The Chateau Labrande Cahors is 75% Malbec, 20% Merlot and 5% Tannat sourced from the Lot region of the Cahors AOC in Southwest France. In Cahors, the Malbec grape is known as Auxerrois and the Malbec grapes grown in Argentina, while taken from France, are smaller in overall size and grow in smaller clusters. The Tannat grape is used as a blending grape that is used to soften a rough wine and add aging potential. The wine was aged for 18 months in both French oak barrels and large casks, 1/3 in new oak. The alcohol content is 12.5%. 90 points Wine Spectator.
The Malbec from Cahors is known as “the Black Wine,” but here the Merlot and the Tannat have lighten the color to raspberry red with brown highlights. The nose is blackberry, tea, earth (dirt) and chocolate. A full bodied, full flavored wine, sweet strawberry and cherry starts thing off, followed licorice and Dr. Pepper. The mid palate brings blackberry and oaky vanilla. Strong, but balanced tannins, traditionally Cahors Malbec have been intensely tannic wines, but the Chateau Labrande eases off on the tannins. There is a long blackberry and vanilla finish.
If you are a fan of Argentinian Malbec, you owe it to yourself to give Cahors Malbec a try. In France, where the grapes are grown and who made the wine is all they need to know about a wine, so what grapes are used to make the wine are rarely on the label. Who and where something in France is made does not do the average American wine drinker much good, so finding the right French wine can be a little difficult. So, if you see Cahors on the bottle in the French wine section, you will know its Malbec in the bottle.