Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Cor! Cahors!

I just took delivery of the 2009s from Cahors. Having tasted them twice from the barrel, I had every reason to be excited but was nonetheless a little anxious that they may not live up to expectations in the bottle. Nothing to worry about (of course). Certainly, they are all young and some of the oak from the barrel ageing needs to be shed but it is quite unobtrusive even now and will give way to the fruit (even more than it has already) in time. Put simply, this is a stunning set of wines.

Pascal  Vehaeghe is clearly pleased with his 2009s. On both of the last two occasions I visited him he was keen for me to taste these (see earlier blogs). Chateau du Cedre is regarded as, probably, the very best estate in Cahors, certainly of those in the modern style, and Pascal is at the forefront on experimentation to make his wines better without losing their typicity. Usually these are wines to age, particularly as Pascal used to use 100% new oak. However, he has cut this back with the 2009 vintage which was aged 22 months in a mixture of new and second year oak barrels including a large new foudre. The 100% Malbec flagship cuvee "Le Cedre" is a stunning wine: wonderfully ripe with complex fruit and floral characters and both concentrated and elegant (just the sort of wine we like) with a delicious, long finish. Refreshingly, not too alcoholic (13.5%) this means the fruit has a chance to come through without being dominated by alcohol. There is some oak on the palate but it isn't anything to be concerned about: there is plenty of fruit to compensate. Delicious.

Pascal's influence is quite apparent in the 2009 "Pur Plaisir" from Haut-Monplaisir. As is usual for H-M wines which are all 100% Malbec, it is deep garnet in colour but the fruit profile is somewhere between red and black with a good pinch of spice. A small amount of oak is evident although this will fade away in time and, frankly, it is already well masked by the incredibly ripe fruit. Full in the mouth with very good length and lots of potential. Rather powerful. Certainly the best vintage of this cuvee to date in my experience. 

As with the other wines, Pascal's ultra-luxurious "GC" is now in the bottle and in the UK. Anyone who reads my blog will know how important textures are to me and this wine is worth the premium for the incredibly smooth and rounded mouthfeel. Pascal describes this as a winemaker's dream and it's easy to understand why. Everything is in place: a nose that makes you want to dive in and hold back at the same time (this reminds me of the scene in Gregory's Girl where Gregory's sister is explaining her love of salt and vinegar crisps) and when you do give in, the wonderfully plummy flavours and mouthfeel are almost overwhelming. The wine lasts seemingly forever too. Words simply cannot do this stunning wine justice. 

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