Not Just Another Pretty Malbec Face…

We all know how trendy the Malbec is these days don’t we?  Well, contrary to popular belief, there ARE other Malbecs out there besides the oh-so-trendy Argentinian Malbecs that we see on every restaurants wine lists.

So,  let’s go back to its roots shall we? In Southwest France below famous Bordeaux on a map, lies the region of Cahors.  (By the way, Bordeaux blends are allowed, and some DO use Malbec in the blend, however, it is usually never more than 5%) The Malbec grape originated here in France and is the principal grape used in Cahors, and often blended with Merlot and/or Tannat.  There are however, some 100% varietal Malbecs coming out of this region.  Here in Cahors, it is called Auxerrois, and must account for at least 70% of any blend.

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This particular Cahors I tasted was 80% Malbec and 20% Merlot.  The wines from this area are described as “black wines” and can be very tannic and long-lasting.  I loved the softening aspect of the Merlot in this wine, as it helped to balance the acidity and tannins nicely.  This being a 2010 (A good year for ALL of France), indeed had me very excited to taste this. In fact, Cahors wines have a great reputation for their expressions of the Malbec grape!  And lucky for me,  Clos La Coutale was a great value at $20 on the shelf and it was a pretty fine example of that expression! Lots of black fruit (plums, and blackberries mostly) with baking spices and hints of cedar and smoke.  And like any “black” wine,  continued to open up in my glass, had some medium plus body and finished long.

Here’s what Wine Facts online had to say:

  • Clos la Coutale: With a solid expert pedigree and very reasonable prices of $15-$20, Coutale’s basic wine easily qualifies for the title of best-value Cahors. The wine, labeled only Cahors, gets consistent high-80s ratings and boasts a good combination of tannin and fruit flavors. The brightly labeled Grand Coutale promises higher quality, but isn’t as well-valued.

Cheers to that, and may all your Malbecs be French!

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