Cahors - Back on Track?
Cahors is an appellation in the south of France that fell onto hard times this century. It made strong, tannic, unforgiving "black" (deeply coloured) wines made from malbec, which had largely been given up by Bordeaux. Perhaps things are changing for the better, as I sampled two good wines recently, one cheap and the other relativley expensive.
The Chateau Famaey, Cuvee X, 2003 comes from a low yield (2000kg or so/acre) vineyard that uses no chemicals and is made of malbec (95%) and tannat (5%). This could be the best Cahors I have ever tasted. Dark but not opaque. Nose shows dark chocolate, violets and fresh spring mossy notes. On the palate, it's full bodied, rich warm and soft. Fruit is a mix of pomegranates and raisins. Hits all the right notes without being in your face overblown. Tannins are smoothly integrated. Wow. Take that, Bordeaux! $36. BTW, don't waste this wine on pizza!
On the lower end of the scale is the Chateau de Gaudou, Tradition, 2005. This is 80% malbec with a splash of merlot and tannat. This is black. Very interesting nose of exotic spices and dark plums. Full bodied, firm, tannic, dense, wet stone, sharp black fruit. A little rustic. Needs time. Good wine, well worth the $15.
Jacob's Creek is one of those mega wineries from Australia that makes millions of cases per year. They don't get much respect from the snobs, but their South Australia sourced Reserve Shiraz has been surprisingly good for a number of years. The latest version available here is the 2006. It's primary flavour is eucalyptus - lots of it. Peppery with firm, ripe, black fruit and a rather intense blackcurrant finish. The tannins are well hidden in the background. Tastes exactly the same 24 hours later. It's a good wine, but definitely not as good as past vintages. A little too minty for me. $19.
Cheers, and Merry Christmas everyone!!