/ha normally.
Château du Cèdre has become a role model for all of Cahors’ brightest young winemakers: all of them cite the wines and the work done here as an influence.
Château du Cèdre’s wines are very carefully made, and in particular Pascal is anxious to avoid masking the special character of his wines through either over-extraction or too much use of new oak. Until the year 2000 they used only 225-litre Bordeaux ’barriques’ for ageing their wines, but since then have replaced them with 500-litre barrels and even larger casks, to reduce the impact of oak on their wines.