(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) Twenty months in all new oak, harvested at only 15hl/ha and given 60 days of cold soaking pre-ferment. Wonderfully fresh and vital - quite reminiscent of top Argentine Malbec in style (think Achaval Ferrer, Finca Sophenia), hugely creamy, dense and sweet. Deliciously creamy and sensory stuff from vines grafted onto original pre-Phyloxerra roots of ancient Malbec.
(2013) 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.
(2013) 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).
(2013) 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.
(2013) 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.
(2013) 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.
(2013) 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?