(2018) From winemaker Hervé Fabré, who has spent decades making Malbec in Argentina before buying this estate in Cahors, in his French homeland. It's a wine that has soaked up its oak barrel-ageing effortlessly, the nose dominated by blueberry and cassis, a dark black plum edge, and lovely notes of Malbec's more floral and feminine side too, elegant, peppery and gently lifted. Like its little brother, the Mission de Picpus, the super-fruity, peachy edge to the palate is delightful, here set against much more substantial tannins, darker, more savoury fruit, and good acid structure, suggesting this will age well for a decade or more.
(2018) It's an interesting 'back to his roots' story for French winemaker Hervé Fabre, synonymous with Malbec from Argentina where has made wine for over 30 years, including his well-known Viñalba label. He has recently taken over an estate in Cahors, the European home of Malbec, and the first two wines from it are now being stocked by the retailer Roberson, an excellent Cahors destined to age labeled Prieuré De Cénac, and this more approachable wine that retails for £5 less. It's a wine that expresses that lovely Malbec 'lift' very well, violet, cassis and even some fragrant peach notes, before a palate that carries through some of that peach juice-edged character in the crisp black fruit, grippy, but fine Cahors tannins and juicy and fresh acidity. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas. On offer at £11.99 at time of review.
(2014) Fruit comes from Vigoroux's own vineyards in Châteaux de Haute-Serre and Mercuès, the vines between 27 and 35 years of age. Haute-Serre sits on a plateau above the Lot Valley floor, with plentiful sun exposure. It has a rock-strewn surface with two feet of red clay and iron concretions over limestone and patches of blue clay. Mercuès is on the third terrace of the Lot, with sandy-clay soils which are poor and have excellent drainage. Lovely colour, very dense and flowing, bright violet/crimson. Very fine nose after 18 months in 50% new, 50% one-year old French oak barrels. Really nice aromatics, creamy and rounded but there's a herbal spice and leafiness, a touch of floral. On the palate the tannins are grippier and tighter than the Argentinean tannins, but it has a savoury, earthy character as well as the very sweet and ripe fruit. Delicious hints of violet and tight kirsch flavours, the purity of the fruit is excellent and it still has structure and acidity at its core.
(2013) Germain Croisille joined the family domaine in 2008 having completed his viticultural studies. He met Pascal Verhaeghe of Château du Cèdre whom he cites as a big influence, he has been farming organically since 2010 and has introduced strict green harvesting as well as other quality initiatives. Since 2008 this cuvée has been made 'grain par grain' - literally picking the fruit grape by grape. A lovely, top selection with great mid-palate sweetness and a very silky texture that positively caresses the palate. Delicious.
(2013) 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.
(2013) 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.
(2013) 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
(2013) 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.
(2013) 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.
(2013) 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.