Located in Vires, on the river Lot, our friend Gilles Filhol is the 4th generation of growers in a family with deep roots in Cahors. His 20 hectares of vineyards make him a larger than average grower (average vineyard size is about 12 Ha), and he farms according to “Lutte Raisonée,” the “reasonable fight,” which in practical terms means no chemical treatments are made unless absolutely necessary (no “pre-emptive” treatments) and a grave respect for the land. His forebears grew other crops, but Gilles’ focus is on wine and only on wine. His father was the first in the family to bottle wine, in 1982; before that the wine was sold to customers in demijohns and even in oak casks.
Malbec was born here in Cahors. Of course nowdays, many think first of Argentina when Malbec is mentioned, and we’ve all heard it before: “You mean they grow Malbec in France?!” In Cahors, the grape achieves an incredible minerality in the best sites, and the locals will tell you that this minerality is born from the stone and clay, always mixed with something: calcaire, sand, or gravel. Although about 70% of the vineyard of Cahors is on the alluvial plane, the best wines are grown higher up on the “terraces” which rise to about 100-150 meters above the river.
Great wines from Cahors have marvelous aging potential, given their solid tannic and mineral structure and fine acids. For example, Chemin de Compestelle can improve from 5-9 years after the vintage and Gilles’ prestige bottling will improve up to 15 years from the vintage date, in a balanced vintage.
Winery: Château Hauterive
Region: Languedoc, Le Sud (Languedoc, Southern France)
Locale: Vire-sur-Lot, France