Château de Chambert
South West France, France
Château de Chambert lies 30 kilometres west of the town of Cahors, between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. Owned and run by Philippe Lejeune since 2007, with the additional support of consultant winemaker Stéphane Derenoncourt, the estate has garnered considerable attention in France. The estate gained organic certification in 2012 and was certified biodynamic at the end of 2015, making it the largest organic and biodynamic estate in Cahors. Philippe keeps highland cattle which can be seen roaming the fields surrounding the Château from Spring until harvest, after which they are allowed to wander the vines until the end of winter.
Today the Chambert vineyard covers 65 hectares, of which 45 hectares are planted with 80% Malbec, 17% Merlot and 3% Chardonnay. The vines are located high up on the limestone ‘causse’, or plateau, that is regarded as the best part of the Cahors appellation. The limestone gives freshness and balance to the wines, while the red iron-oxide that cuts through the soils adds colour, richness and a powerful intensity. At 300 metres above sea level, the night-time temperatures are fresh, while the warm September winds that blow northwards from Africa lower the risk of disease.
The grapes are hand harvested and sorted, and each parcel is vinified separately. The Cahors ‘Grand Vin’ is 100% Malbec and is sourced from 14 hectares of the best low-yielding old vines. The Cahors Malbec has a little Merlot added to the blend, which makes it more approachable for drinking while young.