Between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea
Located in Occitania, halfway between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, Cahors is a gently sloped appellation in the foothills of the Massif Central. The vineyard is also closely connected to the river Lot, a waterway with countless meanders, including the one that is home to the Town of Cahors.
Along the river, from Cahors and the surrounding area to the village of Soturac, the vineyard follows the river from east to west for some 60 km.
Although the eastern part of the vineyard is 75 minutes north of Toulouse, the western part lies on the borders of the Nouvelle Aquitaine region, just over 2 hours’ drive east of Bordeaux.
the Capital of Malbec
In the 16th century, Cahors University Professor and Jurist François Roaldès published “Le discours sur la vigne”, one of the rare winegrowing works of the time, which refers to the presence of Auxerrois vines in the Cahors vineyard for at least 600 years. In more recent times, genetics has shown that the Auxerrois of yesteryear is the Malbec variety of today.
The term Malbec was first used in the 18th century. It was named after the owner of a wine estate in the Médoc, Mr Malbeck, who disseminated the grape variety and gave it his name.
The Cahors vineyard consists of two major terroir areas, with very different landscapes.
One of these areas is perched higher up, at an altitude of 250 to 350 metres. This is the limestone plateau terroir, formed by a sea which existed there 150 million years ago, signs of which are still present today at the “Pterosaur Beach” in Crayssac, atop the cliff overlooking the Parnac meander.
The other area is in the valley. This is a “terrace” terroir created by the Lot river. For 15 million years, the river has been hollowing out the limestone plateau, depositing alluvium from the Massif Central in its many meanders.
3 out of 10 bottles are sold outside France
Although Cahors wines are still mainly marketed in France (70%), export sales have significantly increased over the last few years. In fact, exports are the leading sales outlet, ahead of French large retail outlets and direct sales. With a new image, linked to styles of wine which are increasingly rich and balanced, but also thanks to a new commercial approach, the ambition of Cahors is now to reconquer the restaurant trade, which contributed to the great reputation of the wine in the 1970s and 80s. In short, a totally new commercial rollout of Cahors wines is currently underway.
Source : Commercialisation en volumes des vins AOC Cahors, évaluation UIVC (2017)
a great terroir
Thanks to its exceptional terroirs but also to a new generation of wines, winemakers and wine merchants, the Cahors vineyard has restored its status as the Malbec reference. But its ambitions go way beyond that.
15 years from now, the appellation intends to confirm its destiny, namely to craft wines that rank among the greatest terroir wines in the world, irrespective of the grape variety.
Since the 1990s, winemakers have invested in studying their terroir, but above all in experimenting with distinctive wine styles or blending their plots, enhancing their know-how to create new cuvees.
Argentina’s quality Malbec pioneers are convinced of this potential, supported by a new dynamic approach, and are now investing in Cahors.
To be continued…
The Cahors Malbec
In 2007-2008, the Cahors vineyard adopted and started implementing a positioning strategy named “Cahors Malbec”, with communication focused both on the Cahors appellation and on its historic grape variety, Malbec.
The strategy has been constantly and proactively promoted since, bearing in mind that it was Argentina who first allowed the world to discover it at the beginning of the 2000s.
“Cahors, the French Malbec”, “Cahors, The Capital of Malbec”, “Cahors, the Terroir Malbec”, are among the slogans used over the years.
“Cahors Malbec Days” and the “Cahors Malbec Lounge” are flagship actions created by the vineyard to embody its commitment to reposition and reconquer.
An export boom since 2012
In 2007, the Cahors vineyard identified one main objective: To achieve a more international reputation and higher global sales.
After several years of investment focused on exports, in particular to the United States, Cahors wine exports increased significantly as from 2012.
In 2017, the top 3 markets of the appellation, in sales volumes, were:
Great Britain (26.5%)
and the United States (19.7%)
In value, the order is slightly different:
the United States (23.4%)
and Great Britain (13.7%)
Now, the aim is to achieve at least 40% of sales on the export market in the next 15 years.
To be continued…