Black Wine: Malbec Wines from Cahors Region in France Rise Again
She says: What is “black wine” ? Black wine is a malbec wine from the region of Cahors, France which has such a deep purple color and is 99% opaque, so that you cannot see through it. Those of you fond of eyeing your wine tasting friends through the rosey lens of your filled glass will find that it is not possible to see them through the “black wine”.
Tell me more you say? While on a recent trip to France, I learned that this Cahors region of southern France is also the original birth place of the malbec grape. I didn’t know that, did you?
He Says: Actually, yes, I did know. According to Jancis Robinson, malbec likely originated in Burgundy and was once widely grown in Bordeaux and all throughout France. But the grape is susceptible to frost, mildew, rot and other nasty things, so most malbec vines have been ripped up and replaced with other more reliable and productive vines. Today in France, malbec is most widely grown in the Cahors region.
She Says: The Cahors wine region, where our “black wine” comes from, is legendary with history going back to 50 BC (over two thousand years old, my friends). The Malbec vines have been wiped out a few times by frosts and/or that pesky phylloxera (as He refers to above) but you can read a much more thorough history of the Cahors France wine region here.
Imagine my delight when we returned home and a few weeks later learned that a short film about the black truffles and the black wine of the Cahor’s region, “The Scent of Black”, was awarded The James Beard award. The film comes from the incredibly talented team at Grape Radio. Watch the film when you can. Just 12 minutes – we’ve posted it for you here. We trust you will enjoy the film.
He Says: To be a Cahors malbec, the blend must be at least 70% malbec. It is often mixed with merlot, another soft and fruity grape. And yes, the color of the wine is as close to black as you will find.
Here are the two Cahors Malbecs we tasted:
Black Wine: Malbec Wine from Cahors, France: Pigmentum 2008 Malbec, Georges Vigouroux $8
He says: Try a cross cultural tasting of your own. If you’re into malbecs, try the 2007 Chateau de Mercues from Cahors alongside one or two from Argentina. You’ll notice some pronounced differences in the wines. The Argentine malbecs are not as dark in color – more of a deep purple – and burst through with more fruit and richer, more approachable flavors. Taste both and let us know, which region do you prefer? Leave a comment in the comments section.