The Future of Malbec

on 07/10/10 at 3:38 pm


Malbec wine grapes

Back in the 13th century, Malbec was the toast of the town. It was the grape variety of choice for royal households, Papal courts and the landed classes who enjoyed quenching their thirst on the “black” wine. The grape was planted widely in French wine regions such as the Loire Valley, where it was known as Côt, and in Bordeaux, before eventually finding its home in Cahors, in southwest France.

But over time its popularity waned, eclipsed by varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah. By 1956, when Bordeaux was particularly hard-hit by frosts, it was virtually forgotten, consigned by some as a poor-quality blending partner. In Cahors, however, it produced a deep, tannic purple-black wine that can be unapproachable in youth, but with time produces wines deep with flavors such as black cherry and ripe fruit. It was through producers such as Château du Cédre in Cahors that I was first introduced to its charms. Paired with the local food, duck breast or foie gras and a large slice of bread, it makes for a wonderful winter glass of wine.

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