France: South West France

Valleys of the Tarn and Lot

The wines of Cahors, Gaillac, Fronton and beyond
By Paul Strang

This Guide was last updated on 28 July 2011
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Main wine styles


Cahors reds are robust, deep coloured, powerful wines that develop flavours of undergrowth, violet, blackcurrant and even liquorice on ageing. More modern styles are however being produced in a lighter fruity style. Gaillac reds have lighter structure with a spicy character. Fronton is also lighter than Cahors, its flowery and liquorice characteristics making it a good match for the cassoulet of Toulouse, where it is also popular in bars and bistros. Other reds are easy drinking, locally consumed wines, often with good colour.


Fresh, fruity rosés usually produced by saignée method are made throughout the region and are increasing in production and popularity.


Apart from Vins de Pays, only Gaillac AC and the VDQS wines of Entraygues-et-le-Fel and Estaing produce white wines in this micro-region. Mauzac and Len de l'El based wines have improved greatly in quality recently. There are also good sweet Gaillacs, some matured in oak.

Sparkling Wines

In Gaillac, a proportion of the white grape production is used to make sparkling wines either by the local Méthode Gaillacoise or the Traditional Method.

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