• France's news in English
 
app_header_v3
France's Cahors region is new frontier for wine investors
The castle of Lagrezette in Caillac, southwestern France. Photo: Remy Gabalda/AFP

France's Cahors region is new frontier for wine investors

AFP · 7 Feb 2016, 15:09

Published: 07 Feb 2016 15:09 GMT+01:00

Cahors is the new go-to destination for foreign investors as wine-growing land is becoming scarce - and therefore exorbitantly expensive - in other French regions.

"You can't afford anything in Bordeaux or the Rhone or even in the Loire anymore," says Chilean specialist Pedro Parra, who works for Argentine wine firm Altos Las Hormigas. "Cahors is all that's left."

Besides, Cahors - whose dominant grape is the deep purple Malbec - is attractive as a wine "that we can't make in our country", he said.

Also beating a path to the region are Chinese investors as the taste for French wines continues to grow exponentially in China.

"The Chinese are coming to see us soon to sign a partnership," says Sebastien Sigaud of the Cahors domain Metairie Grande du Theron.

The famous limestone plateau around Cahors is known for its high calcium content, which brings the freshness and minerality that define the region's wine.

"We don't have that calcium back home" in Argentina, said Parra, trudging through a path between rows of vines and stooping to crumble some of the distinctive white rock between his fingers.

"Up there, I can see 2,000 crates at $100 each," he said, pointing to the top of a steep slope where a stretch of woodland has just been cleared.

Altos Las Hormigas co-founder Antonio Morescalchi, after discovering Cahors' "extraordinary potential" in 2013, has created a joint venture with three local companies.

Under the deal, the Cahors vintners will produce the wine with advice from Altos Las Hormigas, which in turn will market the result.

"It's a win-win partnership," says Jeremy Arnaud, head of marketing for a Cahors winegrowers federation, with the region standing to gain in international status while piggy-backing on the vast sales network developed by Argentine Malbec.

"The Argentinians have the potential to show our wine to a lot of people," said one of the partners, Germain Croisille of the Chateau les Croisille.

"Before, we used to make a retail wine that sold for €1-1.30 per litre. Now we'll be able to sell bottles for at least $16 (€15)."

'Malbec tango'

The advent of the Argentines is in a sense a homecoming for Cahors, whose vintners introduced the Malbec grape to the New World in the 19th century after escaping the devastating phylloxera plague that devastated their vines.

This back-and-forth, dubbed the "Malbec tango", today sees Argentine oenologist Leo Borsi producing wine in France while Cahors counterpart Pascal Piero owns an estate in Argentina, which has the most extensive Malbec acreage in the world.

With the Argentine palate in mind, Borsi has selected his plots to make a Cahors he says is "a little more exportable", with 3,000 bottles destined for export to Buenos Aires.

Costing an average €11,000 per hectare (2.5 acres), land in the Cahors region "is three times less than in Argentina and three to four times less than a Cotes du Rhone village," Arnaud says.

Borsi and Parra are not alone in targeting the area, with Herve Joyau, a Malbec pioneer in Argentina, taking on an estate in the nearby Lot region.

The surge in enthusiasm for the Cahors region is a cause of concern for some.

"We are handing them history, (wine) DNA on a plate," warns Alain-Dominique Perrin, owner of the prestigious Chateau Lagrezette domain. "I do not quite see how that is to our advantage. "

Story continues below…

Others are more optimistic.

"The Chinese are not predators," insists Bertrand-Gabriel Vigouroux, Cahors' foremost wine merchant and the owner of Chateau Haute-Serre.

"A Chinese investor can become an ambassador for Cahors wines."

In any case, Thomas Chardard, a vintner who is also president of the Lot chamber of commerce, asks: "How can we stop them?"

 

 

 

Today's headlines
French mayors dismiss suspended burqini ban
Photo: Jean Christophe Magnenet /AFP

The row over France’s burqini ban continues with several mayors vowing to keep restrictions in place despite the country’s top court suspending the ban in the resort town of Villeneuve-Loubet.

France's top court suspends burqini ban
Photo: bellmon1/Flickr

France's highest administrative court has suspended a town's ban on wearing the full-body burqini swimsuit.

Milk price raised, but French farmers still unhappy
The sign on the tractor reads 'We're dying', as farmers blocked Lactalis dairy headquarters. Photo: AFP

Milk prices have been raised by France's biggest dairy group to placate farmers, but unions say their demands have not been met.

Burqini bans 'dividing France's Muslim women'
Photo: AFP

The burqini bans have divided France, but they have also left Muslim women in France in two groups, argues a professor who has spent years studying the impact of the burqa.

Pizza-delivery drones could be on their way to France
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's your pizza. Photo: AFP

No more need to deal with grumpy French waiters...

Heatwave drags on as France faces red-hot weekend
Photo: AFP

France will see searing temperatures on Friday and Saturday, as the heatwave warnings have been extended (once again).

Nice: The French capital of burqini fines
The beach in the Riviera city of Nice. Photo: Valery Hache/AFP

It's one of only two of the 30 towns with a burqini ban in place to have actually given out any fines.

How to make France's famed Île Flottante dessert
Photo: Paul Oatway

France-based food blogger Laura Tobin shares her recipe for this delicious French dessert.

France's top court set to rule on burqini ban
Photo: bellmon1/Flickr

France's highest administrative court will decide this afternoon whether to overturn the burqini ban.

Corsica bushfire leaves 500 hectares scorched
Photos: AFP

A massive fire left 500 hectares of bushland in Corsica ravaged.

Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
Education
French schools to ramp up security with 'mock attacks'
Sponsored Article
5 reasons to try dating in Paris with The Inner Circle
Features
Where to go in France to find the best ice cream
National
Majority in France against burqinis on beaches
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
National
How to keep cool during France's heatwave
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
Society
Parisians invited to swim in the Bassin de la Villette
Society
Five tips for surviving an internship in France
Politics
Déja vu? Familiar faces in France's presidential race
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
National
Meet the man paying off burqini fines in France
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
National
Eight tips on buying wine in a French supermarket
Society
Here's how to enjoy Paris (while avoiding the heat)
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Society
Ten mistakes to avoid when dating a Frenchman
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Society
Twelve 'French' things that aren't actually French at all
'World's priciest home' on sale in French Riviera for €1 billion
Sponsored Article
Jordan Pass: your ticket to the experience of a lifetime
Lifestyle
RECIPE: How to make the tastiest ratatouille
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
National
Paris sees Europe's biggest plunge in 'liveability'
Sponsored Article
6 reasons expats use TransferWise to send money
National
Life on the home front in rural France's 'war on terror'
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Features
Weird facts you didn't know about the French language
Society
Paris foodie event cancelled over lack of security
How to tackle six of the trickiest French verbs
National
Summer in France - 'the ideal time to find a job'
National
'Burqini bans will only divide France more'
National
French vineyards revive horse-drawn ploughs
French mayor bans Pokemon Go app from his village
2,761
jobs available