Happy Quercy and Cahors wines (I)

Lucie Christine By Lucie Christine, 11th Nov 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Travel>Europe>France>The Dordogne, Limousin & Lot

Presentation of the Quercy region in France and its world famous wines

Quercy region

The Quercy
France is composed of marvellous regions, which are not compulsorily known very well by international mass tourism, and that’s a blessing as not too many people hurdle there. One of my preferred region is the Quercy. The map is below :

In France, Quercy is located there :

The Quercy has got a main river, the Lot river.
And along its meanders, there are many typical villages, surrounded by a lush vegetation and dotted of middle-aged buildings, particularly well restored. Thus a walk there takes you back in ancient ages.
Even some buildings date back to the Roman age:
Moreover the region has developed its own architectonic style. Mansions present often a pigeonnier
The main city of the Lot region is Cahors. Besides presenting all these architectonic features, Cahors is the capital of the red wine of the same name, which has built its international fame from Russia to Argentina.

Cahors wines


Cahors wines are mainly composed of Malbec grape (or Côt or Auxerrois), with small quantities of Tannat and Merlot. There is no Cabernet Sauvignon nor Cabernet franc.
These wines present a dark red color with a meaty, herb-tinged perfume, with traces of spiced black cherries and a whiff of cedar.
Cahors lies 130 miles (210km) from both the Atlantic coast (to the west) and the Mediterranean coast (to the south-east). As a result, the climate of the Quercy is subject to multiple influences: continental, maritime and Mediterranean. Summer days are warmer and sunnier than in Bordeaux, making it easy for the local vignerons to achieve full phenolic ripeness of their grapes. This is important for Malbec and even more so for high tannin Tannat, which is too astringent if not properly ripened.
Rainfall here is significantly lower than on the Atlantic coast (700mm a year, compared with 950mm in Bordeaux). Consequently, the risk of fungal issues in the Cahors vineyards is quite low, minimizing the amount of disease-preventive spraying required. The dry climate also means that vines experience slight hydric stress, forcing them to dig deep, strong root systems in search of water and thus increasing the concentration of sugars and phenolic compounds in the grapes.
The key vineyard sites for Cahors wines are roughly divided into two categories. Those on the limestone plateaux of the area (known as the “Causses”) produce more tannic, longer-lived wines. Those on the gravelly slopes between the plateaux and the rivers produce fruitier wines.
The official Cahors viticultural area spreads for 25 miles (40km) along a tightly meandering section of the Lot River. The Lot rises in the hills of the Massif Central and winds slowly westwards through the southern French countryside before flowing into the Garonne, which then continues on to Bordeaux. This navigable link with the port of Bordeaux (and export markets beyond) was once of vital economic importance to Cahors’ winemakers. The Bordelais also benefited from the connection, not just because they imposed high taxes on the incoming wines, but also because they blended the dark, rich Cahors wines with their own, which in those times often lacked color and depth. It wasn’t without good reason that Malbec was introduced to the vineyards of Bordeaux in the 18th Century.
The Lot is not the only river to have connected inland wine regions to Bordeaux; the Dordogne connected Bergerac and Montbazillac while the Garonne (via the Tarn) connected Gaillac and Fronton.

History

This wine is aged 2000 years. Vineyards appeared in the region during the Roman time. The wine produced was so good that it competed seriously with Italia wines, to such an extend that the Emperor ordered to pull up the vineyards…with no effect.
In 1152, the famous duchess of Aquitaine, Aliénor d’Aquitaine, married Henri Plantagenêt, future King of England. Cahors wine thus was known by English people, who denominated it “black wine”.
The century war put an end to a long rich period. The region of Bordeaux put taxes on wines coming from the Upper region but nevertheless Cahors wines remained famous among the dignitaries, such as France King François the First, who decided to make a vineyard “Cahors” in his castle of Fontainebleau, to Peter the Great of Russia who imposed this wine to the Orthodox Church.
Alas, in 1865, a devastating puceron of the vineyards, called phylloxera, attacked Cahors vineyards, which were completely destroyed.
A few vineyards survived, but the use of hybrids never gave the famous wine. In 1947, a vigneron cooperative located in Parnac made it relive by buying new plants in Bordeaux. In 1971, the vineyards totaled 40 ha. Today, this surface has been multiplied by ten

Maps credits

Map of Quercy: courtesy of Quercy-perigord.com
Map of France; courtesy of immobilierenquercyblanc.com

Tags

Cahors, Lot, Malbec, Malbec Pairings, Malbec The Pride Of Argentina, Quercy, Tannins, Wine

Meet the author

author avatar Lucie Christine
Since my youngest age, I have been attracted by reading, writing and foreign languages. I strived to create an independent job which links everything: interpreter -translator and writer

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Comments

author avatar Fern Mc Costigan
11th Nov 2014 (#)

The origins of Malbec wines, wine country France is very varied and diverse, you need a lifetime to tour this regions, interesting post, indeed!

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author avatar Lucie Christine
11th Nov 2014 (#)

Thank you, the story is not yet finished!

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