As its World Malbec Day, we thought we'd revist the Malbec grape in its original home: Cahors in South West France...
The red wines of the Lot Valley vineyards have such a deep colour that they are commonly known as the Black Wines of Cahors. Loved by Roman Emperors, who authorised the vines to be planted some 2000 years ago, Cahors wine was on the tables at the marriage of Eleanor of Aquitaine and Henry Plantagenet in 1152. Popes (especially Jean XXII, himself a Cahorsin), Kings and Russian Czars loved the stuff and its reputation spread far and wide.
Cahors is made from Malbec, either 100% or blended with a small amount of Merlot or Tannat grapes (usually). Some of the best soils are red with limestone pebbles, which store the sun's heat and releases it during the night. The vineyards stretch from the Pont de Valentré at Cahors itself to Fumel in the west and the producers are only allowed to use the designation AOC (Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée) Cahors for their red wine – white and rosés are sold as 'Vin de Pays du Lot'.
FACT: Malbec is also known as Auxerrois or Côt in Cahors and is called Malbec or Pressac in other regions.