Two Highly Recommended Reds
From The Dordogne And The Lot
Château du Cèdre Héritage Malbec, Cahors (AOC) 2016, 13.5%, €16.35
Gorgeous fruity aromatics welcome you to this mid to dark ruby wine from the south of France. It has been produced biodynamically by Pascal and Jean-Marc Verhaeghe of Château Du Cèdre who, according to importers Le Caveau, ”form one of the most passionate, hard-working and skilled team of winegrowers we have ever come across”.
And that accolade seems well deserved when you taste this superb wine, the concentrated fruit flavours delivered in a silky smooth vinous package that excites the taste buds as it pleasurably passes on its way to an equally delightful finalé.
Very impressive indeed. There is nothing extreme here, all’s restrained, the tannins are close to smooth, and harmony reigns. They have a winning formula but rather than going on auto-pilot after years of doing it, they pay attention to the details of each vintage. Most of the wine is tank aged, with 20% barrel aged (2 year old barrels) for 16 to 18 months and that has been nicely judged in this case. It is 95% Malbec with 5% Merlot added. Very Highly Recommended.
Numerous passages are made in the vineyard to ensure the perfect health, quality and ripeness of the grapes, and all the work is carried by hand as, since 1992, no chemicals have been used. The search for quality is pushed so far that almost each vine receives a special attention.
It is ideal at the table and food recommendations include grilled vegetables, a creamy polenta with simmered meat, matured cheese or with a moist, rich, nut roast with baked vegetables and roast potatoes.
Tour Des Gendres Bergerac Rouge (AOP) Merlot - Malbec 2016, 14%
This bright ruby is a blend of Malbec and Merlot. Aromas are very inviting indeed, red and dark fruit in there. On the palate it is fresh and juicy with a lovely lively acidity, a touch of sweet spice, smooth tannins and a good long finish as well. Another well made harmonious wine from Luc de Conti and Highly Recommended.
Le Caveau tell is that M. de Conti is a wonderful character and one of the finest wine-makers of his generation, he feels passionately for his wines, his 54-ha vineyard and his Bergerac region. Viticulture is biodynamic, the soil is nourished with seaweed and silica treatments to encourage microbial activity.
Passion yes, but patience also seems to be one of Luc’s qualities: “the more we learn how to tolerate the threats of the nature, by adapting ourselves to it and not the opposite, the more the biodiversity will naturally balance things out, the more the soil will give us, meaning our wines will be more authentic.…”
Wine has been made in Bergerac for thousands of years yet its wines often play second fiddle to neighbouring Bordeaux which, during the Hundred Years War, hindered the export of its rival's wines. I’ve been in the Dordogne area a few times and have always been happy to have a Bergerac red or white in my hand and wouldn’t feel at all put out if offered a Monbazillac instead of a Sauternes (with perhaps one exception!)