The history of Chambert is associated with over 2000 years of Cahors malbec.
Sifting through the archives, one can retrace a part of her history back to the 10th century! Chambert fame culminated during the 19th century (in 1854 the vineyard was covering 392 Ha) and declined after General Bataille death in 1914 as her sister (a nun) inherited from the estate and let the vineyard turn wild. Hopefully the full vineyard was replanted in 1974 and organically grown.
10th century: The oldest texts describe the grandeur of the vineyards that occupy the expansive hills of Floressas.
13th-16th century: The vineyards of Chambert cover 300ha and are administered in a fortified farm, called “den” with round towers and moats which is situated at the current-day location of the château. The domain is the property of the lords of Floressas; DE BEYNAC in 1318, Viscount LAGORSE-LIMOGES in 1550 and finally the Marquis BRACHET PEYRUSSE in 1630.
17th century: Chambert becomes a noble bourgeois property and is farmed by royals: Madamoiselle LALVALETTE in 1690, a descendant of John BAYLET, Lord of VALETTE, and then later by the family LATHEZE in 1780. Cahors is well known for its red wine and due to the improvements in the navigation of the river Lot, the grapes from Chambert produce wine that is sent all around France, England Russia and America. In 1852, 75% of Cahors wine is exported.
In 1850, an epidemic of odium, a fungus causing mildew on grapes, was raging all throughout the vineyards of France, but due to the arid conditions of the high hills of the Lot Valley, Chambert was initially spared. Unfortunately by 1854, the powdery mildew did finally arrive and destroyed 75% of the Chambert harvest ( reduced to 160L/ha instead of the usual 1000L/ha). In 1855, the Chambert vineyards are replanted as it was thought at the time that this was the only solution to the powdery mildew infestation.
In 1857, Mélanie LATHEZE married Louis BATAILLE, notary at Frayssinet le Gélat. Their son, Marie Désiré Pierre Amédée BATAILLE, was born in the château in 1862 and went on to become the youngest French General. Around this time the estate was producing 400 barrels of Malbec that were exported all throughout Europe and the USA. Before shipping, each Chambert barrel was branded with the Château de Chambert coat of arms.
In 1873, the “small” Chambert château - a fortification of the 16th century, was renovated and gave way to an imposing and grand castle (see image below) that was protected by a defensive garden of moats and high walls. In 1886, a fire destroyed three quarters of this château and the central portion of the original château was rebuilt and 100 years later two round towers in the style of a 16th century castle were added.