By: Keith Mabry
K&L Staff Member
The region of Cahors has flown under the radar for many years but is slowly emerging from the shadows with the rise of consumer interest in Argentine Malbec. Make no mistake though, Cahors is in France and it is where Malbec originated. In it's heyday, Cahors was as famous if not more famous than Bordeaux. The inky Malbec from the region was often sent north to Bordeaux to add body, structure and color to those old Bordeaux. When the phylloxera (a root louse that kills vines) epidemic struck the region over a century ago, Cahors fell into decline and almost disappeared from the map. It's actually Argentina that has renewed interest in the grape's birthplace and now a renaissance is taking place. The Chateau de Chambert is one of those historic properties that suffered greatly during that decline. In the early 70s though, the winery was reestablished and their commitment to organic and biodynamic farming quickly followed suit. This 2009 is a true classic and an exceptional find. Often Cahors needs a little bottle age to show its best. Much like a Bordeaux, the tannins can be a little firm and wood tones may be a little too obvious in its youth. Fortunately, the 2009 has shed all that baby fat as it were and the wine is superb drinking now. The tannins are polished and the flavors are beautifully integrated. I opened a bottle with the staff recently and their comments were all consistent. "This is what a great Cahors should taste like!" Black currants, roasted black plums, smoky spice, grilled herbs on the nose and pallet, this is hearty wine in search of hearty fare. The classic pairing is still cassoulet - what's not to love about a stew of beans, sausage and duck confit? Not everything has to have a French edge to it. This would be equally amazing with grilled steaks, pork chops or leg of lamb. Anything you would do with a Bordeaux, Argentine Malbec of even California Cab, this would play well with. All that flavor, polish and vibrant fruit leads to a versatile wine that will find fans of most styles and at a price that is tough to beat for this level of quality.