Combel La Serre

  • Cahors, Southwest, France
Château Combel La Serre

Thank you to importer Louis/Dressner for this estate profile:

(Click here for further Combel La Serre insights from Louis/Dressner)

Julien Ilbert is a young, charismatic vigneron with a fresh perspective on his native Cahors. Vines have been in the Ilbert family for generations, though grapes had always been sold to the local cave coopérative. In 1998, Julien decided to break off and start his own estate. Things didn't exactly go according to plan, and a chance meeting with Mathieu Cosse at a rugby match quickly led to a seven year relationship, with Julien being Mathieu's main source for high quality Auxerrois (aka Malbec, aka Côt).

After an amicable split in 2005, Julien was back on track to producing his own wines: Château Combel-la-Serre was born. 25 hectares of Auxerrois are planted on a diverse amount of terroirs, all within 5 kilometers of the cellar. Though a Cahors wine only needs to be 70% Auxerrois to get the appellation, Julien believes it is the only grape suitable for what he's trying to accomplish. In such he has consciously avoided planting the traditional Negrette and Tannat and completely eschewed the more recent trend of planting Bordeaux varietals.

The estate is certified organic as of the 2015 vintage, but chemicals have not touched the vineyards for quite some time. Everything was conventionally farmed from the advent of such technology, but the death of Julien's grandfather from Parkinsons deeply affected the family's agricultural philosophy. Convinced that the chemicals he'd openly exposed himself day in and day out were at the root of his illness (on top of the vines, an additional 40 hectares of cereals were worked by the family at the time), the Ilbert stopped using these products on their land.

The wines have also evolved in the decade since Julien launched his own estate, culminating in what we now get to enjoy in our glasses. Though you should never judge a book by its cover, Julien has made the decision to design playful labels and bottle the wines in Burgundian bottles, two seemingly superficial details that are actually a very bold statement in the ultra-traditional mindset of most Cahors producers.

Image PRODUCT Description

DB7210-19
Organic
Vermentino De la Terre à la Lune
2019
Vermentino
100% Vermentino. From a one-hectare, north-facing plot of Vermentino vines on limestone in the Ilberts' home village of Cournou on the... Read More

DB3882-19
Organic
Rosé L'Epatant Antidote
2019
Malbec
100% Malbec (aka Auxerrois locally). From 1 hectare of 40-year-old vines on the clay-limestone soiils of the causse (limestone plateau of... Read More

DB8318-18
Organic
Cahors Le Pur Fruit du Causse
2018
Malbec
100% Malbec (aka Auxerrois in local parlance). The fruit for Pur comes from seven different Combel sites totalling 8.5 hectares on the... Read More

DB7202-18
Organic
Carbo IGP Côtes-du-Lot
2018
Malbec
100% Malbec (aka Auxerrois in local parlance). From a pebbly 1.35-hectare parcel on clay-limestone soils juste derrière chez Carbo... Read More

DB3887-17
Organic
Cahors Au Cerisier
2017
Malbec
100% Malbec (aka Auxerrois in local parlance). Au Cerisier comes from a single 1.2-hectare plot next door to a cherry orchard, hence the... Read More

DB8851-14
Organic
Cahors Le Lac Aux Cochons
2014
Malbec
100% Malbec (aka Auxerrois in local parlance). Le Lac Aux Cochons is a one-hectare plot at 350 meters with a natural depression that rains... Read More

DB7200-18
Organic
Cahors Château Cuvée
2018
Malbec
100% Malbec (aka Auxerrois in local parlance).  From 3 plots averaging 40 years old and totaling 3 hectares, on red clay with limestone... Read More