Team Nederburg Visits the Cradle of Malbec

Monday, 17 December, 2018
Jean-Vincent Ridon
This year Team Nederburg wanted to explore the side roads of wines in order to train for the world championship. If everyone knows about the Argentinian Malbec, the cultivar that became the national flagship grape of this South American country, few people know that Malbec originates form a very scenic part of France, the Lot valley, around the town of Cahors.

Also known in France under the name “Côt”, Malbec was often a blending cultivar in South Africa, and only in the 90’ did producers like Fairview and Ashanti decide to bottle it on its own.

As very few Cahors wines are imported in South Africa, Team Nederburg decided to meet the locals and explore the original Malbec, known for its freshness, its density and its dark colour making the Cahors dubbed “the black wine” by many other wine producing regions of France.

Team Nederburg first visited Jean Luc Baldes from Clos Triguedina. He is respected by his peers to be one of the leaders of the renewal of Cahors, travelling the world from Argentina to Japan, preaching the quality of the Original Malbec. His family estate holds one of the very first replanted Malbec after the big frost of 1954 which destroyed most of the appellation. Argentinian winemakers often come to get cuttings from these venerable vines pre-dating the age of clonal selection… a true treasury for any Malbec fan around the world. His cuvée Probus is made from these very old vines, and it has made a true impression on the Team. Anton Swarts, the team South Africa Cape Wine Master was impressed by the depth, ripness of the cherry fruit while being puzzled by the refreshing acidity, giving the wine a unique elegance.

Visiting the Chateau de Mercues was a time travel experience. The cellar of this 13th century castle is the property of the Vigouroux family, one of the leading négociant of the Cahors appellation. Tasting the production of Bertrand Gabriel Vigouroux’s own vineyards was showing the modernity of the appellation with extra polished textures, and intense complexity… Captain Anita Streicher Nel loved the smoothness of the wines, already enjoyable for a 2015 vintage. The secret lies in the 8000 vines per hectare density of plantation on soil with a very high lime content. The purity of the terroir shows in this wine produced at higher altitude.

Since Team South Africa enjoys a VIP status, we have been welcomed by the producers of Cahors at the Malbec Lounge, a place dedicated to welcoming professionals from around the world, showing most of the producers. It would be a great model for WOSA to implement locally, and create a real professional place to welcome journalists, professional taster, sommeliers and Teams from the world. Armand de Gerard gave us a tour of more than 10 wines reflecting the major trends, the different terroirs and the most exclusive wines of the Cahors appellation. Although a bit of merlot and tannat is tolerated in Cahors, Welma Smith and Pieter de Klerk asked to taste only pure Malbec in order to calibrate their palates for the world championship.

And it worked! The warm welcome of Cahors producers allows the team to identify the Malbec at the world championship. As it did not taste like anything they knew from Cahors it had to be from Argentina! And it was… every step takes Team Nederburg closer to the podium.

On the 12th October 2019 the world championship will take place in the famous chateau of Chambord in the Loire Valley. The selection of Team South Africa will start soon, make sure you take your chance to explore the world of wine.


Cahors Range
Cahors Range

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