My only trepidation was that a wine whose name loosely translates as "I'm ready for my dinner" (from the old Occitan language of Languedoc), almost demands food. Dinner was over and it hadn't warranted this particular wine. I wanted to serve something that Mr Purple Teeth would be sure to enjoy, particularly as he's been relegated to chief skivvy status during my post-surgical sofa sojourn.
Initially the nose indicated some "dustiness" and a hint of leather, that to me, instantly means France. A huge black fruit core, liquorice and woody spices like nutmeg, then sing on the palate. This is followed by a deeply velvety finish of dry bitter cocoa, echoing the dusty note, that is intensely satisfying. I felt sure, just from looking at the blackened cork and almost inky black wine in the glass that Mr PT would love it.
Initially the nose indicated some "dustiness" and a hint of leather, that to me, instantly means France. A huge black fruit core, liquorice and woody spices like nutmeg, then sing on the palate. This is followed by a deeply velvety finish of dry bitter cocoa, echoing the dusty note, that is intensely satisfying.
He loved it: "Big in the beginning - but with 3 layers of complexity, some youthful character". Could it be new world, he asked? Well, a little off base there, but with the spiritual home of Malbec in Mendoza, it's fair to say, think Malbec (even if he wasn't), think new world.
"Full bodied and black fruit filled with a tannic texture and length - slightly bitter in the middle."
A little later: "Really very good with a lovely lingering flavour of dried bitter cocoa and blackberries".
Boy that man is good. Picking up on the smoky dark notes, he came round to it being French but was flummoxed by this hand sorted blend of Malbec with around 15% Merlot and 5% Tannat.
I lost count of how many times he said, "This wine is really, really, very good indeed."
The acidity is well balanced and prevents the tannins becoming too chewy and drying. It felt like a serious wine to buy again. And next time to enjoy with a hearty, autumnal beef dish...
Before the first glass was over, I was onto The Wine Society (where I'd purchased this a year ago) to get some more. At just £13.95 though, this bargain was long gone.
If you like the sound of it, Essex-based Purple Teeth fans should be able to pick up a bottle of this vintage at Joseph Barnes Wines in Saffron Walden, for £21. (They also ship around the UK.)
You may find some younger vintages, but you really wouldn't want to drink this much younger than 6 years... It could easily last (if well kept) for up to 15.
I've tried a number of Cahors Malbecs, and this one continues to reign supreme as the benchmark of what Malbec in France can produce. A terroir driven wine, that's full of character, and nothing like as jammy as some Argentine Malbecs at a similar price point.
My intention had been to do a side by side Malbec taste-off between this and a Mendoza Malbec, but my impatience got the better of me. I needed to keep my man sweet for another week of nursemaid duties. It worked.
The question is, will he enjoy the Argentinean wines on the rack as much? No more 2002 Catena on there, I'm afraid!
We'll have to wait and see.
Meanwhile, if you want to know what Malbec tasted like before the southern hemisphere claimed the grape as its own, you'll be hard pushed to find a better, (almost) affordable version than this. Try it and let me know what you think via the comments section below, Twitter, or our Facebook page.