The Malbec You Never Knew: Cahors #Winophiles

French Winophiles Explore the Cahors Region
This month, our French #Winophiles group is returning to the Cahors region in Southwest France. We virtually visited a year ago (previous post is here) and we had so much fun, we decided to return. And we had an offer of samples from  Vinconnexion and  Vin de Cahors .  Take a look farther down in this post for a bunch of great posts from my fellow Winophiles about the Cahors region and their wines.

Disclosure: Wines for this post were provided as samples, no other compensation was involved. All opinions expressed are mine.

Wine Map of Southwest France. The hot pink area in the center includes the village and wine region of Cahors. Also note near the top left corner the village of Bordeaux, strategically placed with access to the Atlantic ocean. Map courtesy of

Malbec’s Original Home is in France
Most wine drinkers are familiar with Malbec from Argentina, but they’ve not heard of Malbec from France. What gives? First, most regions in France label their wines with a village name, not the grape. This makes sense, as there was no DNA analysis back in the 1700’s when many wines we drink today were named.  Wine drinkers of the day knew that wines from a certain village tasted good and were worth seeking out. Second, look at the above map, and particularly note the location of the nearest port city – Bordeaux. If you lived in Cahors and wanted to ship your wines outside your local region, you had to get them through Bordeaux.  Unfortunately for Cahors, Bordeaux merchants had plenty of wine to promote and ship. So other nearby regions essentially languished outside the limelight. What a shame!

Today we’re sharing our findings after taking the opportunity to try several Cahors wines, where the major grape is Malbec. You might ask how French Malbec differs from those coming from Argentina. Perhaps no surprise, French Malbecs from Cahors are typically a bit less fruity and have a bit less obvious use of new oak in their aging. Acidity and tannins are a bit higher. You’ll still notice that same inky-dark color and dark fruits, but generally speaking, the French wines hold true to the “old world” style.

Clos d’Audhuy Lacapelle Cabanac Les Polissons Malbec de Cahors is exhuberantly youthful and ready to drink right now.

Clos d’Audhuy Lacapelle Cabanac Les Polissons Cahors Malbec 2018 (sample, online here) 13.5% abv
Eye: Clear, dark purple with richly stained legs
Nose: Clean, medium+ intensity aromas of ripe and candied fruit: blueberries, blackberries, plums. Fresh herbs and a bit of gravel in the background.
Mouth: Dry, medium+ intensity flavors. Medium+ acidity, medium+ tannins, medium+ body with medium alcohol. The intensity of the fruit provides plenty of body and drives the overall flavor profile of the wine. No softening or additional complexity from oak, this is a wine for immediate enjoyment. The fruit flavors dominate the palate with candied blueberry, blackberry, and prunes, figs, raisins.

Thoughts: This is a fun wine to enjoy with a weeknight meal. Ready to drink, don’t age it as that’s not its’ intent. We enjoyed this wine with a late summer pasture-raised beef hamburger with farmers market tomato and a bit of kale from the garden. The wine was delicious, just ready to enjoy. Bright fruit, pure and simple.

Château Lamartine “Cuvee Particuliere” Cahors  AOC 2016( sample, $24 online here)
The history of Château Lamartine is tied into the whole history of Cahors. Malbec grapevines were especially susceptible to Phylloxera, so when it spread across Europe in the 1800’s, Malbec vines everywhere were literally wiped out. In 1883, the Sérougne family acquired the Lamartine farm. Later they planted their first grapes and they have been active in the wine region of Cahors ever since.

The Cuvee Particuliere is 90% Malbec and 10% Tannat. The wine is fermented in stainless steel and is aged in a mixture of new and old oak barrels for 12-14 months.

Eye: Clear, deep purple. Medium legs, deeply colored
Nose: Clean, medium+ intensity. Aromas of ripe blackberry, plum, blueberry, violets, a touch of fresh herbs, rosemary and thyme. Initially a medium+ barnyard aroma which softens to a mild background element after being open for 30 minutes.
Mouth: Dry, full flavor intensity. Full body, medium acidity, medium+ tannins, fine and resolved. Medium alcohol. Medium+ finish. Flavors reflect the nose with rich ripe fruit: blackberry, plum, blueberry, with floral and herbal notes behind the fruit.

Of the samples we received, the Château Lamartine was my personal favorite. We enjoyed the Château Lamartine with a dinner of beef skewers with vegetables and rice. Château Lamartine would be a natural pairing with any sort of grilled beef, preferably medium-rare.

Château Vincens “Origine” Cahors AOC 2016 (sample, online pricing here)
From the winery: “Twenty five km from Cahors city center, The Château Vincens is setteled on the hillside near Luzech, on a 300 meters height plateau. According to this location, the vineyard takes partly- advtage of Atlantic et Mediterranean influence. It although benefits warm dry fall with the famous Southeast wind called Vent d’Autan”. The wine is 95% Malbec and 5% Merlot. It is traditionally vinified and aged in oak barrels for 10-15 months.

Eye: Clear, deep purple. Medium legs, deeply colored.
Nose: Clean, medium intensity. Aromas of candied fruit: blueberry candies, blackberry and plum.
Mouth: Dry, medium intensity. Medium acid, medium body, medium alchohol, lean texture. Medium+ fine grained tannins. Medium finish. Purity of fruit, little oak influence on the flavors.

We enjoyed the Chateau Vincens with a nice rare flank steak with sauteed mushrooms, mashed potatoes and broccoli. The wine paired very nicely with the steak

French #Winophiles Return to Cahors
Take a look at all the great information on Cahors wines from our group. If you see this in time, please consider joining our chat at 10AM CDT on Saturday, Oct. 19 at the Twitter hashtag: #winophiles





8 Responses to “The Malbec You Never Knew: Cahors #Winophiles”
  1. That simple burger looks delicious!

  2. Superb photos as always. And delicious uses of the grill! Can’t help but notice it’s still pretty green in the background! We’re losing the green fast over here.

  3. wendyklik says:

    These Cahors are definitely happy with meat. Beef was wonderful but I was thinking lamb and venison would also be wonderful pairings.

  4. Grilled meat and Cahors — seems like a great match!

  5. All of the pairings sound delicious, but that burger and the Les Polissons has me wishing for another bottle and a burger!

  6. Nicole Ruiz Hudson says:

    These all look like very happy pairings!

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