Witness to an epic past, the Château vineyard already existed in the Middle Ages, property of the Abbey Lagarde Dieu in Tarn-et-Garonne. It used to cover some 1000 hectares. In 1580, an old woman found the Christ’s holy headgear in the garbage, thrown away by the Huguenots during the looting of the cathedral Saint-Etienne.
Geron Dadine de Haute-Serre bought it against wheat and got it out of the town of Cahors on June 4th hiding it to the estate. A few religious wars later and never losing sight of its winemaking vocation, Château de Haute-Serre and its vineyard were on a gala menu in 1889 alongside Château Margaux and various wines from Pommard. Great and prestigious, a reference. However it did not escape the phylloxera in the late Nineteenth and early Twentieth Century: completely destroyed, it was left to the wild vegetation of the Causse de Cahors for nearly a century.
In the early 1970s Georges Vigouroux, the third generation in a family of broker-maturers, was looking for a place to replant Malbec vines on their historical ‘terroir’. He found Château de Haute-Serre, abandoned since the end of the 19th century, an estate that had produced one of France’s great wines up to 1880. It took him two years to clear the land, plant 160,000 vines and create a chai in the rehabilitated buildings.
Haute-Serre became an unequalled winemaking site in south-west France. From the sale of his very first vintage of AOC Cahors in 1976, Georges Vigouroux’s bet paid off – Haute-Serre was recognised as a first true ‘Cru’ from Cahors. Now his son, Bertrand-Gabriel Vigouroux, continues his father’s work. He aims to achieve excellence with high-density replanting, use of eco-friendly vine-growing and tending techniques, ageing in new oak barrels, trials with wood from different origins and work on toasting suitable for Malbec.