The Town of Cahors
The Cahors vineyard
Geography

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.

History

Cahors

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.

Terroirs

Two major

terroir areas

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.

The Valley Terroirs

In the Valley, the vineyard slopes gently down from the foot of the limestone plateau to the river, which was for centuries used as a means to transport barrels to Bordeaux.

The “first terrace” terroir is located closest to the river. It consists of young and fertile alluvium, with sandy loam soils that yield light, fruity wines.

The “second terrace” is five metres higher. This is a limestone terroir where runoff has extracted the finest and most fertile soil elements, with the presence of rounded pebbles bearing witness to the former course of the river. Compared to the “first terrace”, the soil of the second terrace contains more clay. The more clayey soil retains water, providing the vineyard with stable hydration, giving the wine body and depth.

Higher still, the “third terrace” consists of two types of soils: A more gravelly limestone soil nearer the plateau, giving the wines great finesse; and a clayey-limestone soil giving the wines fruitiness and strength.

Jérôme Morel

Causse Terroirs

At an altitude of above 250 metres, we have the Causse terroir, with its hillsides and limestone plateau.

This terroir is less fertile than the terraces and also less influenced by the river. Temperature contrasts between day and night result in the grapes ripening later, with less flesh but undeniable finesse.

The diversity of soils on the limestone plateau is impressive. Some are marl soils dotted with limestone rocks or red, sometimes even purple pebbles (siderolithic formations, rich in ferruginous concretions). Some soils are particularly rich in yellow or red clay which retain water and nutrients, ensuring a constant supply of water and minerals to the vine plants.

economy

The vineyard specialized in Malbec

The Malbec variety is grown in 85% of our vineyard

Up to 20 millions

bottles produced each year

The Cahors Appellation, a controlled designation of origin, was recognised in 1971. It produces only red wines, which must be crafted from Malbec grapes (at least 70%). The demarcated area of the appellation covers 21,700 hectares, but only 4,500 hectares are currently planted with vines. The potential of good and very good terroirs is generally considered to be 7,000 hectares. With 4,000 hectares of Malbec, the Cahors vineyard is today the leading French producer of this grape variety and the second-ranked producer worldwide. Today organic farming covers 17% of the vineyard (versus less than 10% on average in France). Of the 20 million bottles produced each year, 80% are crafted by winemakers with their own cellars and 20% come from a single cooperative winery.

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.

Export
31%
French large retail outlets
28%
Direct sales (wine fairs, tasting cellars ...)
24%
Wine shops
10%
Cafés, hotels, restaurants
7%

Source : Commercialisation en volumes des vins AOC Cahors, évaluation UIVC (2017)

Ambition

Crafting

a great terroir

Malbec

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

Strategy

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%)
Canada (21.2%)
and the United States (19.7%)

In value, the order is slightly different:

Canada (26%)

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…

Strategie-cm-v3-en

Source : Business France

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animated by Union Interprofessionnelle du Vin de Cahors

Made with by Terroir Manager​​

  • cahorsmalbec
CS v04

animated by Union Interprofessionnelle du Vin de Cahors

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