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Official Guide to the Most Beautiful Villages of France

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Cahors AC Chateau les Hauts d’Aglan

chateau les hauts aglan Cahors AOC wine
Through the post this week comes an update from one of my favourite Cahors producers – Isabelle Rey-Auriat at Chateau les Hauts d’Aglan. – but my passion is directed at her stunning wines rather than the lady herself, although she is very charming and rather beautiful.
Her top cuvée is the Cuvée “A” – an unfiltered, unoaked 100% Malbec which os a stunning demonstration of how good French Malbec can be – lots of fruit and deep complexity.

The vines of Chateau Les Hauts d’Aglan nestle on the high terraces of the appellation that gave birth to Cahors wine well before the phylloxera. The Martinet family in the 19th century owned and worked this exceptional site on the right bank of the Lot, facing due south so that it benefits from long hours of sunshine.

Isabelle’s grandfather Roger Martinet developed the market for the wines by sending them by barge to Bordeaux. This was the only practical way to reach larger markets at the time. He subsequently passed the property on to his daughter, Raymonde Martinet-Rey and her husband. They devoted themselves for a whole generation to remodelling the domain by regrouping neighbouring parcels of land with the same sub-soil. They created a property of 10 contiguous and homogeneous hectares and established the reputation of Chateau Les Hauts d’Aglan in 1985.
History repeats itself and the property has been handed down from daughter to daughter. Isabelle took over the property in 1994 and expanded the area of vines by absorbing Chateau de La Marjolière thus creating a property totalling 14 hectares, Cuvée A from Chateau les Hauts d'Aglan in CahorsShe brought back to life the “Cuvée A”, “a wine of wonderful memories of Sunday family meals with her grandparents, surrounded by their vines.”
The vineyard is in the commune of Soturac in the extreme west of the appellation (see map) at an altitude of 100 metres close to the boundary of the Bordeaux region. This means that the grapes mature 8 to 10 days in advance of those at the eastern limit of the appellation. The roots grow deep into the exceptional subsoil of the Old Quaternary Era, a soil of clay limestone (argilo-calcaire) containing flint and iron minerals which nourish the grapes and thus give the wines of Chateau Les Hauts d’Aglan their unique and refined character.
She works with two grape varieties: Malbec which accounts for 90% of the production, and Merlot. Malbec, also known locally as Auxerrois or more generally Cot Noir, is the original variety of the Cahors appellation. It brings structure, complexity and power to the wines. Merlot is a complementary variety which adds finesse, body and roundness, as well as an elegant bouquet in early years, later giving way to the powerful aromas the violets, liquorice,
spice and candied fruit of the Malbec.
The wines are vinified in stainless steelsvats, parcel by parcel in order to get the best from each. The wine remains on the skins for 15 to 20 days to extract the colour, aromas and structure needed for good aging, without including the coarse tannins, which are too astringent and can upset the balance of the wine. They have one overriding objective, which is to produce wines which are characterful, long lasting, full with finesse, elegance and complexity and which balance the characteristics of the Malbec with those of the terroir to give maximum pleasure!
After the blending, the wines are kept for 24 to 36 months in concrete vats to guarantee the harmonisation of the tannins and to allow the wines to begin to open out before going on sale. They will then be enjoyed with red meat, foie gras or fine cheeses – they are also good with spicy dishes.
I’m not aware of any UK stockist (let me know if I am wrong) – she does not appear to have a website, so you’ll just have to visit the vineyard – well worth a little detour.

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