April 17th marks International Malbec Day, which commemorates the day in 1853 when the Argentinian president re-transformed Argentina’s wine industry by introducing new vines, amongst them Malbec. Malbec now flies the wine flag for Argentina worldwide, however it has its roots in AOC Cahors, France.
Cahors, the capital of the Lot region, is the birthplace of Malbec wines from all over the world. In Cahors, Malbec is often called Auxerrois or Cot Noir and more famously known by its medieval nickname of ‘Black Wine’ due to its deep, dark colour. During the Middle Ages, the ‘Black Wine’ was drunk all over Europe by kings, emperors and Popes.
Nowadays, a small number of producers are trying (with success!) to get Cahors' wines back on track. Today a good Cahors can be compared with a good Bordeaux, although Cahors will be cheaper in price. Some of the locomotives of the appellation are Chateau du Cedre, Clos Triguedina or Chateau Lamartine or Mas del Perie for the younger generation.
To get the best information about Cahors, don't forget to read our Travel Guide.
Here is Winerist’s guide to the best wineries to visit in Cahors for authentic Malbec:
Clos Triguedina - Recognised all over the world as a master of the Malbec grape, Jean-Luc Baldès is able to use his talents to exploit unique vines nestling in the twists and turns of the Lot valley. Experimenting with micro-terroir-vinification like in Burgundy region they produce New Black Wine according to original historic recipe.
Visits and tasting: Mon-Fri 9-12/14-17, tastings are free! Clos Triguedina organises group/individual wine tastings without any advanced booking. Group/individual estate tours need an advanced booking by phone.
Château de Chambert - One of the rare “real” wine castles, as you would expect it to be. For over 300 years, its Malbec wine was enjoyed by kings, Popes in Avignon, tsars in Russia and officers in Bordeaux. Recently taken over by a young winemaker specialising in organic wines. Be sure to try the delicious and unique aperitif/dessert wine called “Rogomme”.
Visits and tasting: Don't miss the free 30-minute tasting session called ‘Our Malbec Wines Discovery’. A more advanced tasting plus a winery tour is available at only €7 per person.
Château Lamartine - Situated on the outskirts of the Appellation, 32 ha on the terraces. A charming, small family property, Chateau Lamartine is often medalled. In 1878 the Philloxera destroyed most of the Malbec vineyards in Cahors. In 1920, Edouard Sérougne, a courageous and persistent winemaker, reorganised the vineyard thanks to some Malbec stocks that survived.
Visits and tasting: Mon-Fri- 9-12/14-19, free. Groups on appointment.
Mas del Périé - Young winemaker, fresh ideas, great bottles and labels and even greater wines. Due to the selection of the terroir of only 15 hectares on the highest slopes of Cahors, the wines are very expressive. The wines are produced organically without any additives.
Visits and tasting: Mon-Fri 9-19hr, free. Small groups on appointment (max.20p).
Château Eugénie - Three centuries of winemaking, the chateau is now run by three brothers. They offer a wide range of Cahors and table wines from White to Ratafia. Top Cahors wine is the “Haute Collection”, handpicked, oak-aged.
Visits and tasting: Mon-Sat 9.30-12.30/14-19hr, free. Groups on appointment.
Have questions on Malbec or the Cahors wine region? Please leave us your comments on the section below.
Title photo: Laur Phil