Le Clos 2012: 100% Malbec. Clear deep ruby in colour with fruity nose of red currants and strawberry. Palette: Fruit forward, red currants, cherries, hints of strawberries and liquorice. Elegant, simple, easy to drink, a superb tender and fruity wine. Price 6,50€ ex cave (2014)
Vendemia 2012: 100% Malbec. Aged in oak 12 months. Deep purple colour. Nose of darker fruits, and toast. Palette: Black currant and liquorice with oak toast. Good tannins and perfect for drinking now or laying down, this has the potential to age very well. Price 12€ ex cave (2014)
V 2012: 100% Malbec. 18 months in oak. Deep inky purple. Concentrated cassis nose with oaky toast. Beautiful liquid liquorice and dark chocolate, black currants and dark cherries. Long finish and excellently balanced tannins. Outstanding wine, buy now to lay down. Limited Bottles 20€ ex cave (2014)
Le Côté Rosé: 60% Malbec, 40% Merlot. Clear pale salmon colour. Floral, light, peach nose. Palette: Elegant, off dry, floral and stone fruits, slightest hint of strawberry. Medium finish with excellently balanced acidity. An Outstanding Rosé. Price 5€ ex cave (2014)
The Visit: Along a small lane towards the village of Caillac, to the rear of Chateau Lagrazette, is perhaps one of the most amazing hidden gems of Cahors Malbec! Lo Domeni, 7 hectares of superb vineyards worked as organically as possible by second generation Pierre Pradel. Pierre is a gentle, kind, welcoming man, with whom I have great affection, grown since my first visit here in April 2013. He also knows his wine! Backing up a little to give some history; Pierres father started with 4 hectares, and later added 3 hectares of what used to be Chateau Lagrazette vines, on the 3rd terrace of clay and limestone, excellent terroir it must be said.
In 2004 he took over his fathers vineyard, having returned from his life in the city selling wine and gaining experience elsewhere, something that has stood him in good stead since then. Pierre works his vineyard with expertise and knowledge of his terroir and vines, caring for them with simplicity and as few additions as possible to maintain this expression of terroir. This new generation of Cahors Malbec vintners are working hard on the quality of their wines, and Pierre is no exception to this, which is easy to understand by tasting his wine.
Approximately 95% are Malbec grapes with a small percentage of Merlot for his superb Rosé, parcels of 25 and 44 years old. Pierre keeps it simple, he knows what he is doing, he is making elegant, expressive wine, working with the vines he has, on the excellent land he has, and as he has stated so often, he makes the wine he wants to drink. This is evident from the beauty and depth of the wines. He uses mechanical harvesting for the Le Clos and hand harvests the Vendemia grapes, using manual pressing of the cap to break up the skins and ensure the smooth tannins without harsh mechanics. A longer fermentation process at cooler temperatures ensures the fruitiness is kept and expressed more fully.
We start, as always, with my favourite rosé, the Côté Rosé 2013, I have loved this wine from the previous year (2012 50/50 Malbec/Merlot), almost crying when he told me he had finally sold out of the 2012! This has a colour reminiscent of Provence Rosés, very pale salmon, and quite unlike any other Malbec rosé, so you can immediately see what a difference the addition of the Merlot makes. This year he has increased the percentage of Malbec to 60%, and I think this works very very well. With the first aroma of floral peaches, you know it is going to be beautiful, and the first sip of chilled perfect, stone fruits and hint of strawberry confirms my thoughts that this 2013 Rosé is the best yet! I don’t know of anyone who does not like this wine, and indeed I have managed to convert several non-rosé drinkers to loving this wine and buying several bottles after their first taste. With a medium acidity and medium finish, no hint of tannins in part due to the 45 minutes he keeps the skins in contact with the wine before run off, an Outstanding wine is sat before me. Each visit starts now with ‘would you like a drink?’ Silly question!
Pierres first category, ‘tender and fruity’ wine is Le Clos 2012 and is exactly that. Deep ruby colour with a pronounced red currant fruitiness that is both elegant and simple, medium tannins and low acidity balance this wine. From 25 year old vines, this wine once vinified is kept in stainless steel until bottled to keep this elegant flavour. I have it on my Wine List at the B&B, and when people prefer a red to a more summery rosé, it is easy to recommend this as an alternative. To pair with food, this simply goes well with so many menus, salads, white meats, fish, bbq and even to drink on its own with friends chilling out. In fact I have a glass beside me as write this. We move onto his oak aged Vendemia 2012 from 45 year old vines. The changes since his 2011 are minimal, so I have only commented on this 2012 as he has sold out of the 2011. Aged in oak for 12 months, this has a darker fruits nose with hints of oak toast giving away its aging process immediately. Pronounced black currants and hint of liquorice vie for the first taste with the toast and young tannins. For me this is a more masculine Black Wine, which I adore, and even with the tannins still in their youth, I will happily drink this wine in the coming cooler months. The deeper colour is indicative straight away of a more powerful wine, and there is more complexity in the Vendemia, than the Lo Clos, which is what he is aiming for. I would say he has reached it.
V 2012 Pierre has been guarding this superb Malbec in oak for a longer time, 18 months, and has teased my taste buds on each visit, so I was delighted when he bottled it and unveiled it in time for the Cahors Malbec Days in June 2014. There will be at least 1 case of this gracing my personal long term cellar. The 2012 V has a very deep inky black purple colour if you can imagine that, and is the epitome of a true Black Wine. Complex, powerful, masculine, sensual wine that has a depth of pronounced black currants, black cherries, and is liquid liquorice with dark chocolate. The long finish keeps the liquorice in the mouth, with hints of tobacco and a promise of melting into old age! Certainly one to lay down and let the tannins melt further into this incredible wine, the potential is there for a great wine, I have no doubt and I look forward to tasting this for many years to come (as long as I get enough of the limited bottles!) I have not put up the notes on Pierres Ratafia as yet, as I am awaiting the bottling of his 2013. Watch this space…… I enjoy visiting Pierre, and on many occasions have chatted to other tasters visiting at the same time, it is a pleasure to taste his wines, to sit and chat with him. He is a man of talent, a family man who clearly loves being right here, in the Cahors Malbec vineyards, making excellent wine and pleasing his palette. Quoting Tom Fiorina in a recent article; ‘ Pradel, it appears, has a good reason to smile’, a sentiment I echo wholeheartedly.
Website : http://www.lodomeni.fr
To visit for a tasting : give Pierre a call 05.65.22.84.89, or email firstname.lastname@example.org