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Cosse et Maisonneuve Cahors Solis Malbec 2015
15 years ago, they took over a 5 hectare estate in Prayssac, a short distance from Cahors, planted with old vines of Malbec and set out to make wines that are the antithesis of the rustic image of Cahors. Their very first vintage was a cuvée called Les Laquets, but they quickly expanded the range of their wines, creating separate cuvées to reflect the identity of the different terroirs of the estate.
Today, their estate totals 17 hectares of vines planted predominantly with Malbec although there is a small amount of Merlot and Tannat. Their plots are situated in the optimal locations to produce the best Cahors – predominantly on the gravel and clay third terrace above the Lot river.
They are certified organic by Ecocert although they farm their vineyards biodynamically and plan to become cerified by Demeter. Everything they do in the vineyard is done with the aim of attaining balanced soils which produce the best ripening conditions for the grapes in order to make harmonious, aromatically complex and precise wines. They consider that wine is the ambassador of a terroir, and a winemaker is the interpreter, thus to obtain perfect grapes that will clearly express the qualities of the Cahors terroir, everything in the vineyard must be natural.
Within the Southwest of France, this is the one region outside of Argentina that is today almost exclusively dependent on Malbec. Locally the variety is called Cot, and makes a dense, earthy and black fruit dominant red wine. Both the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean both have a strong influence on the climate of this region.
Known for its big, bold flavors and supple texture, Malbec is most famous for its runaway success in Argentina. However, the variety actually originates in Bordeaux, where it historically contributed color and tannin to blends. After being nearly wiped out by a devastating frost in 1956, it was never significantly replanted, although it continued to flourish under the name Côt in nearby Cahors. A French agronomist who saw great potential for the variety in Mendoza’s hot, high-altitude landscape, brought Malbec to Argentina in 1868. But it did not gain its current reputation as the country's national grape until a surge in popularity in the late 20th century.
In the Glass
Malbec typically expresses deep flavors of blackberry, plum and licorice, appropriately backed by aromas of freshly turned earth and dense, chewy tannins. In warmer, New World regions, such as Mendoza, Malbec will be intensely ripe, and full of fruit and spice. From its homeland in Cahors, its rusticity shines; dusty notes and a beguiling bouquet of violets balance rich, black fruit.
Malbec’s rustic character begs for flavorful dishes, like spicy grilled sausages or the classic cassoulet of France’s Southwest. South American iterations are best enjoyed as they would be in Argentina: with a thick, juicy steak.
If you’re trying to please a crowd, Malbec is generally a safe bet. With its combination of bold flavors and soft tannins, it will appeal to basically anyone who enjoys red wine. Malbec also wins bonus points for affordability, as even the most inexpensive examples are often quite good.