Cahors native Julien Ilbert took over the family mixed-use farm in 1998, including about 20 hectares of vines on the limestone cause, at 320 - 350 meters in altitude, which had been farmed without chemicals for decades. Julien sold grapes to Matthieu Cosse for many years, then began his own production in 2005. Full of energy and enthusiasm, Julien has been determined to make fresh, vibrant wines that naturally express the high elevation limestone vineyards. Minimal SO2 is used and extraction is light so that even the top cuvees remain bright and lively, though they are deep, dark and complex expressions of Malbec at its best.
The Combel la Serre "Pur Fruit" is 100% Malbec from seven different sites around their home village of Cournou, which lies on the Causse, a limestone plateau in Cahors at 320m elevation. Planted on clay-limestone soils, the vines are certified organic and average 35 years old. The grapes are hand-harvested and crushed with 20% whole clusters; the juice ferments at cool temperatures with indigenous yeasts in cement tanks with a 10-day skin maceration. The wine is aged on its lees in cement through the winter and bottled in the spring. The 2018 is a vibrant fruit-bomb showing a deep red/black color with aromas of ripe blackberry liqueur with violet and citrus hints. The palate is supple and sappy with dense blackberry and black raspberry fruit, lifted by bright acidity - quite lush and ripe but at only 12.5% alcohol it's refreshing and balanced. The cool, sappy fruits continue in the bright finish. Perfect with a steak or stew or just gulped by itself - serve cool and enjoy! David Lillie
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