2017 Chateau de Haute-Serre Grand Vin Seigneur Malbec
Blend: Malbec (90%), Merlot (7%), Tannat (3%)
From: Cahors, France
The perfect illustration of the spirit of the Vigouroux family: to make wines that give pleasure to the consumer, just like for a good novel when you’re eager to find out the end, when you taste a good wine you want to go to the end of the bottle. George Vigouroux re-introduced the grape to Cahors in 1975 and has produced a range of award-winning wines, identifiable by their deep ruby robe and intense aromas along with silky tannins that give a deliciously velvety mouthfeel.
The Grand Vin Seigneur grows a place bathed in sunshine from the start of the day... a stony soil with red clay... excellent southwest and southeast-facing sun exposure – in short, an ideal location for growing Malbec! The 63 hectares of vines grow on slopes with clay soil at an altitude of 300 meters – one of the highest vineyards in the appellation. Once picked, the wine is left for a long time on the skins, and fermentation is rigorously temperature-controlled. It is aged for 10-12 months in oak barrels (1/3 news, 1/3 one year old, 1/3 two years old). Typical of the appellation, this Cahors can be savoured now or be cellared for a few years.
Malbec is the quintessential grape variety of Cahors and lends its marvellous characteristics to the appellation’s signature 70% blends. The Domaines Georges Vigouroux are situated along the Lot River, which serves as a thermal regulator, on pebbly and gravelly soil. Located between the Mediterranean and the Atlantic Ocean, rainfall and humidity levels are optimal for the quality of the vines.
In the early 1970s, Georges Vigouroux, the third generation in a family of brokers, was looking for a place to replant Malbec vines on their historical ‘terroir.’ He found Château de Haute-Serre, abandoned since the end of the 19th century, an estate that had produced one of France’s great wines up to 1880. It took him two years to clear the land, plant 160,000 vines, and renovate all of the buildings.
Haute-Serre became an unequalled winemaking site in southwest France. From the sale of his very first vintage of AOC Cahors in 1976, Georges Vigouroux’s work paid off: Haute-Serre was recognised as a first ‘Cru’ from Cahors. Now, Georges’ son, Bertrand-Gabriel Vigouroux, continues his father’s work. He aims to achieve excellence with high-density replanting,the use of eco-friendly vine-growing and tending techniques, ageing in new oak barrels, and trials with wood from different origins to continue the family tradition in the 21st century.
Witness to an epic past, the Château vineyard already existed in the Middle Ages, property of the Abbey Lagarde Dieu in Tarn-et-Garonne. It used to cover some 1000 hectares. In 1580, an old woman found the Christ’s holy headgear in the garbage, thrown away by the Huguenots during the looting of the cathedral Saint-Etienne.
Geron Dadine de Haute-Serre bought it against wheat and got it out of the town of Cahors on June 4th hiding it in the estate. A few religious wars later and never losing sight of its winemaking vocation, Château de Haute-Serre and its vineyard were on a gala menu in 1889 alongside Château Margaux and various wines from Pommard. Great and prestigious, a reference. However it did not escape the phylloxera in the late Nineteenth and early Twentieth Century: completely destroyed, it was left to the wild vegetation of the Causse de Cahors for nearly a century.
Taste: Very dark color with carmine highlights and a wonderfully complex and powerful bouquet of morello cherry, blackcurrant, and spices. The freshness and fruitiness on the nose carry over beautifully to the palate, which has a long, silky aftertaste.
Pairing: Perfect on a roasted meat like T-bone, beer-braised beef, rack of lamb or cassoulet, it also goes very well with mighty French cheeses and dark chocolate.
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