The Occitanie region of southern France is one dominated by crumbling old estates, medieval castles, and a heavy sense of tradition which hangs in the air. There’s nothing wrong with this per se (indeed, many of our favourite wines come from such places), but it’s a real delight to come across a winery in this region which is having a bit of fun breaking conventions, bending the rules, and producing fantastic wines as a result.

This is the case with Chateau du Cedre a surprisingly progressive winery run by the Verhaeghe family from a beautiful ancestral estate, who have spent the past few decades exploring modern approaches to viticulture which probably raised a few eyebrows among their neighbours. All we can say is: if the wines taste this good, who really cares what the chateau next door thinks?

The signature wine of Chateau du Cedre is a blend of Malbec with a small quantity of Merlot. Slightly unusual in itself, this wine is a masterclass in expression and balance, and features all the sunniness and exuberance of the southern French countryside. A few years ago, the Verhaeghe family broke with convention, and decided that the only way they were going to be able to take their family winery to new heights of excellence was by completely overturning their methods.

This led to the younger generation of winemakers in the family heading off on a voyage of discovery across Central Europe and out to California, and coming back committed to organic and biodynamic approaches to viticulture.

Today, Chateau du Cedre is a pioneering biodynamic winery that works closely with their precious land. What’s more, it makes the kind of wines that let the world know just how special their small and little-known part of France really is. This is traditional French red wine, rocketed into the 21st century… and we’ll raise a glass to that!

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