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Cosse et Maisonneuve Le Combal 2012
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.
With hundreds of red grape varieties to choose from, winemakers have the freedom to create a virtually endless assortment of blended wines. In many European regions, strict laws are in place determining the set of varieties that may be used, but in the New World, experimentation is permitted and encouraged. Blending can be utilized to enhance balance or create complexity, lending different layers of flavors and aromas. For example, a variety that creates a fruity and full-bodied wine would do well combined with one that is naturally high in acidity and tannins. Sometimes small amounts of a particular variety are added to boost color or aromatics. Blending can take place before or after fermentation, with the latter, more popular option giving more control to the winemaker over the final qualities of the wine.