We humbly ask the great god Bacchus to bless this post. We met him in the beautiful city of Nîmes, not far from the ruins of the temple in Diana. Per usual, he looked robust and cheerful, despite his debauched lifestyle.
As you might recall, we discovered when in the Cahors area that we were at the European epicenter of Malbec wine and, indeed, local vignobles were laboring to produce good and plenty and “recapture the flag from Argentina.” (If you missed our foray to all this, here is a link to that post: https://franceinjuly.wordpress.com/2013/07/14/malbecs-of-cahors-fiesty-and-powerful-in-which-two-tourists-who-like-wine-but-have-no-expertise-set-out-to-learn-about-the-local-productions/ )
We drank the rough, intense gas-pump Malbec while there, and purchased three highly recommended bottles of Cahors Malbec to share with our friends in the days and miles ahead. While visiting Jean-Louis and Elaine, we opened one: the Cayx 2009. Here is the official description:
Chateau de Cayx 2009
Notes of cherry and kirsch aromas with a delicate roasted flavour. A truly majestic Cahors with silky tannins. This exceptional wine was created in honor of Her Majesty, Queen Margrethe of Denmark, to celebrate the occasion of her 70th birthday. It was surpassingly wonderful to our uninitiated but eager palates. Rich, dark, fruity, deep.
Because we had a longer visit with Robert, the other two bottles were opened at his Montpellier home. He was willing to assist in our research.
This bottle, 2005 “the best year yet”:
Chateau de Chambert 2005
This is the modern face of Cahors; big, bright black/blueberry fruit, chunky and chocolatey and really showing off its Malbec characteristics. When you get great Malbec like this from its homeland, it doesn’t seem quite so different from the very best Argentinian Malbecs, perhaps drier and more structured but still with a similar core of intense fruit.
This highly touted wine was okay, but lacking in substance and heft after the Cayx. Robert, who also preferred the 2009 Haute Serre, enjoyed this 2005 vintage more than we did, explaining that the French tend to prefer lighter wines. It was indeed delicious with the strong Roquefort cheese we also brought along and happy, contemplative moments ensued.
Next and last was this bottle, 2009 Haute Serre, is widely acknowledged to be representative and excellent—our B&B hostess in the Cahors area had insisted we try it, declared it her absolute favorite.
Château de Haute-Serre 2009
A little paler in colour and a bright and primary nose of red fruits, but there’s a leathery and gamy note too, a touch of the barnyard suggesting a light bretty character. Chocolate and sweet fruit on the palate is mouth-filling and rich, but the finish just a touch short and showing that slight drying quality.
We enjoyed it last night with pasta (sweet summer tomatoes, fresh basil, prosciutto, mozzarella, hot red pepper over bowties with olive oil and balsamico, if you must know). This one was in between the other two in power and quality: more robust and darker, but not as intense as the Cayx. It was made by the celebrity vintner, Georges Vigouroux, who also released to the public the much more inexpensive and heavy-duty unadulterated “gas-pump Malbec.”
In the end, we Americans find first one we tried, the Cayx 2009, the Cahors Malbec made for the Queen of Denmark’s birthday to be superior, memorable, the most ,best good excellent yummy woooooo oui oui oui.
Amen, Bacchus, Bless Us Tout le Monde!
* I have noticed that many French people end long and short speeches and statements in this fashion. It’s like, “Okay. That’s it. I’m done. Voilà!”
“Chapeau” to Georges Vigouroux, however. He is a famous local star, perhaps the best known winemaker in Lot. If you’ve got some extra cash, and want to spend a few Euros, he has a good bottle for you. But it you’ve not got much, or just want a bottle every night with your supper, Georges is not above making something decent for that range of the market as well. Whoever you are, and whatever your budget, Georges has got you covered.