Au Cerisier de Combel La Serre Cahors 2018

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Tasting Notes

Aromas are meaty and deep, offering black cap raspberries, blackberry compote, and smoke. In the mouth, this wine is deep black and sleek, dark fruited and savory (black currant and espresso) as well as textured (fined tannins and fresh acidity). All elements are well integrated, along with herbal/vegetal notes and touches of cranberry. This medium-plus bodied wine is quite fresh with a longer finish.


Cahors is a region in southwest France producing exclusively red wine based on Malbec. (Malbec is known in France as Cot, and the local name in Cahors is Auxerrois, not to be confused with the white grape of the same name in Alsace.) In the 1980s and 1990s, the Cahors region received considerable internal investment, bringing it out from the shadow of Bordeaux. Bordelais wine merchants had long inflicted protectionist measures against the wines of Cahors, since those of the latter were fuller, richer, and deeper than those of Bordeaux and had a much longer history. They were heavily taxed and were not allowed to ship from the port of Bordeaux until the local wines had been exported. A variety of factors broke Bordeaux’s hold over the region, but Cahors only achieved AC status in 1971. Much of Cahors lies on an arid limestone plateau with this topsoil; the rest is on sand and gravel soils between the plateau and the river Lot. Although small amounts of Tannat and Merlot are permitted, Cabernets Sauvignon and Franc are expressly forbidden. This wine is pure Auxerrois.

The Ilbert family has grown grapes in Cahors for generations but have always sold their fruit to the local cooperative. In 1998, Julien started his own estate.  A chance meeting with a fellow rugby player led him to supply Mathieu Cosse with high quality fruit for seven years. They split amicably in 2005, and Julien went back to making his own wines at Château Combel-la-Serre. The 25-hectare (ha) estate was certified organic in 2015, though no agrochemicals had been used for quite some time.

Grapes for this wine are hand-harvested from a 1.2-ha plot named La Cerisier next to a cherry orchard (hence the name). The soils here is red and yellow clay over limestone bedrock; vines average 40 years old. 70% of the fruit is destemmed, the rest whole-cluster pressed. The must ferments with native yeasts with a three-week maceration. The wine ages in cement tank for 18 months and is bottled unfined and unfiltered.

Food Pairing Suggestions

Grilled preparations, Hearty stew, Red Meat, Slow-smoked Barbeque/BBQ Sauce, Wild Game

France, Southwest , Cahors
Grape Varietal:
$30.00 each