(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) 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
(2013) 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.
(2013) 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.
(2013) 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.
(2013) 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.
(2013) 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.
(2013) 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.