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#Malbec - Our grape variety of the month

I became aware of the great potential of Malbec for the first time in a series of tastings at the German Pro Wine Fair in 2004. Better late than never ...
Before that, I mainly knew the variety from some cheap bottles of soulless Negociants, which operated on a large scale to sell the prestigious AOC Cahors for cheap money. Shame on them!

Pascal Verhaeghe Château du Cèdre Cahors

But the Malbec wines that have crossed my path in 2004 (and the ones I still drink and appreciate), have almost nothing to do with those. They are black and deep in color, with a lush bouquet of red fruits, cherries, gingerbread and cedar, with a hint of mint and violets and even with fresh forest floor, mushrooms and truffles after they have reached a certain maturity.
Even more surprising is the seemingly obvious alliance between power and finesse and between fullness and mineral acidity on the palate. Today Malbec has clearly settled amongst the great red grape varieties of the world, to the same extent as Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache.

Malbec, also known as Auxerrois or Côt, belongs to the family of Cotoides, a group of indigenous grape varieties from south-western France. The Negrette grapes from the AOC Fronton and the Tannat from the AOC Madiran are its cousins, his father was the Prunelard from the Gaillac region, and Merlot is his half-sister, both their mother was the old grape variety Magdaleine noir des Charentes. Complicated family relationships ...

Malbec Mendoza

Before phylloxera, at the end of the 19th century, destroyed large parts of Europe’s vineyards, Malbec was fairly widespread in south-western France, including Bordeaux, as well as in the Loire region. Today, there are still some 5300 hectares of Malbec left in France, most of which is planted in Cahors. But you can’t do talking about Malbec without mentioning Argentina. With around 25,000 hectares Malbec, this country has given a true cult status to this grape and is also largely responsible for the world’s growing popularity of this originally French variety. Argentinas Malbec wines generally show a more mature, richer and more powerful “style” as the Malbec wines from Cahors, where wine makers tend to emphazise the fine tannins and mineral acidity.

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Pierre Cros

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