I must confess I have a soft spot for strong but fine wines. That’s why I enjoy wines from Cahors, Languedoc, or Spain, for example. Cahors and Languedoc are still fighting some prejudices as for their qualities. After a few years of campaigning Languedoc is now better off but Cahors is still carrying a wrong image. I even read lately on blogs or in the press some untrue comments onhow they are”tannic” or “rustic” or “difficult to drink”. Since I just came back from Cahors and had the privilege to taste some of their wines, I’d like to answer some of those articles.
Malbec from Cahors is the original Malbec – the Malbec that went to Argentina at the end of the 19th century and thrived in this new land. It gave birth to a new kind of Malbec due to the climate. While Argentinians were working with this new grape variety, Cahors was being true to almost 800 years of history of wine making: their strong and powerful wine was a huge success in Europe until the 1956 frost almost wiped out the vineyard. The producers replanted with even better quality vines and since then have been producing nice and powerful wines. Of course, there were low end wines like in every appellation but most producers tried to create high quality wines.
The result of this policy is now obvious when you drink Cahors wines: they lost a lot of the “tannic” edge that was difficult for the average wine drinker. They are now more velvety, smooth while still powerful – the real expression of their sunny and dry terroir. This new generation of Cahors wines express deeply the land they come from: they’re food-friendly and enjoyable. Cahors people enjoy life, good food, friends, sports. They carry in their wines their life values. You can enjoy their rounder wines as a pre-dinner drink with some roasted vegetables or a cheese plate. Their wines also have a very good ageing potential, allowing the wine drinker to savour older wines. I tasted a Château Lamartine 1978 full of life and smooth as a baby skin!
Of course, when you travel to Cahors, you will experience their wines with black truffles (even in an oyster or in cheese), duck or lamb. But I also had some of their wines with fish cooked in Mediterranean vegetables and with soup. Don’t be shy! next time you see a Cahors wine on the shelf of your favorite wine store, grab it: you’re in for a nice surprise!
Photo Pont Valentré in Cahors by PhillipC