Time to sample the lovely black wines of Cahors
I am far more comfortable calling the very dark wines from the Cahors area “black” than calling our world's pale yellow, light green or golden ones “white”.
Many, many years ago I remember an incident in a Midwest sports bar when I asked for a glass of white wine and was informed that they had none.
When I pointed to bottles, the young lady said: “Oh, you want rhine or chablis, but they are not white.”
How true that was, and still is.
“In this Dairy State,” she added, “milk is white.” She was completely serious.
More than 2,000 years ago, Roman emperors planted vines in Cahors, which is in south-east France and, as you stare into their inky depths, you can see why they are reputably the darkest of them all.
The rather arid conditions force the roots to look for nutrients deep into the soil and they perfectly suit Malbec, which accounts for about 70 per cent of the vines. Malbec used to be more widely planted, especially in Bordeaux, where it added colour to their blends.
In 1956, a severe cold spell killed many of the vines in Cahors and Bordeaux, and when replanting took place in Bordeaux, the region moved more to cabernet sauvignon and merlot.
Cahors decided to concentrate on what they did best and in 1971 the area was granted Appellation d'Origine Controlee status, which assured regulations to guarantee quality.
Of course, we associate Argentina with Malbec and it was very interesting to stand with a winemaker in a Mendoza vineyard as he pointed out the larger local fruit and then the smaller berries of recent French clones that he had planted.
I feel it fair to say that the Catena family put very fine Malbec (and other wines) on the map for Argentina, but the family leading the pack in Cahors is Georges Vigouroux.
They claim that the black wine of Cahors has been flowing through their family's veins for four generations and that they have been the specialists in France since 1887.
Our Georges Vigouroux Pigmentum Malbec 2014 is right in the Monday to Thursday night price category at $16.65.
Here is what one French site says about it: “With a fierce desire to please, it will seduce you with its flaming red dress and summer scents with powerful aromas of red and black fruits: raspberry, blackcurrant, blackberry. In the mouth, the tannins are buttered and covered by the fruit. A delicious wine, round and greedy to serve as an aperitif.”
I will give you a short cut as, rather than asking for Georges Vigouroux Chateau de Haute-Serre Seigneur 2014 Malbec, you could just ask for our stock number: 7762.
This Malbec is very dark in colour, with highlights of crimson. An exceptional red of noteworthy balance with an intense concentration and elegant finesse demonstrating the power of a great Malbec with its complexity. On opening the bottle, immediately there is the powerful bouquet of Morello cherry, blackcurrant and spice. The fresh and fruity nose is reflected on the palate which has a long, silky-smooth aftertaste, typical of the vineyard. $28.85.
Their Chateau de Haute-Serre Geron Dadine 2014 Malbec is left for a long time on its skins and, after rigorously temperature-controlled fermentation, it resides in new oak barrels for up to 18 months.
With no doubt, this is a “vin noir” of Cahors. Its deep, dark robe gives an idea of the high concentration of this wine. Its nose reveals perfumes of stewed black and red fruits enhanced by spice. Elegant tannins never seem to end. $47.
Only 250 cases are made each year of their Icône W.O.W. Malbec and they suggest their 2014 with Kobe beef or the finest chocolate.
Vanilla and powerful ripe black fruit are all in the aroma. The aftertaste is endless. When I checked to see how many bottles we might have, I found that the few remaining are all over at our sister company, Discovery Wines. The price of a bottle is $121.40.
It would be interesting to open a French and Argentine bottle side by side and see how different clones, methods and terroir can all offer very good, but different wines.
• This column is an advertorial for Burrows Lightbourn Ltd. E-mail email@example.com or 295-0176. Burrows Lightbourn has stores in Hamilton (Front Street East, 295-1554), Paget (Harbour Road, 236-0355) and St George's (York Street, 297-0409). Visit www.wineonline.bm