Although he grew up in the family vineyards of Cahors, Pascal Verhaeghe only gets to wine making through diversion. As a young man, he is more interested in motorbikes, physics and maths. It all changes during a spontaneous visit to see a friend who is a wine grower in Burgundy. Having originally planned to stay for an hour or two, Pascal helps out with harvest and works several days in the vineyards and in the cellar. While driving his motorcycle back to Cahors, he decides to quit physics and get into wine.
After having got his qualification from the renowned Lyceum for Agriculture at Macon-Davayé and more practical experience in the vineyards of Burgundy and Napa Valley, Pascal takes over the family estate together with his brother Jean-Marc, a qualified oenologist who obtained his first wine making experience at La Tour Blanche in Sauternes.
The two brothers share the work from the beginning: while Jean-Marc is responsible for the vineyards, Pascal takes care of the wines and their distribution. After a first year marked by particularly difficult weather conditions, they rigorously revised their work in the vineyards.
“We absolutely had to decrease the yields and focus on the terroir.”
After a couple of years he expression of their wines proof that they were right. The harmony between the vines and their environment reflects in the constantly increasing quality and taste of the grapes.
The vines of Château du Cèdre root in two different types of soil: The terroirs, 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.
But “terroir” not only means soil to Jean-Marc and Pascal Verhaeghe. The surrounding woods and the “double climate” of the Cahors region also play an important role.
“Aromas of juniper and eucalyptus that emerge in our wines towards the end of fermentation, derive from the neighbouring vegetation.”
“ The vineyards of Cahors lay within a triangle formed by the ocean, the Pyrenees and the Mediterranean sea. Our climate is influenced by the Atlantic until June, and clearly becomes Mediterranean in summer. Our grapes ripen under “healthy” conditions, without suffering from drought.”
« A great Terroir fees a lot of respect »
That’s why herbicides have been banned from our vineyards for long time. Pruning is adapted to the climate, using single Guyot that allows optimum canopy management. Yield management through a limited quantity of grapes per vine and slight defoliation in late summer allow late harvest at most favourable ripeness.