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Cahors Wine Region

The Birthplace of Malbec

Cahors, a small town lying in the southwestern part of France, is an AOC wine region with almost 4,500 hectares of vineyards.

This region is located at just 160 kilometres to the east of the world-famous Bordeaux wine region.

We could see that the Cahors region is the birthplace of Malbec grape variety. Locally, this grape is called by the names Côt and Auxerrois.

The Cahors wines that are being produced from the Malbec variety are popularly known as black wines because the colour of these wines will be so deep that they appear almost black.

Wine grape varieties
Now, let’s see all about the wines from Cahors here…

The Story of Malbec Wines in Cahors

The history of Malbec wines in Cahors can be dated back to over 2000 years ago during the times of the Roman Empire.

The Romans brought vine plants to the Quercy region, which grew rapidly so as to destroy the production of Italian wines.

The wines of Cahors were remained prosperous until the One Hundred Years War during the 18th century.

During the year 1865, phylloxera infested all over the country which within 12 years destroyed all the wine regions of Cahors.

Thus destroyed Malbec vines seen a resurrection in Cahors during the year 1947 when a group of winemakers established the Parnac Cooperative Winery.

With lots of efforts, the Malbec wine grape variety revived in Cahors and finally led to the acquisition of AOC designation during the year 1971.

Climate and Geography of Cahors

Cahors is lying at about 210 kilometres from both the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea as a result of which the climatic conditions are found to have multiple influences.

The climatic conditions of Cahors are found to be a mix of continental, Mediterranean, and maritime.

Due to these, the summers are found to be warmer and sunnier. It can be observed that these climatic conditions are making it easy for us to achieve a complete phenolic ripeness in the wine grapes.

Thus, the Malbec and Tannat grape varieties from Cahors are found to be tannin-rich. The region is receiving a lesser amount of rainfall when compared to the Atlantic coast and hence, the risk of fungal infection in the vineyards of Cahors is very low.

Alcohol and Distilleries

Viticulture and Winemaking in Cahors

Officially, the viticultural area of Cahors is found to be spreading for 40 kilometres along the meandering section of Lot River.

Within this, we can find that the key vineyards of Cahors are divided into two major categories.

The first category includes the vines that are cultivated on the limestone plateau that are producing more tannic and long-living wines.

And, the second category includes the vines being cultivated on the gravelly slopes which are producing fruitier wines.

When it comes to wine production, the regions AOC designation is used only for the red wines although some white and rosé wines are also produced here. These are being sold under the Vin de Pays designation.

Malbec Wines of Cahors

When we think of Malbec, the first thing comes to our minds is Argentina – the newly found home of the grape variety.

But, we should not forget that the Malbec wines that are being produced in Cahors are tighter, as well as leaner, than those being produced in Argentina.

As I mentioned earlier, the Malbec wines of Cahors are almost black in colour which is due to the higher concentration of polyphenols.

Thus, only in Cahors, we can taste the stronger, robust, and subtle wines with elegant textures and rich aromas.

As per the French appellation laws, the AOC wines that are being produced in Cahors should contain at least 70% of Malbec while the remaining 30% can be supplemented with the Merlot and Tannat grape varieties.

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Tharani Rajamanickam

Tharani Rajamanickam


I am Tharani, I have Bachelors degree in Biotechnology. I am passionate about the wine industry and continue to explore, learn and share and I bring in a wealth of knowledge and expertise to help you keep updated with best wines in the world. Stay tuned..

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