When people think of Malbec as a grape or a wine or whatever then the first two things that usually pop into people’s heads are “Argentina” and “steak”. Fair enough, it’s what we’ve all been loving in the last ten or fifteen years or so. But what if I were to tell you that Malbec is actually a French grape by origin, and that the Malbec’s coming out of France these days are back to being world beaters? Are you ready to give them a try?
Back in the late 19th century there was a little bug called Phylloxera that went around chewing on the roots of vines. European winemakers had no answer for it and it killed vast swathes of vineyards. It was an absolute disaster for the industry, and for Malbec in Europe. As the Malbec died out the French just never replanted it. The left bank of Bordeaux , where Merlot was all over the place, became all about Cabernet Sauvignon. This happened all over France.
Cahors Stand Up!
Just north of the city of Toulouse is the town (and region) of Cahors. A once thriving Malbec region, it was one of the first regions to start again, and the differing terroir on either side of the Lot River just fit the grape perfectly. So now along with the standard back-up grape of Merlot, the winemakers of Cahors are producing the kind of Malbec that we all love.
So Why Do We Love Malbec?
Malbec really is a red meat eaters dream come true. I’m not saying you can’t have anything else with it. But young Malbecs (which means you can buy them young and drink them, rather than having to store them in your tiny flat for years) get the floral violet smell, lots of sweet blackcurrant fruit flavour, and loads of tannin to help attack that big protein hit. It’s just become a classic food and wine combo, and such an easy go-to drink when you’re out with the Argentinian Gauchos. And now you’ve got a great wine for when you’re chewing on your boeuf!
Obviously the stuff we were drinking is at the toppy end of the market, and also unavailable in the UK at the minute. If you want to give Malbec from Cahors a try this winter, check out the Sainsbury’s Taste The Difference range. Great to see it on the list there. Well worth a try.