Thursday, 4 August 2011

Chateau du Cedre visit

Pascal Verhaegue began by introducing us to another vistor, one of the writers from the Revue du Vin de France, then we all piled into his car for a quick tour of the vineyards to see the two distinct terroirs which make up the estate: chalky, sometimes sandy soils giving finesse to the wine and clay soils with galet stones providing the power. These are blended together in the final wines.

Back in the cellars, we tasted the component parts from the 2010 vintage, first for Chateau du Cedre, then for "Le Cedre" and finally for "GC". After each cuvee was tasted in components, Pascal put together an approximate blend of the finished wine which, in each case, was greater than the sum of its parts. The sandier soils did, indeed, offer refined characters and the clay more powerful ones which, at this stage, were more attractive (they stand up better to the oak). The difference between the wines is, essentially, vine age although the first cuvee does include a very small amount - around 5% each - of Merlot and Tannat. "GC" also has its primary fermentation in the same barrels it spends the rest of its elevage in, starting out in upturned, open-topped barrels which are then sealed and laid on their sides for the extended ageing.

As a vintage, 2010 is clearly extremely good and I am looking forward to finalising my en primeur order for these wines. However, they were eclipsed by the more complete 2009 wines, all of which had extra flesh, as you would expect from wines which have had longer to develop. I left there very pleased that I had personally bought quite a lot of both "Le Cedre" and "GC" which has the texture of a top Pomerol but, I think, more interesting fruit.

We finished off with a tasting of the current vintages in bottle, mostly 2008. Having tasted , and enjoyed, the 2007s last year, I agreed with Pascal's assessment then that whilst 2007 is better than 2006, 2008 is better still and 2009 and 2010 are probably going to be excellent vintages to round off the decade. I left with a case each of the Chateau du Cedre and "Le Cedre" in the boot for current drinking (proviso: current drinking in Cahors means in about 5-10 years time).

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