The Ilberts have been growing 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. Today they’re farming 26 hectares at 350 metres elevation, the highest reaches of la causse – an old Occitan term for the region’s famed limestone plateau. Julien shuns the common practice of blending Bordelais grapes with his Malbec (otherwise known here as Auxerrois) and avoids oak on many of his wines, only sparingly when he does, so letting the pure fruit quality of his grapes ring true. All in all, these are veritable vins de soif with real joie de vivre.
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.