Château Combel-la-Serre "Le Pur Fruit Du Causser" 2017

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Tasting Notes

Aromas of dried flowers and pure fruit, notably a mash of red and black cherries.  The wine itself is somewhat reminiscent of a Loire Cabernet Franc, with black pepper on the attack, slightly toothy tannins, and bright, tasty fruit.  Medium in body and length.

Julien Ilbert grew up on a family farm in the village of Cournou, a few kilometers west of the town of Cahors.  His family had raised cows, cereal grains, and vines for almost a century, selling the fruit to the local co-op.  He joined the family operation in 1998, planning to start his own wine estate.  But he met winemaker Mathieu Cosse at a rugby match, and for seven years supplied him with the family’s high-quality Auxerrois.  In 2005, Julien followed his original dream, relaunching the family vineyards as Château Combel-la-Serre and producing his own wines. He now has 25 hectares of vines, devoted almost exclusively to Auxerrois, planted on an array of terroirs, all within five kilometers of the winery.  All the vineyards lie on a causse, a limestone plateau at 320-350 meters above the alluvial plain along the Lot River.  Their elevation, exposure, soils, and temperature patterns set them apart from the Cahors norm.

Cahors is east-southeast of Bordeaux and north-northwest of Gascony.  It is a region of extremes: hot summers with wet, sometimes very cold winters. The first vines came in 50 BCE with the Romans, and Cahors achieved AOC status in 1971. Cahors wines are traditionally Malbec-based (even today they must contain at least 70% of the grape), usually blended with the even more tannic Tannat, supplement with other grapes like Negrette and Merlot.  It was the goal of Julien and his wife/business partner to modernize the old-school image.  To achieve this, they built a new cellar, make wine as naturally as possible, and use only Malbec.

Combe-La-Serre has been ECOCERT-certified organic since 2013, though it had been farmed without chemicals for several decades before. The Ilbert family strongly believed that the death of Julien’s grandfather from severe Parkinson’s disease was directly tied to a lifetime of exposure to the agrochemicals commonly used by French farmers in the mid-20th century, so they eliminated them long ago. The vines range in age from 20-90 years old, are worked entirely by hand and harvested manually. Winemaking choices, too, are not the Cahors norm: their wines are fermented with indigenous yeasts, made with only moderate extraction, touched barely by sulfur and raised mainly in cement tanks and used barrels.  This wine comes from 35-year-old vines, goes through a short, cool ferment, and rests over the winter on its fine lees.  Unoaked.

Food Pairing Suggestions

Charcuterie, Chicken/Turkey, Duck, Ham, Mexican, Mushrooms, Pork, Roasted Root Vegetables, Vegetables

Grape Varietal:
100% Malbec
$18.00 each
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