The wine region of Cahors is one of the oldest and most historic regions in France. The approximately 4,500 hectares of vineyards stretch picturesquely along the banks of the River Lot. Wine was already being cultivated here in the 1st century BC. The grapes` name Côt evolved in the 18th century into the now internationally known Malbec. Characterised by its deep red colours, the name was known as the "black wine of Cahors".
One of Europes most influential women in the Middle Ages, Eleanor of Aquitaine, wife of French King Louis VII and thus Queen of France this region to. She later divorced him and married Henry II, the King of England, which made her also the Queen of England. Eleanor was enthusiastic about the wine of her homeland and became a brand ambassador for the black wine of Cahors at the court of England. Her son, Richard Lionheart, King of the Angevin empire, was very connected to his mother's homeland, which was part of his empire. King Richard used the vineyards of Cahors as his hunting grounds. Through this connection, wines from Cahors are closely associated with England to this day.
The success of Malbec and the Cahors region, was not only influenced on a political level, but also on a "divine" level. Pope John XII, also known as Jacob of Cahors, had his papal residence in Avignon and succeeded in directing winegrowers from Cahors to what is now the Chateauneuf du Pape wine region. Their amazing craftsmanship made them very sought after. Moreover, the Pope made wine from Cahors the official wine for communion during Holy Mass.
Malbec in the shadow of Bordeaux
The location of the city of Bordeaux on the Garonne contributed significantly to its success in the trade. In earlier times, Bordeaux was not a wine-growing centre, but rather of inferior quality. At that time, the pride of the Bordeaux people was greater than the quality of their wines. The strong wines from Cahors came in very handy and were often used to enhance their own wines. In addition, they ensured that the wine from Cahors was traded at a much lower price.
In the 16th century, Malbec was named the "Plant du Roi" by the French King Francois I and it became the wine served at the royal court. Francois I also tried to cultivate this grape variety in Champagne, but it was not successful due to the unsuitable climate.
The 20th century
In 1956, unfortunately, there was an extreme frost which destroyed almost all the vines. But the region held on to Malbec and replanted all the lost vineyards.
A final important step for the region was the designation as an Appelation origine controlée (AOC) in 1971, through the influence of the French President Georges Pompidou.
The varied and exciting history of Cahors, are witnesses to the fact that these are very special wines. The centuries-old craftsmanship of the region is reflected in all the wines that proudly bear the designation Cahors AOP.