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 already garnered considerable attention in France and is top critic Michel Bettane’s ‘One to Watch’. The elegant, modern wines are made from the deep-coloured Malbec variety, which traditionally produced the ‘black wines’ of Cahors.
Vineyards are planted with 85% Malbec and 15% Merlot at the highest part of the South Quercy limestone plateau (causse), at an average altitude of 300m. The soil, mainly clay with a red iron oxide component, is ideally suited to producing refined and ageworthy wine. Located between the Atlantic and Mediterranean, the unique mesoclimate takes effect especially towards harvest when hot winds from Africa aid grape ripening. Careful leaf-thinning and green harvesting ensure well exposed fruit. The vines are 25 years old and yields are low at around 28 hectolitres per hectare. Harvest takes place by hand.
The 2012 season was demanding. A dry winter period led to an unusually warm month of March with temperatures above average. Bud-burst took place at the beginning of April and was immediately disturbed by a month of cool and wet weather. May was warmer and drier than usual, June was rainy but then July was relatively dry. This four-month period of unstable weather took its toll on the vines and delayed véraison to the 20th August. The period of post-véraison was warm and dry and eased the disease pressure, and advanced the maturity of the grapes. Harvest began on 10th October and finished with the top parcels a week later, in perfect harvesting conditions.
The grapes for this wine were naturally fermented at temperatures between 25-30C. The wine was left on the skin for 25 days, with daily pump overs and punch downs. The free-run and pressings were separated before malolactic fermentation occurred naturally in barrels. The wine was aged for 12 months in 2nd and 3rd used French oak barrels.
This wine is beautifully dark and intense in colour. On the nose, it has refined ripe fruit aromas of blueberry and violet. The tannins are mellow yet persistent. The mineral character on the finish balances the black fruit and ripe flavours.