The AOC Cahors was created in 1971 and is reserved exclusively for red wines crafted from Malbec grapes which make Cahors the cradle of Malbec. The specifications governing the appellation allow two secondary grape varieties: Tannat and Merlot, but Malbec must represent at least 70% of the blend. In 2020, the AOC represented a vineyard area of 3,323 hectares, out of 21,700 hectares covering 45 communes in the Lot, for the delimited AOC area. The vineyard differs from its counterparts elsewhere in the south-west of France due to its iconic grape variety.
The Cahors vineyard enjoys a mix of climatic influences create a conducive environment for wine growing. As the crow flies, the vineyard is the same distance from the Atlantic Ocean, the Mediterranean Sea and the Pyrenees mountains. The temperate oceanic influence is still present with well-distributed rainfall and plenty of sunshine to ensure optimal ripening of the grapes. The favorable geographical location avoids both the Atlantic humidity and the Mediterranean autumn rainfalls. The vineyard benefits from a sunny autumn season which allows winemakers to fine-tune ideal ripeness conditions for harvest without excessive rain.
The influence of the Massif Central mountain range also gives Quercy (the natural region where Cahors is located) a mountain climate. This healthy climate for vines in winter brings mild conditions most of the time, although exceptional cold is possible.
The influence of the Massif Central mountain range also gives Quercy a mountain climate. This healthy climate for vines in winter brings mild conditions most of the time, although exceptional cold is possible.