Following on from the conversion to organic viticulture, it was only natural that Pascal and Jean-Marc would continue on a path towards reducing any additives in the wines. All the wines are now fermented with indigenous yeasts and sulphur additions are kept to an absolute minimum. Indeed even the ‘regular’ Château du Cèdre Cahors today contains as little as 3-5ppm free SO2 and only 30ppm total.
In 2014 they took this one step further, with the creation of the Extra Libre range: Vins Naturels with no added SO2 at all. There are three wines in the range, each a direct parallel to a ‘regular’ estate wine, respectively the Château du Cèdre Cahors, Le Cèdre and GC.
Drawing on their shared research into lees contact with Luc de Conti in Bergerac, the brothers make each wine from the same parcels of fruit as the regular wines, simply without sulphur and then mature them on lees in large oak casks for 12 months, 18 months and 24 months respectively. The results are a triumph of organic viticulture, pristine fruit and intelligent winemaking.
‘When we first started working with lees a decade or more ago we had typically 50mm or more of lees and we would get quite a bit of reduction. Today with healthier fruit from organics, we start with less than 30mm of lees, but after 18-24 months we have only 1mm of lees remaining and no reduction at all. Amazingly, the lees have been assimilated back into the wine.’ Pascal Verhaeghe, November 2017.