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Intro: Cahors, Gaillac, Fronton, Marcillac

Bérangeraie is the type of domaine that inspired me to set up Vine Trail 25 years ago. Run by the exceptionally hard working Bérenger family, the domaine is in the hands of Maurin, his wife Marlène (both oenologists), sister Juline and her husband Henri. Parents Sylvie and André originally had the mountainous task of clearing the hillsides of trees and shrubs to plant 20 hectares of vine in 1970 and still help out with work in the vines and the office.

Dynamic doesn’t quite go far enough to describe the Bérengers’ work. In the vineyards they plough, leaf-thin and debud to produce low yields, converting to organic viticulture a few years ago. They are also the only domaine in Cahors where all the vines are hand-harvested. Hand-harvesting is four times more expensive than machine harvesting, but it prolongs the life of the vine, and is the only way to ensure the quality of every grape that goes into the fermentation vat.

If you enjoy wild, mountainous country, spectacular scenery, rugged red sandstone buildings and your wines with a real irony ping on the finish, then head for Marcillac, an hour and a half east of Cahors. Marcillac is the type of wine you could drink every day, and indeed, given its claimed cholesterol-lowering qualities, should drink every day.

Château la Colombière is an old Fronton estate with 600 years of history taken over by Diane and Philippe Cauvin in 2006, who first gained organic certification and now work bio-dynamically. They have 16 hectares of vines, located half an hour to the north of Toulouse, and produce stunning, great value wines based around the unusual négrette grape.

Organic & Bio-dynamic

See our list of organic and bio-dynamic growers.