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Cahors Speciale

by Tom Cannavan 2013 intense

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

The colour of all of these wines is an intense, almost opaque crimson/black. I have noted wines which varied from this.

Domaine la Berangeraie, La Gorgée 2009
Dense and vivid crimson/purple. Beautiful fruit: essence of creamy liquidised cherry and blackcurrant, infused with vanilla and clove. The oak beautifully harmonious. On the palate no disappointment, as a weight of silky, sweet and refined berry fruit matches with dry but fine tannins and elegant acidity. Gorgeous stuff, and showing Malbec's elegance. 94/100

Château Combel la Serre, Elite 2008
Lovely nose again, the exotic spice of the oak framing pretty creamy red fruit, a hint of something mineral. On the palate a drier tannin structure, big, broad tannins are well managed and ripe, but coat the mouth. Very dry and savoury, but the quality of the fruit is undeniable and this is long and balanced. 92/100

Château de Chambert, Grand Vin 2010
Has an inky character on the nose, a touch of that dry, pastille and watercolour paintbox character, the fruit cherry-like and bright, the spicy oak subtle in the background. On the palate this bursts with juicy, youthful fruit, very nicely pitched against the acidity and tannins. This dries the mouth in the finish, but certainly needs some time and is very nicely balanced indeed. 92/100

Château de Chambert, GC 2010
Beautifully lifted perfume of violet and kirsch cherries, a Sandalwood note of incense and exotic spice from the oak, but beneath another layer of minerals and sweet earth adding complexity. Wonderfully juicy palate, also showing a salty lick of minerality that is beautifully fresh and appealing, the tannins and acidity so nicely and creamily balanced. Striking stuff and elegant. 93/100

Château la Caminade, Esprit 2008
A little bit more of a slightly lactic, less pure fruit character here, perhaps just a touch of oxidation. Second bottle better, cleaner, though there is perhaps a lack of mid-palate fruit and freshness. Dry on the finish. 85/100

Château de Haute-Serre 2009
A little paler in colour and a bright and primary nose of red fruits, but there's a leathery and gamy note too, a touch of the barnyard suggesting a light bretty character. Chocolate and sweet fruit on the palate is mouth-filling and rich, but the finish just a touch short and showing that slight drying quality. 84/100

Château de Mercues 2009
Very fine fruit, very youthful and dry, red plum and a touch of spice and toast, just a leathery aspect in there too. Strange palate: very sweet, prickling the tongue and dry on the finish. Is this just volatile or refermenting? Not a happy wine (2 bottles opened). 77/100

Château de Mercues, Malbec 6666 2010
The nose has plenty of dry red fruit, cherry and red plum, but also a liquoricy character and touch of dried blood perhaps. Very dry on the palate, the tannins all-encompassing at this stage, quite high acidity too adding to the decisive but dry character. Is there enough fruit? Maybe it needs a little time. 86-87/100

Château Pech de Jammes 2009
Solid and quite meaty, with a slightly baked quality to it, perhaps just the oak lying a little heavy, but not a Malbec in the floral and elegant style. A big core of sweet fruit is plummy and deep, touches of espresso and chocolate too, and though a more burly expression, the balance and the ripeness of the tannins and acidity is good. 90/100

Château Pech de Jammes, Pure Malbec 2009
Very nice, bright, expressive nose, the clarity of the fruit is good and there is a touch of earthy, smoky minerality too. Lots of fruit on the palate, very dense but juicy, just enough vital juicy fruit concentration to stand up to the big tannin framework. Dry, with the acidity and spice of the finish both quite noticeable. 90/100

Château Fantou, L'Elite 2009
A lot of oak here, in the creamy mint and coconut spectrum, but there is a lovely density and quality of ripe Malbec too. A welter-weight of creamy and ripe black fruit on the palate, super suave and supple, the ripe tannins are big and at this stage quite drying, but the balance with the clean acidity and copious spice in the finish is good, the fruit concentrated and pushing through. 92/100

Le Clos D'un Jour, Un Jour Sur Terre 2010
There's a youthful, inky and dry quality to the fruit here: cherry and plum, but dry and dusty though appealingly fresh. The oak very much in the background compared to the previous wine. Juicy and dry on the palate too, this is gripped by its tannins that coat the side of the mouth, but again it has a vitality and energy that I like and should come round given the purity of the fruit. 90/100

Le Clos D'un Jour, Un Jour 2009
A nice wine with a smoothing layer of creamy oak over ripe, quite plush berry fruit, and a lovely glimpse of the floral character of the Malbec. Absolutely mouth-filling creamy ripeness of fruit on the palate, infused with the vanilla of the oak, but all pushing through purely on the mid-palate before the drying tannins and cherry skin acidity begin to bite. Big and flattering style, a touch 'international', but well balanced and long. 91-92/100

Domaine de Capelanel 2009
Quite a dry, fruit forward plum skin and cherry style, with a nice little inky/smoky quality and suggestion of minerality. The palate is a big blast of juicy, vital and sweetly ripe fruit over huge tannins, the bittersweet plum and cherry skin bite of the acidity and fruit is lovely too. It has lots of spice and power, and a touch of heat, but well done. 91/100

Clos Troteligotte, K 2009
Intriguing nose, with a dried blood and smoky/ashy minerality, a refined fruit quality beneath. The oak is there, but it is discreet and also gently smoky rather than charry. On the palate this bursts with life and vitality, that squirt of juicy bittersweet fruit against big, dry tannins and clean acids. A bit of spice in the finish too, in a very stylish wine with real energy. Needs time. 92/100

Château de Gaudou, Renaissance 2010
Nice balance of creamy and spicy oak with ripe fruits, fairly solid and straightforward. A delicious wine, the fat ripeness and sweetness of the fruit powering through, lots of spice and nicely bitter edges of tart plum skins against the sweetness, and good length and balance. Not quite as elegant as some, but a lovely and powerful wine. 91/100

Château de Gaudou, Premium 2012
Intense crimson/purple colour, and very primary nose (is this a barrel sample?), with cherry and lifted violet fruit and that Indian ink and watercolour paintbox dryness. Any oak is in the background. The super sweet-edged fruit and those dry tannins power the palate, but this has lovely potential and balance, the tannins ripe and the acid very nicely judged, oaky spice and creaminess in the finish. 90/100

Château de Gaudou, Reserve Caillau 2009
Fine dried blood and ashy minerals here, very appealing, the fruit ripe and a hint of bloody oxidation which is pleasing. Quite broad and maturing on the palate, that softening edge of oxidative handling gives this some creamy breadth and softens the edges of the drying tannins, but the fruit is still very good and the wine eminently drinkable already. 90-91/100

Domaine du Prince, Lou Prince 2009
Very intense, inky wine, both in colour and aroma, with dark mulberry and plum skins, all very dense and dry, but then the hints of violet and cherry lift and sweetness are there. Delicious palate, suffused with sweet black fruit and creamy oak underpinning, the tannins grippy but not too dryly, and it finishes with the fruit as the main focus. 91/100

Domaine du Garinet, Fût de Chene 2009
Quite a lot of smoky and incense spice oak here, just dominating aromatically over the fruit, a nice hint of earth and charcoal too. Dry and mouth-coating tannins dominate the palate too, though the fruit is juicy, and the vivid plum-skin concentration of the acidity also adds a freshening character in a big, powerful but well balanced wine. 91/100

Château Lamartine, Expression 2010
A beautifully composed nose, the creamy and silky overlay of quality, gently creamy and smoky oak already integrated with the ripe black fruits. Pleasing hints of flowers and kirsch too. The palate is gripped by huge tannins at present, the teeth and sides of the mouth coated instantly, but there is very good fruit, a lovely rasping tartness from the cherry and plum skin quality and a long finish, touched by vanilla and spice. Is it a touch too dry and extracted? 90-92/100

Domaine D'homs Les Chevaliers 2001
Very soft colour. Obvious age on this. A slightly underpowered nose of bloody oxidation and soft, undergrowth qualities to the modest fruit. Difficult to judge a mature wine in the midst of so many youthful examples. Pleasing balance and a nice drink, but just a little lacking in fruit in the finish. 87/100

Château de Cenac, Eulalie 2010
Back to a young, primary wine again, but one perhaps a little too dominated by gravy browning, meat stock oak. Thankfully the sweet ripeness and elegant creaminess of the fruit does come through on the palate, though the big tannins of grape and oak are just a bit too drying. The impression is of dry fruit extract in the finish, though the acidity is good. 88-89/100

Clos du Chene, Peche du Clos 2009
Quite a lot of smoky, toasty oak here, but well integrated with the fruit. Dry in the mouth, there is a nice balance here, the sweet, creamy ripe blackcurrant fruit suffused with vanilla and clove spice, and a pleasing balance of acidity. A more broadly appealing, arguably more commercial style, and very well done. 90/100

Château Lacapelle Cabanac, Malbec Xl 2008
Dark and dramatic both in colour and aroma, with a touch of vegetal quality to earthy and toasty aromas. On the palate this is chocolaty and thick, the intense concentration of the fruit is obvious, and it stands up very well to the onslaught of thick, creamy and dry tannins. Balanced and powerful, and certainly makes a big impression. 91/100

Château Haut Monplaisir, Pur Plaisir 2009
Dry, Bretty edge to the nose, with the palate also showing that shortening effect of the Brett, but it has good fruit beneath. There's a juiciness here and a pleasing overall character, but it could have been so much better. 85-86/100

Château Quattre, Les Carrals 2009
Another example with the lightly gamy and vegetal character coming through, plenty of smoky oak but a nice sense of earthiness and gravelly, dry concentration and then a ripe blackcurrant asserts. Lovely sweet fruit on the palate, the density and plum flesh ripeness filling the mouth, the tannins big and dry, but ripe and spicy too, the acidity adding a keen cherry edge in one of the bigger wines here, but I have to say, very well done. 92/100

Château Eugenie, Haute Collection 2009
Creamy and smoky, lots of vanilla here and a chocolate richness to the aromas, very ripe and plush. Does a little hint of the floral, violetty elegance just come through? On the palate this has real fruit sweetness and smooth, plush appeal, though big and dry the tannins have a silky quality and the cherry ripe acidity is good. A lovely, rounded and balanced wine on the bigger scale. 91-92/100

Château St Sernin, La Tour 2007
Softening colour suggests some age. Very elegant and discreet, though a touch Bretty too unfortunately. The palate rather dry, and though could work well with some food, just not quite convincing. 84/100

Domaine le Bout Du Lieu, Empyree 2009
Quite primary aromas, with keen and inky black fruit and fruit skins, some charry oak and a touch of cherryish lift. Massively sweet and ripe, chewy black fruit on the palate - a tour de force of concentrated fruit without erring into over-extraction, the big dry tannins not disrupting the plushness, but along with the acidity just giving a nice edge to a big, solid, but delicious picture. 90/100

Clos Triguedina 2009
A touch of gravy browning to the darkly-framed, meaty black fruit. Quite a dense and muscular style, though the palate has very good fruit sweetness and a really juicy appeal, the spicy clove and pepper of the finish against tight, spicy tannins and good acidity not hugely complex, but delivering a good mouthful of honest Cahors. 90-91/100

Clos Triguedina, Au Coin du Bois 2007
Charcoal and schist here, a meaty nose with a lot of char from the oak, but tight and concentrated fruit too. Dark and dramatic. The palate has a lot of creamy and sweet fruit, really quite smooth, juicy and delicious, well up to the tannins and the acidity providing lovely freshness. Big and muscular, but very delicious. 90-91/100

Clos Triguedina, Les Galets 2007
Quite an elegant, violet-touched cherry fruit here, it has concentration and intensity, but there's a little bright edge that is very pleasing. A minty touch to the oak adds to the plush but creamily vibrant picture. Really creamy and dense on the palate, this is a big wine and a plush one, coating the mouth with sweet, dry fruit and extract, plenty of spice and alcohol, but overall it is very successful - crying out for a steak and modern in style, and well done. 92/100

Clos Triguedina, Petites Cailles 2007
Balanced, fresh, with good fruit and a pleasing lightly earthy and vegetal character that seems to have a bit of maturity. Nicely balanced palate too, perhaps a touch dry arguably, but the balance is good and the freshness of the tannins and acidity leaves it tangy and mouth-watering. 90-91/100

Clos Triguedina, Probus 2009
Back into the creamy, dense more modern spectrum, with very ripe and plush black fruit showing edges of spice and minerals but copious ripeness. The palate is very juicy, lovely fruit quality here, edged with spice and fresh plum skin bittersweet bite, the tannins fresh and dry, but with an energy about them, working nicely with the squirt of juicy acidity. Very pleasing composition. 92/100

Château Pineraie, l'Authentique 2009
Quite meaty, quite a lot of charry oak too, the fruit is there but just a little hint of Malbec's more expressively fresh side. On the palate it has a juicy freshness, the tart squeeze of lemon and cherry skin acidity and dry tannins in control, but there is good fruit and balance overall. 90-91/100

Domaine de Cause, Notre Dame des Champs 2009
Big, creamy vanilla and mint oak dominates, with smooth black fruit beneath. The palate continues the smooth sweetness and vanilla-coated fruit theme, very dense and sweet, lovely actually, though the dry tannins will have to integrate more. Not hugely subtle, modern but well done. 89/100

Château du Cèdre, Le Cedre 2009
Back to a lovely sense of freshness and cool, Cahors earth here as well as oak and fruit. Indeed that ashy, dry, mineral character is what drives this aromatically. Gorgeous palate, the dry extract of the fruit nicely managed, tannins and acids in proportion but the fresh and juicy energy of the fruit is what drives through into a long spicy and fruity finish. 92/100

Château du Cèdre, Le Cedre 2010
Similar nose, perhaps a little more vegetal character, with a similar sense of freshness too. On the palate the sweetness of the fruit bursts through more, with a really nice touch of creaminess and ripeness, the dryness of the tannins is there, but a balanced picture, the acidity and the fruit giving a fresh appeal. Very nice wine this, on the leaner more elegant style. 92/100

Château du Cèdre, GC 2010
Lovely concentration of pure Malbec fruit here: silky and intense black fruit aromas, just supported - not dominated - by creamy oak and with a sense of minerality in the background. Really juicy and fresh on the palate, the youthful tannins coat the mouth, but against that there is real sweetness to the fruit and a sense of purity and purpose - it comes to as very fine point in the finish. 94/100

Château les Croisille, Divin 2009
Very intense colour and a beautifully fresh and pure fruit expression on the nose. Distilled essence of Malbec, blue-black and pure and the spice and gentle vanilla of the oak in the background. Very fine on the palate too, that sense of purity is undoubtedly what drives this wine, the creamy sweetness and freshness wins out over the tannins and fresh, cherry acidity. What a lovely expression of Malbec. 92/100

Mas des Etoiles, Une Etoile Est Nee 2009
A little raw note of charry oak, but it is well in the background and the fruit character and sense of charcoal and earthy character is good. Quite a big, juicy wine on the palate, this has mouth-coating extract, but the fruit is definitely there and has a sweetness and fleshy density. Big, the componentns perhaps needing more time to fuse, but another fine example of serious, modern Cahors. 92/100

Back: tasting notes for 23 Cahors Tradition level wines

for our in-depth feature The Malbecs of Cahors