2020 Valérie Courrèges 'Bois Carmin' Cahors

2020 Valérie Courrèges 'Bois Carmin' Cahors

Regular price $32

Region: Cahors < France

Grapes: Malbec (aka Côt)

Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Certified biodynamic farming (Demeter); Soils: stony red clay soil on top of a friable jurassic limestone bedrock; grapes are mostly de-stemmed, but not crushed in order to maintain the integrity of the berries. Wines are fermented with native yeast in small concrete tanks, sorted by parcel. Moderate extraction by gentle punch-downs or small pump-overs. 20 to 25 days total for maceration and fermentation; 15 months in small concrete vats and barrels; bottled unfined/unfiltered with no added So2; 14% ABV

Winemaker: Valérie Courrèges

In Cahors, just 3 hours from rival Bordeaux, Malbec (the "black grape") has always, and still does, reign as king.  Malbec used to be the prized grape in Bordeaux blends as well,  but Bordeaux completely ditched Malbec after a devastating 1956 frost, which wiped out most growers and around 95% of the vines, while Cahors stayed loyal.  Resurrection of the region -- and the reputation of Malbec, has been slow, and neither have truly regained their cult status. But producers like Valérie Courrèges are quietly bringing Cahors back to the forefront.  Valérie was already making wine at crazy famous estates throughout France when, in 2019, she came across the perfect opportunity to buy some old vineyards and settle in Cahors. Now based in the South West, she tends 22 hectares of old vines rooted in a sublime terroir of clay and limestone. Drawing inspiration from France's natural wine legends, her first order of business at the winery was to convert all of its vineyards to biodynamic farming and pursue Demeter certification.

The existing old vines, averaging between 50 and 65 years, were all planted with selection massale and grafted in place—an incredibly rare find in Cahors.  The vineyard from which this Malbec hails is located in Sauzet (AOP Cahors). All of the vines are walled inside an intact ‘clos’ from its original construction in 1913—another extremely rare feature that is a testament to the potential of this terroir, according to Valérie. The thick layer of topsoil above the limestone mother rock gives the land an increased resistance to drought, and inversely, to excess water with a natural drainage. The strength of this parcel also lies with its ‘swelling clays’ that give supple notes of violet flowers in otherwise hearty expressions of Cahors.

'Bois Cahors' is a powerful wine, intense black and purple in color, with flowers and spice on the nose.  On the palate, fleshy black fruit is lightened up by purple flowers and a fresh mineral quality (from the amazing soil structure here), and a velvety texture coats the mouth and brings you back for more.  A fantastic fall-to-winter wine for heartier dishes and chilly days.  Think Bordeaux, but way cooler.

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