120 Malbec wines from Cahors, France

These notes accompany our in-depth profile of Cahors.

See all UK stockists of Cahors wines on wine-searcher.

Cahors Tradition

tender Domaine la Berangeraie, Cuvée Juline 2009
Quite a creamy red fruit nose, a touch of strawberry and a touch of sappiness too. The palate has really quite good, inky and deep fruit, perhaps a very slightly astringent finish, but it also has some real elegance. 87/100.

Château Combel la Serre, Cuvée Originelle 2010
Vinous nose, a touch earthy. On the palate a little more juicy, a red fruit character quite light, but spicy, if slightly dilute in the finish. 84/100

Château la Caminade, Malbec / Merlot 2009
Quite a solid black fruit nose, a certain meatiness, a touch of meat stock rusticity. Palate has a little more density and weight, more flesh, with a powerful, full finish. 84/100

Georges Vigouroux, Les Comtes Malbec 2010
Just a touch antiseptic at first, a touch sappy and earthy, but much fruitier on the palate. A nice tight cherry freshness, modest tannins and fresh acidity. 86/100

Château Armandiere, Malbec Ancestral 2010
A little meaty and earthy, with a dark plum character to the fruit. The palate has modest fruit, quite big, drying tannins, and a dry finish of spice. 85-86/100

Château Fantou, Tradition 2009
Fairly generic, vinous nose of dark berry fruit but seems a touch stewed perhaps, a touch of prune and plum. Very dry on the palate, the dryness of tannins as prominent as the fruit. 83/100

Château de Gaudou, Tradition 2011
Very black colour, vibrant and youthful aromas too, kirsch notes adding a little lift. Some of that punchy, more vibrant black fruit comes through, nicely edged by dry tannin and fresh acidity, but a pleasing picture this. 86/100

Domaine du Prince 2009
Back to a more solid, meaty style, the dark colour and blackcurrant and blueberry fruit quite pleasingly brooding. The palate has good concentration. Quite meaty, quite dry and tannic, grippy finish needs food. 86/100

Château de Hauterive 2010
Slightly antiseptic nose, that touch of meatiness but there is fruit too. Plums and a certain fleshiness. The palate is dry and serious, a sinewy, quite muscular quality with spice and a tight tannin structure, but less dry than some, a little more fruit concentration. 86/100

Domaine du Garinet, Cuvée Bonheur 2010
Very youthful black/purple. Bright, focused aromas, the little blue/black fruit lift edged with violet very pleasing. Quite a big mouthful of wine this, and though the big muscular and dry tannins have the upper hand, the fruit is good, and with cherry skin bite of acidity, fresh. 88/100

Pelvillain Freres, Gariottin Selection 2011
Vivid, youthful colour again, and a meaty nose, the slightly animal/Brett note a little worrying but not over-pronounced. The tannins coat the teeth and gums, very dry and savoury, but just about enough fruit. Quite an extracted style. 84/100

Clos du Chene 2010
A little more mellow in colour and in aroma, with a soft, sappy edge and hint of strawberry. The palate has good fruit – it is lighter, the tannins a little more tender, allowing the fruit and spice to come through. A pleasing drinker. 85/100

Château Lacapelle Cabanac 2011
Interesting herbal and even grassy note, but not underripe and not at all unpleasant. Very nice palate, supple and smooth, the tannins nicely balanced by an honest fruit weight and concentration, and really nice acidity. the finishing impressions is spice and fruit, and appealing it is too. 87/100

Château Haut Monplaisir, Tradition 2010
A touch herbal, almost geranium leaf quality, with an undertone of meatiness. On the palate quite juicy, a good squirt of black fruit, a little bittersweet, with nice juiciness against the dry tannins. I like the balance here. 87/100

Château Quattre 2008
Nicely dark fruited nose, quite plummy and mellow even a little chocolaty. The palate has good juiciness too, quite a lot of meaty tannin and spice, but balance is pretty good and it finishes with a bit of tangy freshness. 85/100

Château Eugenie, Tradition 2009
Softening colour on rim, good core of plummy ripe fruit, fleshy and dry character on the nose. Quite a juicy, vinous palate, the tannins fairly drying, but there is a layered quality to this, with some kirsch like freshness and bite. 87/100

Château St Sernin 2011
Very youthful, very purple/crimson edge. Primary fruit aromas, a touch inky and watercolour paint-boxy, leading onto a dry, inky palate of youthful tannin but nicely sappy/inky dry fruit and a promising, quite long finish. 86/100

Vinovalie-Cave des Cotes d’Olt, Tarani Reserve 2009
More mature colour and aromas, with a touch of caramel even to solid red fruit and a little violetty edge just showing through. The palate has a juiciness and a freshness, a nice core of creamy fruit set against the tannins. Dry but balanced and savoury. 85/100

Vinovalie-Cave des Cotes d’Olt, La Patrie 2011
Black with a little crimson on rim. Solid and attractive aromas, not a lot of the cherry/kirsch brightness of some younger wines here. Very dry palate, quite a lot of inky extraction, but actually some nice fruit comes through: plum and dark cherry skins, plenty of spice, giving a fairly nice, savoury finish overall. 86/100

Domaine le Bout du Lieu 2009
A certain meatiness here, much more on the muscular/solid side aromatically than some, a certain inky quality too. Really nice palate: such solidity to the fruit at the core of this, not without charm with a keen cherry edge to the chocolaty plum and espresso hint. The tannins are big but really ripe, and the acid balance is excellent. Very good. 88/100

Mas des Etoiles, Petite Etoile 2010
Savoury, with a gently herbal, meaty character, but solid colour and solid black fruit in there too. The sweetness of fruit comes through powerfully, another very good wine this, with all the components balanced and a long, chewy, but fresh finish. 88/100

Château du Cèdre, Heritage 2011
Another vibrantly youthful colour, and solid fruit, a touch meaty, a touch earthy, but dense black berry fruit is there. Drying in the mouth, the tannins coating the tongue, lots of sour cherry fruit and acidity, and a pleasingly dark and serious edge to this. 87/100

Château les Croisille, Cuvée Château 2009
Less clear aromatically, a slightly more muddied picture, the palate big and powerfully built: a certain four square character, quite meaty and dense, a big wine built for food. 86-87/100

Cahors Prestige

feisty Domaine la Berangeraie Cuvee Maurin 2009
Seriously inky-black colour. Meaty, intense black fruit, plums and black berries, but dark , dense and spicy. Fleshy sweet fruit is delicious, a big raft of sour cherry and plum skin acidity, but pure and delicious. 89-90/100

Domaine la Berangeraie, La Nuit des Rossignols 2010
Dark and youthful. A lot of toasty new oak here, verging on the mint and vanilla spectrum. Deep black fruit aromas beneath the oak. The palate has that nice sour fruit acidity again, but perhaps not quite the harmony, the tannin/acid/spice finish outweighing the fruit slightly and very dry in the finish. With the percentage of new oak probably more expensive than the first wine, but I am not sure I prefer this (at this stage at least). 89-90/100

Château Combel la Serre, Cœur de Cuvée 2009
A fair amount of new oak character here too, plenty of coffee and charry toast. The fruit is quite plush. The palate has a blue/black intensity to the fruit. The tannins and spice of the oak make the lips tingle, but still there is a concentration to the fruit, and fresh acidity is good. 89/100

Château de Chambert 2010
Oak is a touch resinous, but I quite like the edge of leafiness and perfumed, gamy lift that comes through too in another inky-black wine. Savoury on the palate, plenty of acidity and a lean, sinewy and muscular density to the fruit. Big tannins, seems very young and needs time. 89-90/100

Château Paillas 2009
Opaque, but a tiny warming note on the rim. Big, fleshy and generous stuff on the nose, the black fruit density and substance lovely against nice oak and a hint of Malbec’s floral lift. Deliciously round and generous on the palate too, sweet fruit and spice, rounded by the oak and extended by fresh cherry acidity. 89/100

Château Paillas 2002
Obviously a much older wine with mellow, touching orange on rim. Coffee and soft, mellow fruit, but a touch dank too. The palate has a little faded quality, and I’d like to drink this with some food for sure, but perhaps just lacking a little fruit in this clinical setting. 87/100

Château la Caminade, La Commandery 2009
Solid black/purple colour, glimmer of softening colour on rim. Big liquorice nose, lots of meat stock density and depth. The fruit ripeness is lovely on the palate, with a juicy, lip-smacking quality to the acidity and the cherry and plum-skin bittersweet fruit. Spicy too, the oak subtle but underpinning, in a lovely wine. 89-90/100

Lo Domeni, Vendemia 2011
Very primary, opaque colour. Inky in colour and aroma, a touch of something vegetal, but really about dark, sinewy fruit and concentration. The palate has immense sweetness and a full-bodied, creamy texture. Very ripe, but bittersweet, the tannins and bite of acidity, with an edge of espresso, giving lots of substance and weight into a long, spicy finish. Very ‘international’ in style is the only downside. 89-90/100

Château Plat Faisan, Cuvée de l’Ancetre 2009
Deep and opaque, an earthiness and quite chocolaty mellow character here, but obvious concentration of black fruits touched by a gamy edge that is intriguing. Pure and sweet on the palate, the fruit here is concentrated and focused, the tannins and the freshening edge of good acidity extending the finish. 90/100

Château de Haute-Serre, Lafleur de Haute-Serre 2010
Rich and dark, in the meat-stock aroma side of the Malbec spectrum again, a touch of charcoal, actually very pure fruit here, very focused. Lots of pure concentration of fruit on the palate, a subtle silkiness to the texture and deliciously savoury and sappy on the finish. Lovely style here, bittersweet and grippy, but has elegance too. 90/100

Château de Mercues, Vassal de Mercues 2009
Interesting touch of beetroot and vegetal character here, with dense and inky black fruit, but all tight and a bit ungiving. The palate too is inky and a touch impenetrable: it’s a dense, structured and concentrated wine, very good purity, but perhaps a touch too inky and extracted. 87/100

Château Pech de Jammes, Petit Jammes 2010
Big creamy oak nose, quite meaty and dense too, with blackcurrant and plum, perhaps a sense of something gravelly and mineral in there too. Delicious palate: huge concentration, lovely silkiness to the tannins and a powerful wine yet with the blue/black purity and creaminess of the fruit powering through. 90/100

Château Armandière, Diamant Rouge 2008
Opaque/crimson black. Dense, meaty, a touch animal and earthy, maybe lacks a little light and shade. Lovely fruit purity, a real seam of blue/black ripe but bittersweet fruit, and I like the concentration and balance too. 88/100

Château Armandière, Diamant Rouge 2009
A little glimpse of kirsch and cherry here to lighten the picture – to add highlights – with solid, creamy fruit and nicely handled oak beneath. The palate is vinous and concentrated, with a savoury lick to the plummy fruit and bittersweet, plum-skin character of tannins and acidity. A big wine, the spice and tannins tingling on the lips, but great concentration and quality. 90/100

Château Fantou, Prestige la Bateliere 2009
Very nice quality of oak here. It is prominent, but very polished and classy with a hint of mint and chocolate, but tempered by a matching depth of black fruit. On the palate the roughening edge of the tannins gives a nice ruffling, textured edge to the black fruit, finishing fresh, dry and savoury. 89/100

Domaine de Capelanel, Mythique 2009
Inky-black, glass staining stuff again. Inky nose too – seems to be about the quality of fruit and earthy terroir more than oak, but liquorice and sinewy. The purity and density of fruit is good, a real lip-smacking concentration here: kirsch-like edge of brightness and focus, the big, dry tannins and keen edge of acidity driving through. Big, dry and serious – maybe a touch too extracted? 88/100

Clos Troteligotte, K Or 2009
Intense black fruit, nice purity of blue-black character, a hint of gaminess, and of freshness too. The palate has a fresh, crunchy core of fruit that is quite mineral and vital, the freshness aided by a crisp edge to the tannins and acidity – quite a lean, shimmering quality which is lovely. 92/100

Clos Troteligotte, K Lys 2009
A lot of polished, creamy new oak here, dominating at present, adding choc-mint aspects to dense black fruits. On the palate a hugely deep and impressive core of fruit, really super-ripe and creamy, but very densely structured. The acidity, however, is good, with a cherry-skin edge and a roughening character that gives this savoury appeal. A striking wine and very modern/international in many ways, but there is no disputing the quality. 91-92/100

Château de Gaudou, Grande Lignée 2010
Ripe and vinous, good black fruit but arguably not screaming of terroir or grape. Quite a lot of oak too. Pleasant palate, perhaps a touch dilute in terms of mid-palate fruit, the tannins just dominating the finish, but has the savoury balance to be better with food I suspect. 88/100

Domaine du Prince, Rossignol 2009
Another inky colour and aromatic wine, huge depth of tightly-wound, even ashy black fruit, dense and concentrated. The palate has a lovely sweetness to the fruit, a lovely edge of ripe blackcurrant skins and juicy black plum, really nicely pitched against the creamy oak and the tannin/acid balance. Powerful, deep and muscular. Impressive of its huge style. 90/100

Château de Hauterive, Chemin de Compostelle 2010
Colour shows a little development. Cedary, quite bloody and open, gently oxidative style perhaps. The palate has an inky black-fruited juiciness, black fruit skin tartness, quite dry and mouth-watering, certainly no hint of oxidation, quite racy and keen, with good acidity and a dry tannic savour. 89-90/100

Château de Hauterive, Prestige 2010
Quite gamy and bloody again, a great deal of ripeness evident in the fruit though. Juicy, with a certain creaminess of texture, silky tannins too and a nicely bitter bite on the finish. 89/100

Domaine du Garinet, Reserve 2005
More rustic on the nose, more developed, some soft gamy notes though plenty of lightly smoky, plump red fruit beneath. The palate has a fairly strident tannin still, really nice incisive freshness. Arguably this could have a touch more plushness to the fruit, but it is structured and long, with a juicy clarity in the finish. 88-89/100

Château Lamartine, Cuvée Particulière 2009
A touch of leather and more rustic character her again. A gamy edge, the fruit solid, but not a lot of lift or energy on the nose. Quite firm and juicy, a squirt of lemony acidity and dry tannins just coating the mouth. Needs food for sure, as the savoury appeal is good though it lacks a touch of mid-palate fruit sweetness for me 88/100

Domaine d’Homs, Prestige Noir 2006
First bottle corked, second laden with Brettanomyces. That makes it more austere on the palate than it should be, shortening the finish. Some will say ‘rustic’ maybe even ‘classic’ and perhaps like it a little more than me: it is not undrinkable. 82

Château de Cenac, Prestige 2010
A big, ripe and plush style, with plenty of oak, giving a cereal toastiness and a weight of ripe, creamy black fruit beneath. The palate is dark and extracted, showing plum skin and blueberry fruit, that real damsony darkness, melding into chocolate tannins. Fresh and vital despite the forward appeal and slightly international profile, but an impressive modern Cahors. 89/100

Clos du Chene, Malbec du Clos 2009
A slightly caramel character, just a little more cooked and pruney than I’d ideally like to see. On the palate obvious sweetness to the fruit, with good balance between fruit and tannin, oak and acidity, into a long, spice cupboard finish. 88-89/100

Château Lacapelle, Cabanac Prestige 2008
Cereal nose, quite dry, redcurranty fruit aromas, but perhaps a touch too much oak. Quite chewy tannins, a density of extract and dry, with the fruit edged with dry cranberry and redcurrant too. Nicely fresh, but possibly just a little too dry? 87/100

Château Haut Monplaisir, Prestige 2009
Quite intense, a lean, sinewy but good fruit character, a touch meaty, a bit of Brett, but the black fruit at the core is good. Some fruit sweetness on the palate: cassis and black berries with a dry, mineral-edged acidity and plenty of tannins and toasty oak underpinning. Pity about the Brett. 86/100

Château Quattre 2009
There’s a salty, ozoney freshness on the nose of this that I like, just lifting the wine over cherry and black fruit. The palate has real sweetness on the attack, the fruit ripe, but always edged by those leaner, more charcoally and very dry tannins. Balance is otherwise pretty good, the acidity and spice of the oak are there, and perhaps this will knit together more too. 89/100

Château Eugenie, Cuvée Reservée de l’Aieul 2009
Very attractive on the nose, the buouyant fruit quality peppy and bright, with enough creamy oak and sense of Malbec’s more floral character coming through nicely. A very appealing wine, flooded with sweet fruit across the palate, the tannins very controlled and refined and the long, chocolate and spice-infused finish very easy to like. Call it commercial or even a touch international, but it is unarguably delicious. 90/100

Château Eugenie, Pierre le Grand 2009
Darker, meatier, but still with a good fruit concentration. There’s a coolness and sense of minerality here too that is intriguing. The palate is dry and vinous, a big core of bittersweet plum skin and cherry skin biting freshness and sweetness, very firm tannins giving real grip and a taut, mineral-edged freshness. Serious and structured, more for the long haul. 91/100

Château St Sernin, Prestige 2008
Coffee and meatiness, and also a little more softness to the colour suggests a bit of age. There’s a deal of ripe berry fruit too. The tannins are dry, but there’s a sense of ripeness too, a lot of polish and sweet fruit adding to the creamy oak to give a supple appeal. Balanced, with acidity keeping the edges sharp, and it is quite long 88-89/100

Château les Bouysses 2009
Creamy, cappuccino and charry oak dominates a little, but there seems to be real substance beneath and a depth of black fruit. Coffee on the palate too, the oak is a little overpowering, though I do like the fruit concentration, the fleshy sweetness and the spice. Tannins are dry and forceful, acidity is good. Another Cahors that would be interesting to see in three to five years to see if it integrates more. 87-88/100

Domaine le Bout du Lieu, Orbe Noir 2009
Sweet earth and minerality here, seems to have a sense of place, though there is a meat-stocky overlay of oak (maybe a touch of Brett) but the fruit is ripe. On the palate this has real sweetness, concentrated and meaty, but at the same time edged by very firm, very dry tannin and a big spine of structural acidity. Again, needs time I think. 87-89/100

Clos Triguedina, Petit Clos 2009
A wine seemingly on a slightly smaller scale – the volume turned down a little – with meaty edges to plush and quite elegant red and black fruits. Plush on the palate too, the fruit really sweet and ripe, creamily textured and with a squirt of juiciness too. Big framework of tannin and acid, and a bit of broadening oak, but all nicely done and very nicely balanced. 90/100

Château Pineraie 2010
Very primary purple colour. Plenty of quality oak here, quite dominant but the wine is clearly young. Espresso and charry toast, but the fruit beneath is really pure and vital: damson and blueberry ripeness and dark drama. Massive presence on the palate: intense, ripe, sweet and chocolate smooth and rich, that creamy sweetness sweeps the tannins and acidity before it like a breaking wave into the finish. Modern and plush, which some will fault, but I think it’s a bit special. 91/100

Domaine de Cause, Malbec 2010
Vinous, damsony and ripe, but more restrained in style, this still has plenty of oak and plenty of ripeness. Very dry palate, the big tannins coating the teeth and sides of the mouth, And though not without fruit, the power of the oak and tannins is ascendant at this stage. one to come back to. 88-89/100

Domaine de Cause, La Lande Cavagnac 2010
Meaty and intense wine, a certain floral edged and kirsch-like brightness and immediacy, plenty of espresso oak there too. The big, chewy tannin quality of the palate is deliciously offset by the fruit: the fruit is concentrated and intense, a piercing blue/black quality with good acidity holding up against the tannins and the spice of the oak. A powerhouse, but very good. 89-90/100

Château du Cèdre 2009
Lovely, pure, creaminess of red and black fruits, very expressive and the quality of creamy, soft cappuccino oak is in the background. ‘Chocolaty’ is the word that springs to mind, but then whilst the palate has sweetness, depth and bittersweet richness, there’s an energy and life too, a tang of something vibrant lkike orange to the acidity in a very stylish, dry but supple wine. 91/100

Mas des Etoiles 2010
Very forward, upfront picture of huge cassis ripeness and coffee and chocolate toast to the oak gives this instant kerb appeal. Juicy and very sweet on the palate, there’s a lot of presence and personality here, a lot of intensity that seems a touch one-dimensional, but that might be just an aspect of its youth. Certainly full of character. 89-90/100

Château du Cèdre 2010
Quite a lot of toasty oak, quite a lot of intense, meaty concentration of fruit and a purity too. Tastes very young, the firm tannins spicy and robust, yet ripe and creamy at the same time, the fruit ripe and black but showing a little brightly-focused, violet authenticity. Tannins are powerful but nicely balanced, the whole picture very complete – if youthful. 90-91/100

Château les Croisille, Noble Cuvée 2009
Vinous, with red fruits and a savoury, quite earthy/vegetal aspect, a touch of charcoal and cedar too perhaps. The palate has a delicious creaminess of texture and sweet fruitedness against the polished oak and smooth tannins. Good balance, good acidity. 89/100

Château Tour de Miraval, Malbec Perle Noire 2010
Noticeably pale (comparatively) with a ruby/crimson core. A tiny bit reduced, but mellow coffee oak and quite pretty red and black berry fruit comes through. The palate has a lot of oak, a lot of very ripe fruit and an overall bright and vivacious personality. Juicy acidity and a nice twist of freshness to the fruit makes this lively and gregarious wine easy to drink, despite a slight harshness just casting a touch of doubt. 87-88/100

Château Tour de Miraval, Cahors ‘Femme’ 2010
Another wine that is slightly paler, more ruby than the norm here. Mellow and open, there’s a softness to the nose, a suggestion of mellow fruit and gentle, almost woodlandy notes, though it is not at all dank: just a little bit truffly perhaps. The palate has very nice balance – the tannins are tamed here, seeming dry but also a little softer or more mellow than some, and set against the sweet red fruit, coffee and cream oak and nicely balanced but not aggressive acidity, this is flattering, open and easy to drink, though does have a bit of heat and spice. 89/100

Cahors Speciale

intense The colour of all of these wines is an intense, almost opaque crimson/black. I have noted wines which varied from this.

Domaine la Berangeraie, La Gorgée 2009
Dense and vivid crimson/purple. Beautiful fruit: essence of creamy liquidised cherry and blackcurrant, infused with vanilla and clove. The oak beautifully harmonious. On the palate no disappointment, as a weight of silky, sweet and refined berry fruit matches with dry but fine tannins and elegant acidity. Gorgeous stuff, and showing Malbec’s elegance. 94/100

Château Combel la Serre, Elite 2008
Lovely nose again, the exotic spice of the oak framing pretty creamy red fruit, a hint of something mineral. On the palate a drier tannin structure, big, broad tannins are well managed and ripe, but coat the mouth. Very dry and savoury, but the quality of the fruit is undeniable and this is long and balanced. 92/100

Château de Chambert, Grand Vin 2010
Has an inky character on the nose, a touch of that dry, pastille and watercolour paintbox character, the fruit cherry-like and bright, the spicy oak subtle in the background. On the palate this bursts with juicy, youthful fruit, very nicely pitched against the acidity and tannins. This dries the mouth in the finish, but certainly needs some time and is very nicely balanced indeed. 92/100

Château de Chambert, GC 2010
Beautifully lifted perfume of violet and kirsch cherries, a Sandalwood note of incense and exotic spice from the oak, but beneath another layer of minerals and sweet earth adding complexity. Wonderfully juicy palate, also showing a salty lick of minerality that is beautifully fresh and appealing, the tannins and acidity so nicely and creamily balanced. Striking stuff and elegant. 93/100

Château la Caminade, Esprit 2008
A little bit more of a slightly lactic, less pure fruit character here, perhaps just a touch of oxidation. Second bottle better, cleaner, though there is perhaps a lack of mid-palate fruit and freshness. Dry on the finish. 85/100

Château de Haute-Serre 2009
A little paler in colour and a bright and primary nose of red fruits, but there’s a leathery and gamy note too, a touch of the barnyard suggesting a light bretty character. Chocolate and sweet fruit on the palate is mouth-filling and rich, but the finish just a touch short and showing that slight drying quality. 84/100

Château de Mercues 2009
Very fine fruit, very youthful and dry, red plum and a touch of spice and toast, just a leathery aspect in there too. Strange palate: very sweet, prickling the tongue and dry on the finish. Is this just volatile or refermenting? Not a happy wine (2 bottles opened). 77/100 Château de Mercues, Malbec 6666 2010
The nose has plenty of dry red fruit, cherry and red plum, but also a liquoricy character and touch of dried blood perhaps. Very dry on the palate, the tannins all-encompassing at this stage, quite high acidity too adding to the decisive but dry character. Is there enough fruit? Maybe it needs a little time. 86-87/100

Château Pech de Jammes 2009
Solid and quite meaty, with a slightly baked quality to it, perhaps just the oak lying a little heavy, but not a Malbec in the floral and elegant style. A big core of sweet fruit is plummy and deep, touches of espresso and chocolate too, and though a more burly expression, the balance and the ripeness of the tannins and acidity is good. 90/100

Château Pech de Jammes, Pure Malbec 2009
Very nice, bright, expressive nose, the clarity of the fruit is good and there is a touch of earthy, smoky minerality too. Lots of fruit on the palate, very dense but juicy, just enough vital juicy fruit concentration to stand up to the big tannin framework. Dry, with the acidity and spice of the finish both quite noticeable. 90/100

Château Fantou, L’Elite 2009
A lot of oak here, in the creamy mint and coconut spectrum, but there is a lovely density and quality of ripe Malbec too. A welter-weight of creamy and ripe black fruit on the palate, super suave and supple, the ripe tannins are big and at this stage quite drying, but the balance with the clean acidity and copious spice in the finish is good, the fruit concentrated and pushing through. 92/100

Le Clos D’un Jour, Un Jour Sur Terre 2010
There’s a youthful, inky and dry quality to the fruit here: cherry and plum, but dry and dusty though appealingly fresh. The oak very much in the background compared to the previous wine. Juicy and dry on the palate too, this is gripped by its tannins that coat the side of the mouth, but again it has a vitality and energy that I like and should come round given the purity of the fruit. 90/100

Le Clos D’un Jour, Un Jour 2009
A nice wine with a smoothing layer of creamy oak over ripe, quite plush berry fruit, and a lovely glimpse of the floral character of the Malbec. Absolutely mouth-filling creamy ripeness of fruit on the palate, infused with the vanilla of the oak, but all pushing through purely on the mid-palate before the drying tannins and cherry skin acidity begin to bite. Big and flattering style, a touch ‘international’, but well balanced and long. 91-92/100

Domaine de Capelanel 2009
Quite a dry, fruit forward plum skin and cherry style, with a nice little inky/smoky quality and suggestion of minerality. The palate is a big blast of juicy, vital and sweetly ripe fruit over huge tannins, the bittersweet plum and cherry skin bite of the acidity and fruit is lovely too. It has lots of spice and power, and a touch of heat, but well done. 91/100

Clos Troteligotte, K 2009
Intriguing nose, with a dried blood and smoky/ashy minerality, a refined fruit quality beneath. The oak is there, but it is discreet and also gently smoky rather than charry. On the palate this bursts with life and vitality, that squirt of juicy bittersweet fruit against big, dry tannins and clean acids. A bit of spice in the finish too, in a very stylish wine with real energy. Needs time. 92/100

Château de Gaudou, Renaissance 2010
Nice balance of creamy and spicy oak with ripe fruits, fairly solid and straightforward. A delicious wine, the fat ripeness and sweetness of the fruit powering through, lots of spice and nicely bitter edges of tart plum skins against the sweetness, and good length and balance. Not quite as elegant as some, but a lovely and powerful wine. 91/100

Château de Gaudou, Premium 2012
Intense crimson/purple colour, and very primary nose (is this a barrel sample?), with cherry and lifted violet fruit and that Indian ink and watercolour paintbox dryness. Any oak is in the background. The super sweet-edged fruit and those dry tannins power the palate, but this has lovely potential and balance, the tannins ripe and the acid very nicely judged, oaky spice and creaminess in the finish. 90/100

Château de Gaudou, Reserve Caillau 2009
Fine dried blood and ashy minerals here, very appealing, the fruit ripe and a hint of bloody oxidation which is pleasing. Quite broad and maturing on the palate, that softening edge of oxidative handling gives this some creamy breadth and softens the edges of the drying tannins, but the fruit is still very good and the wine eminently drinkable already. 90-91/100

Domaine du Prince, Lou Prince 2009
Very intense, inky wine, both in colour and aroma, with dark mulberry and plum skins, all very dense and dry, but then the hints of violet and cherry lift and sweetness are there. Delicious palate, suffused with sweet black fruit and creamy oak underpinning, the tannins grippy but not too dryly, and it finishes with the fruit as the main focus. 91/100

Domaine du Garinet, Fût de Chene 2009
Quite a lot of smoky and incense spice oak here, just dominating aromatically over the fruit, a nice hint of earth and charcoal too. Dry and mouth-coating tannins dominate the palate too, though the fruit is juicy, and the vivid plum-skin concentration of the acidity also adds a freshening character in a big, powerful but well balanced wine. 91/100

Château Lamartine, Expression 2010
A beautifully composed nose, the creamy and silky overlay of quality, gently creamy and smoky oak already integrated with the ripe black fruits. Pleasing hints of flowers and kirsch too. The palate is gripped by huge tannins at present, the teeth and sides of the mouth coated instantly, but there is very good fruit, a lovely rasping tartness from the cherry and plum skin quality and a long finish, touched by vanilla and spice. Is it a touch too dry and extracted? 90-92/100

Domaine D’homs Les Chevaliers 2001
Very soft colour. Obvious age on this. A slightly underpowered nose of bloody oxidation and soft, undergrowth qualities to the modest fruit. Difficult to judge a mature wine in the midst of so many youthful examples. Pleasing balance and a nice drink, but just a little lacking in fruit in the finish. 87/100

Château de Cenac, Eulalie 2010
Back to a young, primary wine again, but one perhaps a little too dominated by gravy browning, meat stock oak. Thankfully the sweet ripeness and elegant creaminess of the fruit does come through on the palate, though the big tannins of grape and oak are just a bit too drying. The impression is of dry fruit extract in the finish, though the acidity is good. 88-89/100

Clos du Chene, Peche du Clos 2009
Quite a lot of smoky, toasty oak here, but well integrated with the fruit. Dry in the mouth, there is a nice balance here, the sweet, creamy ripe blackcurrant fruit suffused with vanilla and clove spice, and a pleasing balance of acidity. A more broadly appealing, arguably more commercial style, and very well done. 90/100

Château Lacapelle Cabanac, Malbec Xl 2008
Dark and dramatic both in colour and aroma, with a touch of vegetal quality to earthy and toasty aromas. On the palate this is chocolaty and thick, the intense concentration of the fruit is obvious, and it stands up very well to the onslaught of thick, creamy and dry tannins. Balanced and powerful, and certainly makes a big impression. 91/100

Château Haut Monplaisir, Pur Plaisir 2009
Dry, Bretty edge to the nose, with the palate also showing that shortening effect of the Brett, but it has good fruit beneath. There’s a juiciness here and a pleasing overall character, but it could have been so much better. 85-86/100

Château Quattre, Les Carrals 2009
Another example with the lightly gamy and vegetal character coming through, plenty of smoky oak but a nice sense of earthiness and gravelly, dry concentration and then a ripe blackcurrant asserts. Lovely sweet fruit on the palate, the density and plum flesh ripeness filling the mouth, the tannins big and dry, but ripe and spicy too, the acidity adding a keen cherry edge in one of the bigger wines here, but I have to say, very well done. 92/100

Château Eugenie, Haute Collection 2009
Creamy and smoky, lots of vanilla here and a chocolate richness to the aromas, very ripe and plush. Does a little hint of the floral, violetty elegance just come through? On the palate this has real fruit sweetness and smooth, plush appeal, though big and dry the tannins have a silky quality and the cherry ripe acidity is good. A lovely, rounded and balanced wine on the bigger scale. 91-92/100

Château St Sernin, La Tour 2007
Softening colour suggests some age. Very elegant and discreet, though a touch Bretty too unfortunately. The palate rather dry, and though could work well with some food, just not quite convincing. 84/100

Domaine le Bout Du Lieu, Empyree 2009
Quite primary aromas, with keen and inky black fruit and fruit skins, some charry oak and a touch of cherryish lift. Massively sweet and ripe, chewy black fruit on the palate – a tour de force of concentrated fruit without erring into over-extraction, the big dry tannins not disrupting the plushness, but along with the acidity just giving a nice edge to a big, solid, but delicious picture. 90/100

Clos Triguedina 2009
A touch of gravy browning to the darkly-framed, meaty black fruit. Quite a dense and muscular style, though the palate has very good fruit sweetness and a really juicy appeal, the spicy clove and pepper of the finish against tight, spicy tannins and good acidity not hugely complex, but delivering a good mouthful of honest Cahors. 90-91/100

Clos Triguedina, Au Coin du Bois 2007
Charcoal and schist here, a meaty nose with a lot of char from the oak, but tight and concentrated fruit too. Dark and dramatic. The palate has a lot of creamy and sweet fruit, really quite smooth, juicy and delicious, well up to the tannins and the acidity providing lovely freshness. Big and muscular, but very delicious. 90-91/100

Clos Triguedina, Les Galets 2007
Quite an elegant, violet-touched cherry fruit here, it has concentration and intensity, but there’s a little bright edge that is very pleasing. A minty touch to the oak adds to the plush but creamily vibrant picture. Really creamy and dense on the palate, this is a big wine and a plush one, coating the mouth with sweet, dry fruit and extract, plenty of spice and alcohol, but overall it is very successful – crying out for a steak and modern in style, and well done. 92/100

Clos Triguedina, Petites Cailles 2007
Balanced, fresh, with good fruit and a pleasing lightly earthy and vegetal character that seems to have a bit of maturity. Nicely balanced palate too, perhaps a touch dry arguably, but the balance is good and the freshness of the tannins and acidity leaves it tangy and mouth-watering. 90-91/100

Clos Triguedina, Probus 2009
Back into the creamy, dense more modern spectrum, with very ripe and plush black fruit showing edges of spice and minerals but copious ripeness. The palate is very juicy, lovely fruit quality here, edged with spice and fresh plum skin bittersweet bite, the tannins fresh and dry, but with an energy about them, working nicely with the squirt of juicy acidity. Very pleasing composition. 92/100

Château Pineraie, l’Authentique 2009
Quite meaty, quite a lot of charry oak too, the fruit is there but just a little hint of Malbec’s more expressively fresh side. On the palate it has a juicy freshness, the tart squeeze of lemon and cherry skin acidity and dry tannins in control, but there is good fruit and balance overall. 90-91/100

Domaine de Cause, Notre Dame des Champs 2009
Big, creamy vanilla and mint oak dominates, with smooth black fruit beneath. The palate continues the smooth sweetness and vanilla-coated fruit theme, very dense and sweet, lovely actually, though the dry tannins will have to integrate more. Not hugely subtle, modern but well done. 89/100

Château du Cèdre, Le Cedre 2009
Back to a lovely sense of freshness and cool, Cahors earth here as well as oak and fruit. Indeed that ashy, dry, mineral character is what drives this aromatically. Gorgeous palate, the dry extract of the fruit nicely managed, tannins and acids in proportion but the fresh and juicy energy of the fruit is what drives through into a long spicy and fruity finish. 92/100

Château du Cèdre, Le Cedre 2010
Similar nose, perhaps a little more vegetal character, with a similar sense of freshness too. On the palate the sweetness of the fruit bursts through more, with a really nice touch of creaminess and ripeness, the dryness of the tannins is there, but a balanced picture, the acidity and the fruit giving a fresh appeal. Very nice wine this, on the leaner more elegant style. 92/100

Château du Cèdre, GC 2010
Lovely concentration of pure Malbec fruit here: silky and intense black fruit aromas, just supported – not dominated – by creamy oak and with a sense of minerality in the background. Really juicy and fresh on the palate, the youthful tannins coat the mouth, but against that there is real sweetness to the fruit and a sense of purity and purpose – it comes to as very fine point in the finish. 94/100

Château les Croisille, Divin 2009
Very intense colour and a beautifully fresh and pure fruit expression on the nose. Distilled essence of Malbec, blue-black and pure and the spice and gentle vanilla of the oak in the background. Very fine on the palate too, that sense of purity is undoubtedly what drives this wine, the creamy sweetness and freshness wins out over the tannins and fresh, cherry acidity. What a lovely expression of Malbec. 92/100

Mas des Etoiles, Une Etoile Est Nee 2009
A little raw note of charry oak, but it is well in the background and the fruit character and sense of charcoal and earthy character is good. Quite a big, juicy wine on the palate, this has mouth-coating extract, but the fruit is definitely there and has a sweetness and fleshy density. Big, the componentns perhaps needing more time to fuse, but another fine example of serious, modern Cahors. 92/100

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