If you are a Malbec lover, then you will agree that Cahors is one of the best wine regions in Southwest France. Known as the regions of “Black Wines”, Cahors is the ancestral home of Malbec. When I say “Black is the new Black” I mean it literally. Cahors used to be one of the biggest and best wine-producing regions during the middle ages and now after many trials and tribulations, they are making a fierce comeback.
Cahors is a small, rugged and beautiful region in Southwest France, an old wine-growing region with a fascinating history. The region has been producing wines since Roman times. It had achieved worldwide recognition in producing exceptional quality Black wines. The Middle Ages were Cahors Golden Age, it was the largest wine-producing region in France, exceeding even Bordeaux. Cahors began exporting its Black Wine to various countries in Europe and Russian. It was admired by the Czars, Kings, and royalty for being a strong wine.
In 1241 the economy of Cahors came across a major roadblock. Bordeaux limited its ports to Cahors and imposed high fees and taxes on the winemakers. The environment became very difficult for winemakers to sell their wines. Starting in 1826 there came a series of natural disasters; phylloxera, mildew, black rot and later frost. They needed to replant, and so today Cahors is a very old wine-growing region with new vines.
Malbec’s ancestral home is Cahors. The wines are referred to as “Black Wines”. They are deep, dark and opaque in color with firm tannins and deep concentration. Malbec is the essence Cahors wines, sometimes a bit of Merlot and Tannat are blended in. From natural disasters to resurgence, the Cahors AOC was formed in 1971. The AOC required the wines to have a minimum of 70% Malbec, though today many wines of Cahors are 100% Malbec. Locally the wines are known as Côt, Côt Noir, or Auxerrois. It is also one of the very few AOCs in France that permits only red wine. The region is extremely special and quite rare as only 10,625 acres are planted.
Cahors Appellation – Fun Facts
• 10,625 acres are planted
• 45 miles long x 15 miles wide (1/30 of Mendoza area)
• Creation date of the AOC: 1971
• Only red wines
• 70% minimum of Malbec (the other varieties accepted are: Tannat & Merlot)
• 2.6 tons/acre maximum yield authorized
Three Must-Try Wines From Cahors
1. Chateau Vincens is located on the hillside near Luzech, on a 1000 feet elevated plateau, fifteen miles from Cahors city center. The vineyard takes advantage of its Atlantic and Mediterranean influences. They benefit from warm dry fall with the famous Southeast wind called ’’Vent d’Autan’’.
The 2016 Chateau Vincens is bold, black-colored, with black-fruits. The wine offers rich tannins, layers of toasty spice and acidity. Having spent 15 months in oak will allow the wine to age for years to come.
2. Clos D’Audhuy is located in the western part of Cahors, in the village of Lacapelle-Cabanac. The estate encompasses 15 acres under the direction of Benoit Aymard, a third-generation winemaker. Benoit only uses organic practices in the vineyard and has now started the process to get the certification.
Benoit Aymard is part of the new generation of winemakers in Cahors who put their focus on terroir, their goal being to showcase the expression of Malbec on various soils in Cahors.
Les Polissons is produced from 30-year-old vines. The wine is generous and open and meant to be drunk young. Nice berry fruits, great tannins and acidity on this wonderful wine. The wine has not had any oak aging, keeping the bright fruitiness intact.
3. Les Roques de Cana vines are planted on clay-limestone and ferruginous soil, on the hillsides of Cahors. The predominant south-facing direction of the vineyards ensures optimal sunshine.
100% of the Sanguis Christi is produced from quality vines located on a terroir classified as future Grand Cru by the UIVC (Union Interprofessionnelle des Vins de Cahors).
The 2008 Sanguis Christi has a dark robe, with purple highlights. Expressive with a racy nose and powerful aromas of black fruits, cacao, spices. Fruit-filled and delicate texture, with body, depth and intense lasting aromas. The wine showcases how beautifully a Cahors Malbec can age.
Join The French Winophiles This Month on a Tour of Cahors
Nicole of Somm’s Table will be hosting the French #Winophiles as we take a tour of Cahors through our wine glass. Join the conversations on Saturday, October 19th 11:00 am Eastern time on Twitter. Follow along with the hashtag #Winophiles.
Explore Cahors with the following articles from my fellow French #winophiles.
- Jane from Always Ravenous explores the “Flavors of Fall Paired with Cahors Malbec”
- Cathie of Side Hustle Wino looks at “Cahors – The Birthplace of Malbec”
- You’re at L’Occasion for “Cahors, a French Classic”
- Camilla of Culinary Adventures with Camilla will be posting “Château du Cèdre Extra Libre 2018 Malbec + Cider-Braised Chicken Thighs”
- Wendy Klik of A Day in the Life on the Farm samples “A Trio of Cahors Wine and the Pairings Served”
- Jeff of FoodWineClick! gives us “The Malbec You Never Knew: Cahors”
- Linda of My Full Wine Glass shares “Newbies to Old-World Malbec Discover Cahors”
- Cindy of Grape Experiences explores “The Old-World Style of Malbec from Cahors”
- Deanna of Asian Test Kitchen give us “French Malbecs Meet Chinese Duck”
- Gwen from Wine Predator shares “From Cahors: Biodynamic Chateau du Cedre Malbec with French Charcuterie”
- Pinny of Chinese Food & Wine Pairings matches “Cahor Malbecs and Waygu Beef”
- Cynthia and Pierre of Traveling Wine Profs give us “Cahors, Hainan Chicken Rice, and the Stories Wine Books Tell”
- Susannah of Avvinare will be “Shedding Light on Old World Malbec from Cahors”
- Payal of Keep the Peas discusses “Cahors: What Put Malbec on the Map”
- Rupal of Syrah Queen will posting “Cahors – Tasting “Black Wines” With The Original Malbec”
- David of Cooking Chat pairs “Mushroom Truffle Risotto with Cahors Malbec”
- And Nicole will be “Bringing Home Cahors with Clos D’Audhuy” over on Somm’s Table.
Wendy Klik says
I didn’t realize that the Malbec wine in Cahors were new vines. Interesting article. Thanks.
A fascinating region with great wine and interesting history! Cheers to Cahors!
Nicole Ruiz Hudson says
A great recap of the region and love all of these wines!