History

The history of Chambert is associated with over 2000 years of Cahors malbec.

Sifting through the archives, one can retrace a part of her history back to the 10th century! Chambert fame culminated during the 19th century (in 1854 the vineyard was covering 392 Ha) and declined after General Bataille death in 1914 as her sister (a nun) inherited from the estate and let the vineyard turn wild. Hopefully the full vineyard was replanted in 1974 and organically grown. 




Last 10 centuries

10th - 18th centuries

10th century: The oldest texts describe the grandeur of the vineyards that occupy the expansive hills of Floressas.

13th-16th century: The vineyards of Chambert cover 300ha and are administered in a fortified farm, called “den” with round towers and moats which is situated at the current-day location of the château. The domain is the property of the lords of Floressas; DE BEYNAC in 1318, Viscount LAGORSE-LIMOGES in 1550 and finally the Marquis BRACHET PEYRUSSE in 1630.

17th century: Chambert becomes a noble bourgeois property and is farmed by royals: Madamoiselle LALVALETTE in 1690, a descendant of John BAYLET, Lord of VALETTE, and then later by the family LATHEZE in 1780. Cahors is well known for its red wine and due to the improvements in the navigation of the river Lot, the grapes from Chambert produce wine that is sent all around France, England Russia and America. In 1852, 75% of Cahors wine is exported.

19th century

In 1850, an epidemic of odium, a fungus causing mildew on grapes, was raging all throughout the vineyards of France, but due to the arid conditions of the high hills of the Lot Valley, Chambert was initially spared. Unfortunately by 1854, the powdery mildew did finally arrive and destroyed 75% of the Chambert harvest ( reduced to 160L/ha instead of the usual 1000L/ha). In 1855, the Chambert vineyards are replanted as it was thought at the time that this was the only solution to the powdery mildew infestation.

In 1857, Mélanie LATHEZE married Louis BATAILLE, notary at Frayssinet le Gélat. Their son, Marie Désiré Pierre Amédée BATAILLE, was born in the château in 1862 and went on to become the youngest French General. Around this time the estate was producing 400 barrels of Malbec that were exported all throughout Europe and the USA. Before shipping, each Chambert barrel was branded with the Château de Chambert coat of arms.

In 1873, the “small” Chambert château - a fortification of the 16th century, was renovated and gave way to an imposing and grand castle (see image below) that was protected by a defensive garden of moats and high walls. In 1886, a fire destroyed three quarters of this château and the central portion of the original château was rebuilt and 100 years later two round towers in the style of a 16th century castle were added.

In the past 100 years

The proliferation of Phylloxera in the late 1800’s gradually killed the vines and the death of General BATAILLE on the Vosges front in 1914 led to the abandonment of the 300 Ha of Chambert vineyards. 

From 1914 to 1973, the vineyard area became fallow land for sheep grazing and, paradoxically, this unfortunate abandonment was a blessing in disguise since the land escaped the intensive chemical agriculture phase of the inter-war and post-war periods. The Chambert site was untouched by chemical treatments, the land was saved, untreated, and ready to start over at the first opportunity. 

In 1973, Marc DELGOULET, a wine maker from the Correze is captivated by the charm and historical grandeur of Château de Chambert and purchases the château and the surrounding hillside. His goal is to return Château de Chambert to it’s former glory and produce the wines that were once again appreciated around the world . In 1974, he selects the best parcels of land with the best exposition, slope and soil type and replants the hillside around the château with Malbec. The vineyards are managed organically: worked by hand, treated with minimal sulfur and fertilized only with a natural compost. 
Marc’s first vintage in 1978 produces a wine that goes on the win gold at the national competitions of Mâcon, Blaye and Bourg and he is well on his way to reviving the legend of Château de Chambert. Respectful of the vines and a lover of the land, in 1989 Marc contacts Jacques Mell of “Terres en Devenir”, a consulting business for biodynamic farming. It is too expensive for Marc to venture into biodynamics so he continues along an organic path; however, little did Marc know that 25 years later biodynamics would become the destiny of Chambert. With the help of his son Joel, the two continue to improve the reputation of the estate and the wines of Chambert are still appreciated for their elegance, finesse and reflection of exceptional terroir.  

Today the vineyard property, owned by Philippe Lejeune, covers about 65ha. It is the largest certified organic estate in Cahors (ECOCERT certification) and largest South-West biodynamic estate (DEMETER and Biodyvin certifications)

Since 2019, a new modern building suspended over the vineyard includes a VIP reception / tasting room, a biodynamic research lab and a professional kitchen.

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