Lo Domeni Cahors Malbec, Purity and Elegance in Red (Black) and Rosé

La Domeni. Pierre Pradel. Cahors Malbec

Range of wines in Cave

SUMMARY:

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)

Pierre explains his wines to me

Pierre Pradel at Lo Domeni 5 May 2013

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.

Côté Rosé 2013

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!

Vendemia Cahors Malbec

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 box with V

‘V’ 2012 Black Wine

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 contact@lodomeni.fr

CLOS TROTELIGOTTE TRULY ICONIC CAHORS MALBEC BLACK WINES

Manu and range of winesTotal Range

Summary:

K-Libre 2013 : Clay Jars. Chenin Blanc.  Clear, pale lemon with honey tones immediately on the nose.  Palette: Clean, dry citrus, apple and pear.  Good finish, medium body with medium well balanced acidity.  Pair with white meats and maybe grilled seafood.  Excellent, fresh and perfect chilled. Very good quality, 14 euros ex Cave.

K-Nom 2012: 85% Malbec/15% Merlot.  Clear, deep ruby.  Fruity, clean nose with red currants and cherries.  Palette: Red fruits and medium acidity, medium balanced tannins and medium finish.  Good, drinkable wine.  7 euros ex Cave.

K-Pot 2012: No Sulphites. 100% Malbec.  Clear deep purple.  Fruity, young clean nose.  Palette: Pronounced red fruits, direct sharp tannins, well balanced  with good acidity, dry and short finish.  Very good wine easy to drink anytime, great with tapas or charcutery.  8 euros ex Cave.

K-Or 2012. 100% Malbec.  Clear inky dark ruby.  Red and black currants on the clean nose.  Palette: Fragrant, elegant black currants.  Medium tannins and medium body, with low acidity and medium finish. Drink on own or with grilled meats. 9 euros ex Cave.

K-Lys 2007: 100% Malbec 12m oak.  Clear dark ruby with tawny edges apparent.  Good clean nose of pronounced red currants and liquorice with toast.  Palette: Red fruit forward with elegant liquorice, truffle and tobacco med+ finish.  Well balanced tannins and complex intensity make this a Good Wine, great with duck and red meats.  12 euros ex Cave.

K 2011:  100% Malbec 24m oak.  Clear dark inky purple, black!  Nose of clean dark fruits, pronounced black currants and toast.  Palette: Black currants, dark cherries and dark chocolate, perfectly balanced tannins melted into truffle perfection.  Complex, powerful, intense and Outstanding!  Pair with Scottish Fillet, Venison,  Duck Breast.  Award winning wine 19 euros ex Cave.

K2 2012:  100% Malbec, aged in Clay Jars.    Deepest inky purple, clear.  Concentrated black currant with spices and pure dark berries nose.   Palette: Darkest pure berries, dark chocolate hints with truffle teasing the taste buds.  Long finish with excellent melted tannins expressing the clay, iron oxide terroir to perfection.  Intense, complex, yet very elegant – this wine is perfect to drink now, or lay down.  Quite simply a perfectly iconic Black Wine.  Outstanding award winning wine, pair with anything you like!  39 euros ex cave.

K2 Intense and Complex at Villa MalbecK2 Pouring Colour Effex Pro

 

Prices all correct for 2014.

Visit:

It is always wonderful to visit Clos Troteligotte to taste their wines and I enjoy taking people there on Tours as well!  As I sell their wines here in the Lot, and I am about to start importing into the UK, I spend quite a bit of time here.  So it was with great expectations that I visited for this latest Blog of their quite frankly Outstanding wines and Iconinc K2 Black Wine.

Cross the River Lot to the South of Cahors, and follow the road out to D653 and just to the right as you pass the twisties (love this road!) is a sign for Clos Troteligotte – Follow it!!  That’s my advice – you will miss out if you pass by, I promise you.   Wind your way up this little track to the new Tasting Centre that Emmanuel Rybinski has built himself, and stop to taste some of the most exquisite wines on the Plateau in Cahors.

2014-05-20 13.30.012014-05-20 13.32.53 2014-05-20 13.33.07

Bordering the edge of the AOC Cahors (or ACC, AppellationCahors Controlle) and the Quercy Blanc, is 12 hectares of red and white vines.  The red (black) is of course Malbec, and there is a small amount of Merlot, which is blended into some of their first category wines.  Their white grapes are Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and (one my favourites) Viognier.  They also have the Chenin grapes for their K-Libre.

I am always met by Emmanuel, who is 2nd Generation Vintners here at Troteligotte, the vineyard having been planted by his father Christian in 1987, starting with just 1 hectare and planting each year until they reached the current 12 hectares of superb vines.  In 2003 Emmanuel joined his father and since then, together, they have increased the quality further, realising the exquisite terroir on their land.   This is a truly family run vineyard with the 2 generations working side by side, and who knows, with 3 children perhaps one day we will see a third generation working here next to Emmanuel.

The 10 hectare black Malbec and Merlot vines benefit from the clay, limestone and siderolithique terroir, with its fantastic iron oxide soil.  The minerals here on this particular part of the Cahors Plateau benefit the wines from this vineyard, and Manu works very much with this terroir in a Bio Dynamic way to ensure the vines, and wine all have great expression.   In 2010 they applied for certification of Bio Dynamic certification, and this they gained in 2014.  2010 also saw the planting of the Chenin grape variety, and this added to the Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and one of my personal favourite, the Viognier, totally 2 hectares of white grapes.

Chenin Grapes 2 Chenin Grapes

The Visit and Tasting:

We start this visit with their current White wines (bear in mind please, that before phylloxera, Cahors was as much white as it was red wine, something which I was informed of on this visit.)  It seems natural to start with their lovely K-Libre 1040  2013, a Chenin that is aged in Clay Jars (the same type that they use for their iconic K2, of which I will come to later).

2014-05-20 13.43.24

There is a simple pale lemon colour in the glass, and the first thing that hits my senses is the lovely honeyed tones.  This is very much Quercy Blanc, the minerals are apparent in each taste, dry and lasting in the mouth, with well balance acidity.  Citrus hints of green apple and pear ensure this is a stunningly elegant wine, yet able to hold its own against some stronger flavours when paired with food.  I would take Manus suggestion here of fish, maybe steam BBQ-d and eaten with sharp green salad outdoors in the warm weather.  Basically this wine is aged in the same type of Clay Jars as the red K2, for the reason of the terroir, the clay soil expression continued through the vinification and ageing process.   The clay jars are porous in a way that allows for gentle oxygenation, and makes this a very interesting wine, despite the weather problems we had here in 2013.

CSbV:  Unfortunately, due to the terrible hail storms in May and June 2013, their white grapes were not able to mature and produce their award winning CSbV (Chardonnay, Sauvignon blanc, Viognier) white for this year, the grapes are doing well this year so we are very hopeful for next years crops – we are at the mercy of the weather here!

We moved onto the K-Nom 2012 which is a blend of 85% Malbec and another AOC permitted grape 15% Merlot.  This has a young deep purple colour with a very fruity nose, red fruits predominantly.  Less mature grapes than those used for K-Or are harvested for this very drinkable, fruity wine.  This has a short maceration of 15 – 20 days which keeps the fruity flavour and a higher acidity, keeping the lovely sharpness in the wine, with lower tannins.  This has therefore slightly less structure,  that their other wines, although it certainly makes for an interesting young wine.  To be honest, you could drink this on its own, or pair with something very simple like pizza, or salad, white meat dish, or aromatic curry.

The K-Pot is one of my UK cousins favourites!  I can completely understand why, superb deep purple colour, very fruity with pronounced red fruits on the nose and at first taste too, the burst of red cherries and sharp red currant make this high acid, young wine actually very easy to drink, an extremely interesting wine!   There are no sulphites in this wine, which means it will not last, there is ‘no protection’as the label apparently tells us!!  I trust his comments at this point and remain very British and proper…..  A maceration period of 20 days ensures the acidity and tannin in this wine.  A young, clean, very drinkable wine that honestly doesn’t need to be drunk with food, however, I would suggest something easy and simple like Tapas or Charcutery, it is wine to be drunk with friends, out on the terrace, or chilling out around the table.   Great wine, once again!

K-Pot K-Or

Tasting, next , the K-Or 2012, also 100% Malbec, this is a beautifully inky black wine, with a nose of pronounced blackcurrant.  The grapes in this wine are harvested later than the K-Pot, and you can tell in the tasting of more mature, elegant, lower tannin wine.  The tannins, however, give a fuller body, yet a purity and simple finesse that still allows for the red currant burst in the mouth, with a hint of liquorice commonly associated with the Cahors Malbec grape.  There is clearly more structure to this wine than those previously tasted, and this has more presence than the 2011, which was also an excellent year for Cahors Malbec.  Impressive, with a good expression of the terroir without being over-powering.  You cannot go wrong with this wine, and I sell it almost nightly throughout the year in Rocamadour!   If I had to state a pairing, I think that I would suggest a meat dish, something with a little more substance than just a simple green salad, but don’t take away from the elegance of the wine, confit de canard, Rocamadour Goats Cheese (yes really!) all pair well here.

The first Oak aged wine here is the K-Lys, we tasted the 2007 which I sell in Rocamadour, and I must admit, I like this personally.  A good age now at 7 years old this has now mellowed to become a full bodied excellent wine.  100% Malbec and aged for just 12 months in oak barrels, this is a deep red/brown wine with its tawny edges hinting at its age.   Pronounced redcurrants on the nose, with a meer hint of toast and tobacco, suggests a very good wine.  This has a deep truffle, earthiness that hints at chocolate and has deep plummy tones.  I love this with a rich beef stew and stronger duck dish.

K-Lys K 2011

Well, anyone who knows me or has been following my writing and thoughts over the last year or so, will know that the ‘K‘ is one of my favourites!  The 2011 has not disappointed in anyway, shape or form!!  My goodness, I didn’t think this wine could get better or more expressive than the excellent 2009, how wrong I was….. With a deep purple colour that promises so much, aged in oak for 24 months, and with cool pre-fermantation maceration to increase the fruitiness, this delivers what the nose promises!  Everytime!  The dark chocolatey tones compliment the hints of truffle and black currant.  Intense and complex, this is a truly exceptional wine, that expresses everything Manu wants to say, is  a true representation of todays Black Wine, and yet doesn’t get lost or overpowerd by the oak it rests in.  I would strongly recommend this wine at any time of the year, I still drink this in the height of the French summer when I want the presence of Black and a complexity that doesn’t come from the simpler roses.  Award winning (Decanter Silver 2013) and highly acclaimed wine, this has the true Black Wine tannins that suggest this is a wine that will lay down for many years as well, and I am personally excited to have this one in my cellar!

I fully admit to getting very excited at tasting the latest K2 2012. This truly is an iconic wine that outstrips most of the competition in Cahors, this is pure expression of Black Wine and Cahors Malbec Plateau wine, grown on the clay soils right at the edge of AOC Cahors, and aged in clay jars, the beauty and elegance of each grape is a measure of how exceptional Emmanual Rybinski is as an artisan, wine maker and creator.   The black colour of this wine, invites you, challenges you and draws you in the moment your glass nears you…..The concentrated, pure black currant and spices burst in your mouth with the first taste, and this melts further with each intake of oxygen to prolong the sensations, the complexities and the intensity of the wine.  The finish is so long that it allows for the dark chocolate, liquorice to develop, through slight pepper spiciness and into smooth elegant perfection….  This is not a wine that you can take lightly, the intensely pure seduction of this wine makes it an icon in its own time, and the Rybinski family should be rightly proud, although Manus quiet modesty is still amazing given what he has in his cellar!

Clay Jars DSC_0556

The 8 lines of vines on the best parcel of land they own belong to the K2 wines, and this they age in clay jars for 12 months.    At harvest, only the best grapes are used for the K2, they are hand harvested and checked, so only perfect grapes are used.   I am told that 2013 was a very good year for these grapes, which is a huge relief given the devastation caused by the hail last year here in Cahors!  Why clay jars? I hear you ask, and a good question, certainly, one that I posed to Manu…. The answer?  Came in 3 fold:

1.  Maturation, the micro-oxygenation aids the wine.  2.  Clay (argile) soil, the character of the terroir continues to be expressed throughout each stage, and allows for freshness, ‘Freshness of the Humid Clay’ I am told, and as the vines are on the clay and limestone soil, this is a continued partnership of earth and grape.  3.  Small egg-shaped tanks allow for small movement in the jar, this is a more personal technique and allows for more feeling for the wine, keeping that perfection throughout.  This all attributes to the Outstanding quality of this wine and quite simply, you need to taste it, enjoy it and allow youself to be captured by what must surely be the most iconic Black Wine in Cahors!

Emmanuel Rybinski is an artist, a creator of wine, and Clos Trotelitgotte benefits from his passion and talent.  It is quite clear that his heart and soul is right here, with his family, in this vineyard.    

I highly recommend a visit to taste their award winning wines, and buy as many cases as you can carry with you!   http://www.clostroteligotte.com

DISCOVER A TRUE CAHORS MALBEC BLACK WINE AT DOMAINE DU PRINCE

Summary: 

Tradition 2009:  Clean, deep ruby, with a red berries nose.  Palette : Concentrated red currant, hint of liquorice.  Medium tannins, low acidity and medium body.

Chene du Prince 2007:  Clean, deep ruby, red berries and smokey nose.  Palette : Initial toast and liquorice, with dark berries.   High tannins, medium acidity, full body and medium finish.

Rossignol 2009: Clean, deep purple with concentrated dark berries nose.  Palette: Concentrated dark berries with liquorice and hint of vanilla.  High tannins, low acidity, full body and long finish.  Excellent complexity.

Lou Prince 2009:  Clean, deep purple (inky black), pronounced blackcurrant nose. Palette: Concentrated black currant with dark cherries, liquorice and toast.  High tannins, low acidity, full body, long finish with tobacco.  Complex and powerful, true Black Wine. Outstanding, award winning wine!

Prices range from 4,70 euros – 23 euros (direct from the Cave as at July 2014)

 

The Visit:

Driving through the very beautiful Lot landscapes, I hunted for the well regarded Domaine du Prince, and was struck once again how lucky I am to live in such an incredibly stunning area, surrounded by the best wines I have ever tasted. Upon finding the understated Domaine, my expectations were running high after the insistence of making this visit. I was looking forward to seeing if the wine lives up to its reputation…

Domaine du Prince is so named because the in the mid 1500s the King was so taken with their wines that he gave them gold coins, which led to the name ‘Prince’ as Cahors wine royalty! And hence the name Domaine du Prince. They are one of the oldest vineyards in Cahors. I parked my Landy next to their 2 cows, munching happily on their overflowing pumpkin patch, and went through the large wooden doors keeping guard on the treasure within. I took my time to meander through to the tasting area, noticing the barrels and cement tanks on either side of the wide entrance. Bottling was well under way and I waited, enjoying the atmosphere and aromas for a moment. A warm welcome by Didier Jouves who was very kind and stopped his bottling to talk me through their wines.

Tradition 2008 : We started with their 1st category Tradition, a 2008, lovely deep red colour, 100% Malbec. Very light and fruity, with hints of elegant red fruits, more red-currant than black, not strong or over-powering. There was a very mild hint of liquorice, and although in the first category of Cahors wines, it was an elegant, simple wine, and very promising that more was to come from their other wines. Moving on to taste the 2009, I was immediately taken by the stronger red-currant bouquet, matched as well in flavour. More impressive than the 2008, this had a fuller body, although clearly still the same wine. Not aged in oak, it has a simple masculine beauty that impressed me from the first drop.

> JUNE 2014  Helene, Didier and Bruno brought their latest Lou Prince 2011 to the Pont Valentre for the Cahors Malbec Days – I was so bowled over by this velvety, liquorice, tobacco, powerful, yet still elegant true black wine, that I wrote ‘wow’ on the label!   About to be bottled, this is one to buy, to drink and also to guard, certainly.  There will be 2 boxes of this wine in my personal cellar as well as for my clients.

IMG_2528Helene Jouves

 

Chene du Prince 2007 : I’m an oaky girl, so to speak, so I was keen to try their next wine, the Chene du Prince. Starting with the 2007, straight away I noticed the darker appearance, a much deeper red than the Tradition. Already 6 years old, it had the musky, liquorice nose than made me close my eyes as I took the first sip. Promising a heavier smokey wine, its strength was not over-powering. What struck me was how well rounded it was, and light for a 6 year old wine aged in oak for 12 months…..Impressive that they managed to maintain a simple elegance, yet still keep a clearly masculine power to it. Tasting the 2006 straight afterwards gave me a further appreciation of the complexity to this lovely wine. Well rounded tannins give this superb wine a body to it that would be well paired with food, yet still not too much to drink on its own.

Rossignol 2008 : Starting with a 2008, which had a dark inky colour, not just hinting but promising a very powerful, impressive wine. Darkly concentrated, fruity nose, with a hint of liquorice, drawing out the anticipation further. Wow….. The first taste, inky complex darkness, concentrated cassis, high quality, clear power, very pure. Smooth and velvety with the merest hint of vanilla. incredible wine seems to be an understatement….The Rossignol is not aged in oak, so the wine does not hide behind anything, it is very pure. We tasted the 2009 after this, and I see in my notes that I have written ‘a taste explosion of perfect grapes in the mouth!!’ And another Wow….. This is a truly incredible wine, eclipsing many I have tasted over the last few months, I look forward to telling as many people as I can about this understated, incredible vineyard. I was impressed by these wines, and yet, still one more to follow!

Lou Prince 2009: Well……where do you go from there….only one way, onto the final oak aged LOU PRINCE. After opening a bottle through the wax (yes wax!) encasing the cork, we tasted the 2009, the colour was so black that it surely is the original true, Black Wine that we all search for…..and after the first taste, I could easily have ended my search right there, right then. The nose follows up the colour with a very powerful promise of a very great wine, smokey dark fruits assault the senses and I felt compelled to close my eyes to savour it without distraction – oh goodness, I hear you say, she’s lost the plot…..Well, if one can be completely under the spell of a wine, it was right then that I fell. Black cherries work side by side with a truffel chocolate richness fuirther enhanced by the oak power, yet so well rounded that it really is such a well balance wine. Complex and very masculine, with an aftertaste of tobacco you can almost chew on, it really does rest in the mouth and continue the exquisite experience that comes with drinking this wine. I would definitely pair it with food, a rare venison of top quality, or a blue Aberdeen Angus fillet…..something that will really match this powerful beauty. It is high in volume at 16.5%, and indeed there is a headiness that accompanies this wine. I have since tasted the 2010 and although this is also an excellent vintage, I eagerly await the 2011 (a truly exceptional year in Cahors). Buying a box of 6 wines is presented in a wooden box, and a further indication that this wine is something very special.

Lou Prince 2009

Didier drove us out into the vineyard, and as we stopped right beside the Lou Prince vines, I was impressed yet again by the simplicity of the domain, the vineyard, the viticulteurs…..the true artisans, humble and very pleased by the medals they have for their wines. The iron oxide in the soil gives the Malbec grape a very pure minerality, and the terroir is as impressive as the vines.

Our appellation has a number of incredible vineyards and artisans, many of you who know me, or know of me, are aware of the wines I adore, and the vineyards I rate very very highly, so you will be pleased to know that I will be bringing Domaine du Prince to the UK, to Rocamadour, and to anyone who wants a perfect wine. As I was leaving, I decided to drive into the vineyards in the Landy, and was lucky enough to meet his brother Bruno, and their dog who was delighted to meet me, muddy paws and all (as my crazy English Setter is just as pleased to share her muddy paws, this was fairly normal to me!). He explained more of the vines as well and was happy to chat for a while.

Impressive Domaine du Prince wines. Easy to drink red fruit Tradition, subtle cassis-intense, oak aged the Chene du Prince, pure dark fruit elegance of the Rossignol and powerful complexity of the true Black Wine, smokey truffle 2009 Lou Prince.  I was equally as impressed by Didier and Bruno and their honest love of what they do as the incredible wines here at Domaine du Prince. I would recommend any of their wines, and I would be happy to drink each one in the right circumstances.

Do make the time to visit them, a warm welcome is pretty much guaranteed from this hard working, lovely family.  www.domaineduprince.fr

La Berangeraie – Stunning Wines, Black and Rose…..

Summary Wines:

2013 Rose:  100% Malbec.  Clear, medium pink, clean nose with pronounced grapefruit and bon-bons.  Palate: Dry, low acidity, low tannins, medium body, grapefruit, raspberries and subtle hint of strawberries.  Medium finish, simply a perfect rose to drink!

Cuvee Juline: 90% Malbec, 10% Merlot.  Hand harvested, aged in concrete tanks 2 years.  Clear, deep ruby.  Clean nose with pronounced red fruits, peppery hints.  Palate: Dry, low acidity, medium tannins, medium body, peppery red fruits and hint of raspberry.  Medium finish, simple and feminine.

Cuvee Maurin 2009: 100% Malbec,.  Hand harvested and concrete tank aged.  Clear, deep ruby, clean nose with sharp darker fruits.  Palate: Dry, low acidity, medium tannins, full body, strong peppery cassis, hint of liquorice and mint in the medium finish.  Good balanced wine with complexity.

La Traversets 2011:  Top limestone,  9 months in oak. Clear, deep purple.  Clean, pronounced nose of  dark fruits, cassis and vanilla.  Palate: Low acidity, high tannins, full body, concentrated blackcurrant and dark cherries with long finish.  Good wine, with body and feminine complexity.

La Nuit des Rossignols 2011:  100% Malbec, 1 year in oak.  Clear, deep purple, clean nose with dark fruits and oak.  Palate: Low acidity, high tannins, full body, concentrated dark fruits of blackcurrant, prunes, dark cherries, with spiced pepper, and long finish with mint.  Very good wine, very expressive, complex and powerful.

La Gorgee de Mathis Bacchus 2011: 100% Malbec, 24 months in new oak.  Clear, deep purple.  Clean nose with pronounced blackcurrant, oaky toast and chocolate.  Palate:  Low acidity, high tannins, full body, with pronounced, concentrated blackcurrant, dark fruits, licquorice and dark chocolate.   Very good wine, with complexity, power and intensity!

Prices from the Cave ranging from 6 euros – 18 euros approx (prices as of 2014)

2013 Wines

La Berangeraie ( http://www.berangeraie.fr/ )

A return visit is always eagerly anticipated when such a favourite is included in the wine line up!  La Berangeraie in Grezels, Cahors, based just between the 3rd Terrace and the Plateau in the Cahors Wine Appellation, is one not to be missed certainly.  Marlene is always welcoming and I enjoy spending time in her company.

They are 2nd, and close to 3rd, generation vintners here in our small but perfect, appellation, and with 35 hectares, they know their wines!  I have adored their fruity, cheeky rose for nearly a year now, and must have sold many hectolitres as well I am sure….. One of my 3 favourite roses in the entire Cahors Wines  Appellation, I have recently been back to taste their latest excellent reds as well.

Starting with my favourite, their 2013 Rose (100% Malbec), playfully called ‘Tu Bois Coa?’ (a frog on their bottle asks you ‘ what do you drink?’ ) I was keen to try the 2013, would it live up to the 2012, maintaining its cheekiness and smooth fruity taste…..The anticipation was worth it!  This rose has a good nose of bon bons and raspberries – well worth taking a deep breath of it all…superb!  And the first taste bursts in my mouth with raspberries, grapefruits and sherbet, with an additional hint of strawberries this year to add to it’s perfection, if that is possible.  I love it!  And I look forward to drinking it in Rocamadour each summer day.  Perfect for salads, evenings with friends, lunch times chilling out, and if you fancy a darn good rose.  Highly recommended, once again.   Packaged once again with their green frog (denoting that they use organic practices, but not labelled as such), and a bright green cork, this is a wine to be taken seriously certainly!

Cuvee Juline 2009 (named after the second generation, daughter).  90% Malbec, 10% Merlot.  A feminine, smooth and elegant wine, which, after being hand harvested, is aged in concrete tanks for 2 years.  The taninns are allowed to melt into this wine and the small quantity of merlot allows for an elegantly subtle red fruity wine.   When Marlene opened the bottle for me, the red fruity burst was exquisite and hinted at a blackberry cordial, this is a fragrant wine with peppery red fruits, and just the meerest hint of raspberry.  It is very easy to drink, and was certainly very pleasant to taste in the sunshine on their terrace.  A feminine wine, with an easy fruity taste, perhaps paired with grilled chicken or salads.  Good body yet not overpowering.

Cuvee Maurin 2009.  100% Malbec, also hand harvested and aged in concrete tanks, which allows for an even temperature throughout vinification and aging.  This has a darker colour than its ‘sister’ wine, and is named after the second generation (Maurin us Julines brother).  Smooth sharpness, typical of Malbec (and one I adore!), the cassis is stronger with stronger peppery hints in the mouth, the mildest hint of mint, and liquorice.  Not aggressive, yet more powerful certainly, and the tannins work well to ensure a good balance with the acidity.  The 2 Cuvees work very well together, hats off to them!

We moved onto their next red, La Traversets 2011: 100% Malbec, these grapes are grown on the top limestone near to the Plateau of Cahors.  VInified for 9 months in oak, 1/3 new and 2/3 old oak, this works incredibly well with an additional vanilla toast hint.  I am an oaky girl, and I love the blend of new and old oak to balance the depth of oakiness!  A darker violet colour, you know straight away there is something special here.  Stronger cassis and vanilla hit your taste buds yet still with a femininity that gives a gentle balance.  Excellent body and depth, complexity that suggests pairing with darker meat such as duck perhaps (a good local dish and one of my favourites too!).

We finished with their other oak aged 100% Malbec, La Nuit des Rossignols, 2011.  Aged in their oak barrels for 1 year, a dark violet colour, with a stronger cassis nose, alluring from the start, I would suggest closing your eyes to fully appreciate and savour the first sip.  Hints of caramel, spicey peppery cassis and mint on the tongue, wow!  There is a more masculine fruitiness with good body and complexity.  A powerful wine, and very expressive, it lasts well in the mouth and certainly seduces you to finish the glass!  One of my favourites I think.

(16 June 2014) I was able to taste their Mathis Bacchus 2011 today, finally!!  This is a wine much in demand, and today I found out why….my goodness, it is a full bodied wine that grabs you the moment you put your nose into the tasting glass!  The concentrated black currants, and oaky toast pull you into their inky depths, and I couldn’t help but close my eyes to savour the experience completely.  The licquorice and dark chocolate added to the concentrated cassis and dark cherries make this an elegant, powerful wine that has an intensity and complexity that ensured the finish was long and wonderful.  I enjoyed it very much and can highly recommend it to anyone.

Marlene pouring

In summary, Marlene and her family are the second generation with the 3rd fast approaching with fresh ideas and a dynamic approach to their excellent 35 ha vineyard.  Although not the easiest to find, and I certainly need the Landy to happily reach their vineyards on the hillside, they also have a shop in Puy L’Eveque, easy to find and worth a visit.  Quite frankly, I couldn’t recommend their wines highly enough!  I have adored their Rose ‘Tu Bois Coa?’ for over a year now, and I continue to sell it and increase the awareness of this fabulous wine.  And if you happen to have lunch in the Dorchester in London, do ask for a La Berangeraie wine! Cheers!! Sante!!

Tu Bois Coa... 6 Jul 13