The appellation is named after the capital of the same name in the Département of Lot in southwest France. The vineyards, which cover some 4,500 hectares, are located on both banks of the river Lot, northwest of Gaillac. The wine growing region is one of the oldest and most famous in France. The Celts (Gauls) were already producing wooden barrels here in the 6th century BC. Under Emperor Domitian (51-96) the Romans cultivated wine here. In the 13th century, Cahors wine was exported to England, where it gained an excellent reputation as "black wine". In Cahors the later Pope John XII. (1244-1334) was born in Cahors and for over 400 years there was a university founded by him. When he was Pope in Avignon on the Rhône, he had winegrowers from Cahors come here to grow the predecessor of Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
King Francis I (1494-1547) was so taken with Cahors that he had vines planted in his residence in Fontainebleau. At the end of the 18th century, the Russian Orthodox Church obtained wine from Cahors as a mass wine and the Russian Tsar's court as a magnificent wine for special occasions. Because of pronunciation problems, it became a synonym for mass wine here as "Kagor". The famous Tsar's winery Massandra in the Ukraine produced a dessert wine under this name, following the Cahors example, which is still produced today. In the 19th century, the "Black Wine of Cahors" achieved a legendary reputation. At that time, part of the must was thickened (concentrated) by boiling it down to make the wine particularly palatable and dark.
Towards the end of the 19th century, phylloxera destroyed large stocks and hybrids were mostly planted. An extreme frost in 1956 destroyed the entire vine stock, which had a positive effect on the quality. This is because the new planting was done with Malbec, with 70% of the area, as well as Merlot and Tannat. After that, things went rapidly upwards, the AOC classification was already granted in 1971. The then French President Georges Pompidou (1911-1974), who owned land in the Lot department, played an important role. The long storable, deep dark red wine is characterized by an intensive, tannin-rich taste. It is blended from at least 70% Malbec(Cot) with up to 30% Tannat and/or Merlot (the formerly used Jurançon Noir variety has not been permitted since 1996).
Well-known producers in Cahors are Château Bovila, Château de Caïx, Château du Cayrou, Château du Cèdre, Château Chambert, Château Gautoul, Château Lagrézette, Château Lamartine, Château Quattre, Château du Souleillou, Château Vincens, Clos de Camot, Clos la Coutale, Clos Triguedina, Domaine de Gaudou, Domaine de la Coustarelle, Domaine des Grauzils, Domaine des Savarines, Domaine Pinneraie, Vigouroux (with the vineyards Ch. de Haute-Serre, Ch. de Mercuès, Ch. Leret-Monpezat, Ch. Tournelles) and Vinovalie.