Château du Cayrou sits at the bottom of one the Lot River’s deep bends near the town of Puy l’Évèque. Cayrou is a historic Cahors pioneer with a storied terroir that has produced some of the most compelling Cahors wines of the past decades, lending prestige to the region. Until 2009, the estate was owned by the Jouffreau family, who also owns Clos de Gamot. They had bought the Château (which was in disrepair from neglect) and vineyards in the 1970s, recognizing the tremendous potential of the site, and replanted 30 hectares of vines.
They eventually realized that they were unable to keep up with Cayrou and their other estates at the same time, so in 2009 they sold the château to Georges Douin, a former Renault executive who subsequently revitalized the property, where he lives with his wife. George Douin brought in his son-in-law, Julien Goursaud, to take care of the vineyards and make the wines. Julien started his career in finance, but changed gears at a young age to pursue winemaking, gaining valuable experience working at several famous Bordeaux châteaux.
One of the first things Julien did upon taking over at Château du Cayrou was cut the production hectarage in half. The wines are currently being made with the 15 hectares that constitute the best parcels of the estate located entirely on well-drained gravel in the horse-shoe bends of the Lot river. Cahors is all about the rocks. As for the winemaking, the philosophy is quite clear: Julien makes wines that are light framed, fresh, and elegant. In practice, this means careful control of the temperature during maceration and fermentation. It also means no use of oak barrels at all in the winery, with the goal of making wines that are pure, transparent expressions of the site. Château du Cayrou has been certified organic since the 2012 vintage.
Within the Southwest of France, this is the one region outside of Argentina that is today almost exclusively dependent on Malbec. Locally the variety is called Cot, and makes a dense, earthy and black fruit dominant red wine. Both the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean both have a strong influence on the climate of this region.
Celebrated for its bold flavors and supple texture, Malbec has enjoyed runaway success in Argentina since the late 20th century. The grape originated in Bordeaux, France, where it historically contributed color and tannin to blends. A French agronomist, who saw great potential for the variety in Mendoza’s hot, high-altitude landscape, brought Malbec to Argentina in 1868. Somm Secret—If you’re trying to please a crowd, Malbec is generally a safe bet with its combination of dense fruit and soft tannins.