Isabelle Rey-Auriat is the 3rd generation of the Rey-Auriat family to head Ch?teau de la Marjoliere. She has managed the 33-acre estate since 1994 and has completed her 25th harvest. Her influence in that time cannot be understated. She took over at a time when Cahors was not much of a wine in France. Its only grape was Malbec which, while it is a star in Argentina and also plays a small part in the wines of Bordeaux, produced very dark, harsh wines in Cahors. Its original name was Cot, loosely meaning black in an obscure French dialect. The name is fitting for the grape as it is one of the darkest skinned grapes.
Isabelle decided that these dark, harsh wines weren't good enough and worked with her vineyard manager to produce grapes that would be less tannic and more approachable in their youth. She was also responsible for helping change the laws of the appellation to include up to 20% Merlot, making a huge difference in the resultant wines. When she took over, you would have never found a wine like this in Cahors, with 80% Malbec and 20% Merlot. Coincidentally, even in Bordeaux, the use of Malbec is also declining.
Isabelle has transformed Malbec into a spectacular representation of her family's property. It is now, complemented by Merlot, the gold standard in Cahors. The wine is almost Bordeaux-like in its flavor profile with recurring dark fruits and spice components, taming the tannins and inviting the grilled meats and game dishes of the area.