The region Cahors
For thousands of years, rivers both great and small have been the fertile arteries closely entwined with the lives of men.
Such is the mighty Lot as it winds its way through the Quercy region of France. Downstream of Cahors is a land poised between the craggy rock-faces of the upper valley and the rich plain of Aquitaine. This is a land blessed by the gently-flowing river as it meanders past fields and terraces of fertile soil. The soil in this region is an agglomerate formed by limestone from the Causse plateau and alluvium from the shores of the Lot, bringing forth an abundance of fruits on sheltered terraces that capture maximum sunlight. It was here that the vines of the great Cahors wine thrived and where today it is enjoying a renaissance. For those who understand them, plants will always bear witness to the climate. And the vine is clearly at home in this environment so conducive to a relaxed rhythm of life. The landscape holds such beauty that one scarcely knows which way to turn. From the fortified towers of the Pont Valentré to Bonaguil, the Cahors Wine Route ambles through picturesque villages, past elegant châteaux and humble churches - perfect harmony on a human scale.
Here there is nothing to jar the nerves, the mood is one of warmth and hospitality. The emphasis is on quality rather than quantity. There is everything to inspire, nothing to bore. Along the towpath, time stands still for the fishermen as he whiles away the hours under a willow tree, the poplars whispering their song at the merest breath of wind. Among the juniper trees, hares and young partridges tease hopeful hunters, the scent of truffles and lavender hanging in the air.
The landscape is an artist's paradise where the warm tones of limestone rocks form the perfect backdrop to the ever-changing colours of the seasons.
Scene of the Gallic resistance, the Romans and the English also left their mark here, making rich pickings for historians and archaeologists. The bushes perhaps conceal a wealth of remains that will one day be painstakingly uncovered.
And what of the people who inhabit this little paradise? Their livelihood depends on skilful, tireless labour to fertilize a land that yields its delectable fruits so sparingly. Their teacher is Nature herself from whom they learn common sense and moderation. Full of good-natured mischief, they are quick to see the lighter side of life. Free spirits at heart, they brook no master and will stand up for their independence at the risk of appearing contrary. All this awaits you along the Cahors Wine Route between the Pont Valentré and Bonaguil.
* From the book "The Wine of Cahors" by José Baudel. Editions de la Bouriane, Gourdon (France).
*Ernest Lafon, teacher and poet in Albas*