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Cahors Prestige

by Tom Cannavan 2013

feisty These notes accompany our in-depth profile of Cahors. See all UK stockists of Cahors wines on wine-searcher.

Domaine la Berangeraie Cuvee Maurin 2009
Seriously inky-black colour. Meaty, intense black fruit, plums and black berries, but dark , dense and spicy. Fleshy sweet fruit is delicious, a big raft of sour cherry and plum skin acidity, but pure and delicious. 89-90/100

Domaine la Berangeraie, La Nuit des Rossignols 2010
Dark and youthful. A lot of toasty new oak here, verging on the mint and vanilla spectrum. Deep black fruit aromas beneath the oak. The palate has that nice sour fruit acidity again, but perhaps not quite the harmony, the tannin/acid/spice finish outweighing the fruit slightly and very dry in the finish. With the percentage of new oak probably more expensive than the first wine, but I am not sure I prefer this (at this stage at least). 89-90/100

Château Combel la Serre, Cœur de Cuvée 2009
A fair amount of new oak character here too, plenty of coffee and charry toast. The fruit is quite plush. The palate has a blue/black intensity to the fruit. The tannins and spice of the oak make the lips tingle, but still there is a concentration to the fruit, and fresh acidity is good. 89/100

Château de Chambert 2010
Oak is a touch resinous, but I quite like the edge of leafiness and perfumed, gamy lift that comes through too in another inky-black wine. Savoury on the palate, plenty of acidity and a lean, sinewy and muscular density to the fruit. Big tannins, seems very young and needs time. 89-90/100

Château Paillas 2009
Opaque, but a tiny warming note on the rim. Big, fleshy and generous stuff on the nose, the black fruit density and substance lovely against nice oak and a hint of Malbec's floral lift. Deliciously round and generous on the palate too, sweet fruit and spice, rounded by the oak and extended by fresh cherry acidity. 89/100

Château Paillas 2002
Obviously a much older wine with mellow, touching orange on rim. Coffee and soft, mellow fruit, but a touch dank too. The palate has a little faded quality, and I'd like to drink this with some food for sure, but perhaps just lacking a little fruit in this clinical setting. 87/100

Château la Caminade, La Commandery 2009
Solid black/purple colour, glimmer of softening colour on rim. Big liquorice nose, lots of meat stock density and depth. The fruit ripeness is lovely on the palate, with a juicy, lip-smacking quality to the acidity and the cherry and plum-skin bittersweet fruit. Spicy too, the oak subtle but underpinning, in a lovely wine. 89-90/100

Lo Domeni, Vendemia 2011
Very primary, opaque colour. Inky in colour and aroma, a touch of something vegetal, but really about dark, sinewy fruit and concentration. The palate has immense sweetness and a full-bodied, creamy texture. Very ripe, but bittersweet, the tannins and bite of acidity, with an edge of espresso, giving lots of substance and weight into a long, spicy finish. Very 'international' in style is the only downside. 89-90/100

Château Plat Faisan, Cuvée de l'Ancetre 2009
Deep and opaque, an earthiness and quite chocolaty mellow character here, but obvious concentration of black fruits touched by a gamy edge that is intriguing. Pure and sweet on the palate, the fruit here is concentrated and focused, the tannins and the freshening edge of good acidity extending the finish. 90/100

Château de Haute-Serre, Lafleur de Haute-Serre 2010
Rich and dark, in the meat-stock aroma side of the Malbec spectrum again, a touch of charcoal, actually very pure fruit here, very focused. Lots of pure concentration of fruit on the palate, a subtle silkiness to the texture and deliciously savoury and sappy on the finish. Lovely style here, bittersweet and grippy, but has elegance too. 90/100

Château de Mercues, Vassal de Mercues 2009
Interesting touch of beetroot and vegetal character here, with dense and inky black fruit, but all tight and a bit ungiving. The palate too is inky and a touch impenetrable: it's a dense, structured and concentrated wine, very good purity, but perhaps a touch too inky and extracted. 87/100

Château Pech de Jammes, Petit Jammes 2010
Big creamy oak nose, quite meaty and dense too, with blackcurrant and plum, perhaps a sense of something gravelly and mineral in there too. Delicious palate: huge concentration, lovely silkiness to the tannins and a powerful wine yet with the blue/black purity and creaminess of the fruit powering through. 90/100

Château Armandière, Diamant Rouge 2008
Opaque/crimson black. Dense, meaty, a touch animal and earthy, maybe lacks a little light and shade. Lovely fruit purity, a real seam of blue/black ripe but bittersweet fruit, and I like the concentration and balance too. 88/100

Château Armandière, Diamant Rouge 2009
A little glimpse of kirsch and cherry here to lighten the picture - to add highlights - with solid, creamy fruit and nicely handled oak beneath. The palate is vinous and concentrated, with a savoury lick to the plummy fruit and bittersweet, plum-skin character of tannins and acidity. A big wine, the spice and tannins tingling on the lips, but great concentration and quality. 90/100

Château Fantou, Prestige la Bateliere 2009
Very nice quality of oak here. It is prominent, but very polished and classy with a hint of mint and chocolate, but tempered by a matching depth of black fruit. On the palate the roughening edge of the tannins gives a nice ruffling, textured edge to the black fruit, finishing fresh, dry and savoury. 89/100

Domaine de Capelanel, Mythique 2009
Inky-black, glass staining stuff again. Inky nose too - seems to be about the quality of fruit and earthy terroir more than oak, but liquorice and sinewy. The purity and density of fruit is good, a real lip-smacking concentration here: kirsch-like edge of brightness and focus, the big, dry tannins and keen edge of acidity driving through. Big, dry and serious - maybe a touch too extracted? 88/100

Clos Troteligotte, K Or 2009
Intense black fruit, nice purity of blue-black character, a hint of gaminess, and of freshness too. The palate has a fresh, crunchy core of fruit that is quite mineral and vital, the freshness aided by a crisp edge to the tannins and acidity - quite a lean, shimmering quality which is lovely. 92/100

Clos Troteligotte, K Lys 2009
A lot of polished, creamy new oak here, dominating at present, adding choc-mint aspects to dense black fruits. On the palate a hugely deep and impressive core of fruit, really super-ripe and creamy, but very densely structured. The acidity, however, is good, with a cherry-skin edge and a roughening character that gives this savoury appeal. A striking wine and very modern/international in many ways, but there is no disputing the quality. 91-92/100

Château de Gaudou, Grande Lignée 2010
Ripe and vinous, good black fruit but arguably not screaming of terroir or grape. Quite a lot of oak too. Pleasant palate, perhaps a touch dilute in terms of mid-palate fruit, the tannins just dominating the finish, but has the savoury balance to be better with food I suspect. 88/100

Domaine du Prince, Rossignol 2009
Another inky colour and aromatic wine, huge depth of tightly-wound, even ashy black fruit, dense and concentrated. The palate has a lovely sweetness to the fruit, a lovely edge of ripe blackcurrant skins and juicy black plum, really nicely pitched against the creamy oak and the tannin/acid balance. Powerful, deep and muscular. Impressive of its huge style. 90/100

Château de Hauterive, Chemin de Compostelle 2010
Colour shows a little development. Cedary, quite bloody and open, gently oxidative style perhaps. The palate has an inky black-fruited juiciness, black fruit skin tartness, quite dry and mouth-watering, certainly no hint of oxidation, quite racy and keen, with good acidity and a dry tannic savour. 89-90/100

Château de Hauterive, Prestige 2010
Quite gamy and bloody again, a great deal of ripeness evident in the fruit though. Juicy, with a certain creaminess of texture, silky tannins too and a nicely bitter bite on the finish. 89/100

Domaine du Garinet, Reserve 2005
More rustic on the nose, more developed, some soft gamy notes though plenty of lightly smoky, plump red fruit beneath. The palate has a fairly strident tannin still, really nice incisive freshness. Arguably this could have a touch more plushness to the fruit, but it is structured and long, with a juicy clarity in the finish. 88-89/100

Château Lamartine, Cuvée Particulière 2009
A touch of leather and more rustic character her again. A gamy edge, the fruit solid, but not a lot of lift or energy on the nose. Quite firm and juicy, a squirt of lemony acidity and dry tannins just coating the mouth. Needs food for sure, as the savoury appeal is good though it lacks a touch of mid-palate fruit sweetness for me 88/100

Domaine d'Homs, Prestige Noir 2006
First bottle corked, second laden with Brettanomyces. That makes it more austere on the palate than it should be, shortening the finish. Some will say 'rustic' maybe even 'classic' and perhaps like it a little more than me: it is not undrinkable. 82

Château de Cenac, Prestige 2010
A big, ripe and plush style, with plenty of oak, giving a cereal toastiness and a weight of ripe, creamy black fruit beneath. The palate is dark and extracted, showing plum skin and blueberry fruit, that real damsony darkness, melding into chocolate tannins. Fresh and vital despite the forward appeal and slightly international profile, but an impressive modern Cahors. 89/100

Clos du Chene, Malbec du Clos 2009
A slightly caramel character, just a little more cooked and pruney than I'd ideally like to see. On the palate obvious sweetness to the fruit, with good balance between fruit and tannin, oak and acidity, into a long, spice cupboard finish. 88-89/100

Château Lacapelle, Cabanac Prestige 2008
Cereal nose, quite dry, redcurranty fruit aromas, but perhaps a touch too much oak. Quite chewy tannins, a density of extract and dry, with the fruit edged with dry cranberry and redcurrant too. Nicely fresh, but possibly just a little too dry? 87/100

Château Haut Monplaisir, Prestige 2009
Quite intense, a lean, sinewy but good fruit character, a touch meaty, a bit of Brett, but the black fruit at the core is good. Some fruit sweetness on the palate: cassis and black berries with a dry, mineral-edged acidity and plenty of tannins and toasty oak underpinning. Pity about the Brett. 86/100

Château Quattre 2009
There's a salty, ozoney freshness on the nose of this that I like, just lifting the wine over cherry and black fruit. The palate has real sweetness on the attack, the fruit ripe, but always edged by those leaner, more charcoally and very dry tannins. Balance is otherwise pretty good, the acidity and spice of the oak are there, and perhaps this will knit together more too. 89/100

Château Eugenie, Cuvée Reservée de l'Aieul 2009
Very attractive on the nose, the buouyant fruit quality peppy and bright, with enough creamy oak and sense of Malbec's more floral character coming through nicely. A very appealing wine, flooded with sweet fruit across the palate, the tannins very controlled and refined and the long, chocolate and spice-infused finish very easy to like. Call it commercial or even a touch international, but it is unarguably delicious. 90/100

Château Eugenie, Pierre le Grand 2009
Darker, meatier, but still with a good fruit concentration. There's a coolness and sense of minerality here too that is intriguing. The palate is dry and vinous, a big core of bittersweet plum skin and cherry skin biting freshness and sweetness, very firm tannins giving real grip and a taut, mineral-edged freshness. Serious and structured, more for the long haul. 91/100

Château St Sernin, Prestige 2008
Coffee and meatiness, and also a little more softness to the colour suggests a bit of age. There's a deal of ripe berry fruit too. The tannins are dry, but there's a sense of ripeness too, a lot of polish and sweet fruit adding to the creamy oak to give a supple appeal. Balanced, with acidity keeping the edges sharp, and it is quite long 88-89/100

Château les Bouysses 2009
Creamy, cappuccino and charry oak dominates a little, but there seems to be real substance beneath and a depth of black fruit. Coffee on the palate too, the oak is a little overpowering, though I do like the fruit concentration, the fleshy sweetness and the spice. Tannins are dry and forceful, acidity is good. Another Cahors that would be interesting to see in three to five years to see if it integrates more. 87-88/100

Domaine le Bout du Lieu, Orbe Noir 2009
Sweet earth and minerality here, seems to have a sense of place, though there is a meat-stocky overlay of oak (maybe a touch of Brett) but the fruit is ripe. On the palate this has real sweetness, concentrated and meaty, but at the same time edged by very firm, very dry tannin and a big spine of structural acidity. Again, needs time I think. 87-89/100

Clos Triguedina, Petit Clos 2009
A wine seemingly on a slightly smaller scale - the volume turned down a little - with meaty edges to plush and quite elegant red and black fruits. Plush on the palate too, the fruit really sweet and ripe, creamily textured and with a squirt of juiciness too. Big framework of tannin and acid, and a bit of broadening oak, but all nicely done and very nicely balanced. 90/100

Château Pineraie 2010
Very primary purple colour. Plenty of quality oak here, quite dominant but the wine is clearly young. Espresso and charry toast, but the fruit beneath is really pure and vital: damson and blueberry ripeness and dark drama. Massive presence on the palate: intense, ripe, sweet and chocolate smooth and rich, that creamy sweetness sweeps the tannins and acidity before it like a breaking wave into the finish. Modern and plush, which some will fault, but I think it's a bit special. 91/100

Domaine de Cause, Malbec 2010
Vinous, damsony and ripe, but more restrained in style, this still has plenty of oak and plenty of ripeness. Very dry palate, the big tannins coating the teeth and sides of the mouth, And though not without fruit, the power of the oak and tannins is ascendant at this stage. one to come back to. 88-89/100

Domaine de Cause, La Lande Cavagnac 2010

Meaty and intense wine, a certain floral edged and kirsch-like brightness and immediacy, plenty of espresso oak there too. The big, chewy tannin quality of the palate is deliciously offset by the fruit: the fruit is concentrated and intense, a piercing blue/black quality with good acidity holding up against the tannins and the spice of the oak. A powerhouse, but very good. 89-90/100

Château du Cèdre 2009
Lovely, pure, creaminess of red and black fruits, very expressive and the quality of creamy, soft cappuccino oak is in the background. 'Chocolaty' is the word that springs to mind, but then whilst the palate has sweetness, depth and bittersweet richness, there's an energy and life too, a tang of something vibrant lkike orange to the acidity in a very stylish, dry but supple wine. 91/100

Mas des Etoiles 2010
Very forward, upfront picture of huge cassis ripeness and coffee and chocolate toast to the oak gives this instant kerb appeal. Juicy and very sweet on the palate, there's a lot of presence and personality here, a lot of intensity that seems a touch one-dimensional, but that might be just an aspect of its youth. Certainly full of character. 89-90/100

Château du Cèdre 2010
Quite a lot of toasty oak, quite a lot of intense, meaty concentration of fruit and a purity too. Tastes very young, the firm tannins spicy and robust, yet ripe and creamy at the same time, the fruit ripe and black but showing a little brightly-focused, violet authenticity. Tannins are powerful but nicely balanced, the whole picture very complete - if youthful. 90-91/100

Château les Croisille, Noble Cuvée 2009
Vinous, with red fruits and a savoury, quite earthy/vegetal aspect, a touch of charcoal and cedar too perhaps. The palate has a delicious creaminess of texture and sweet fruitedness against the polished oak and smooth tannins. Good balance, good acidity. 89/100

Château Tour de Miraval, Malbec Perle Noire 2010
Noticeably pale (comparatively) with a ruby/crimson core. A tiny bit reduced, but mellow coffee oak and quite pretty red and black berry fruit comes through. The palate has a lot of oak, a lot of very ripe fruit and an overall bright and vivacious personality. Juicy acidity and a nice twist of freshness to the fruit makes this lively and gregarious wine easy to drink, despite a slight harshness just casting a touch of doubt. 87-88/100

Château Tour de Miraval, Cahors 'Femme' 2010
Another wine that is slightly paler, more ruby than the norm here. Mellow and open, there's a softness to the nose, a suggestion of mellow fruit and gentle, almost woodlandy notes, though it is not at all dank: just a little bit truffly perhaps. The palate has very nice balance - the tannins are tamed here, seeming dry but also a little softer or more mellow than some, and set against the sweet red fruit, coffee and cream oak and nicely balanced but not aggressive acidity, this is flattering, open and easy to drink, though does have a bit of heat and spice. 89/100

Next: tasting notes for 42 Cahors Speciale level wines

for our in-depth feature The Malbecs of Cahors