The Ilberts have been farming vines in Cahors since 1901 but selling grapes to the local co-op. However, between 1998 and 2005, current vigneron Julien phased out the selling of his grapes and created Combel-la-Serre. He today farms 26 hectares at 320-350 metres above sea level on the highest reaches of la causse, an old Occitan term for the region’s famed limestone plateau. He shuns the addition of Bordeaux grapes to his Malbec (otherwise known here as Auxerrois) and avoids using oak on many of his wines, only sparingly on those he does, so letting the pure fruit of these special grapes ring true. All in all, rugby-loving Julien makes Malbecs that are veritable vins de soif with no shortage of joie de vivre.
Malbec grapes from different plots in the village of Cournou, 35-year-old vines planted on causse limestone and clay. Traditional short fermentation with the aim of maximum fruit extraction, aged on lees in cement tanks. No oak is used and the wines are not inoculated with yeasts – ambient yeasts used. No malo is used.
Bright, intense purple colour, recognisably Malbec with bramble fruit and grip, yet at just 12.5% alcohol it’s a genuine vin de soif – even for serving slightly chilled in warmer summer months. Radically brilliant.
Give it a go with spaggy bol, spicy sausage, smokey lentil soup, cassoulet