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 300 metres above sea level. The soil contains two distinct geological components; red clay with high concentration of red which lends the wine power, spice and black fruit aromas; and white clay with limestone similar to that of Chablis, which produces minerality and finesse. 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. The grapes are hand-harvested.
Warm weather early in the year brought the 2014 bud-burst forward to 19th March, two weeks earlier than average. Summer began with a beautiful, dry June, but July and August suffered from intermittent rain, which increased disease pressure and slowed ripening. A warm, dry September allowed full sugar and phenolic ripeness, and healthy vines, with the long growing season encouraging complexity and concentration. The harvest started with on 3rd October, and was completed by the middle of the month.
The grapes are separated by parcel and vinified spearately. After a pneumatic press, the free-run juice and pressings were separated. Fermentation took place with ambient yeasts at controlled temperatures of 25-30°C, and the cap was managed by a combination of pump-overs and plunging. The fermenting must spent 25 days on skins. Malolactic fermentation took place in barrel. The wine was matured for 12 months in french oak, 20% of which were new.
This wine is beautifully dark and intense in colour. On the nose, it has refined ripe fruit aromas of blueberry and violet. On the palate, the tannins are silky and round and the mineral character on the finish balances the black fruit and ripe flavours.