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15 June 2012

Southwest: Château Lacapelle Cabanac, Cahors

Updated Jan 2013 (see below).

Okay, so Cahors isn't terribly Mediterranean (nor is the Rhone Valley, actually, but I have to put them on one blog or the other and at least there they have grape varieties in common with the rest of the Med-side south) and is distinctly "south-west" (varieties/climate indicative of or indigenous to the Bordeaux region and down/inland from that Atlantic-side corner of France). But I was pre-empting a just-been-made decision to broaden this blog's scope to a wider southern chunk of France (and eventually France overall possibly) by including this new winery profile on this site.
Anyway, after that essentially irrelevant intro paragraph, I rather like Cahors and its Malbec based red wines; and I came across Château Lacapelle-Cabanac at this year's Millésime Bio organic wine show going back a few months. Owner-growers Philippe Vérax and Thierry Simon have been doing it organically since 2005, and their handsome 20 ha (50 acre) property is found in a microscopic village that shares the same name to the west of Cahors town. Their address is simply "le Château, Lacapelle-Cabanac..." Like that, shouldn't be too hard to find then. Their vineyards are planted on this area's distinctive chalky scrubland at 300 metres altitude (nearly 1000 feet), where there's also a bit of Merlot. More @ www.lacapelle-cabanac.com, where you'll find distributors in Europe, North America and Australia even.

2010 Tradition Cahors (80-20 Malbec-Merlot) - a touch reduced/baked on the nose, 'inky' and concentrated with meaty vs dark fruit combo, nice rounded tannins with rich vs crunchy vs peppery finish. Good in the end. €6.45 cellar door.
2007 Prestige Cahors (90-10 Malbec-Merlot, 14-18 months oak ageing) - toasty coconut notes and grainy texture, more concentrated though with grippy still structured mouth-feel vs developing savoury edges. Good+ €8.85.
2007 'Malbec XL' Cahors (100% Malbec, 2 years in oak) - showing lots of smoky bacon oak, rich extracted and concentrated palate; still surprisingly young and closed up, good but is that oak ever going to fully melt in? €13

I caught up with Philippe on a late autumn 2012 wine touring trip around the heart of Malbec country itself, at the 'Cahors Malbec Lounge', a groovy wine bar cum office for the producers' association in the town centre... Follow this links for tasters of my three-part report:
Cahors: Malbec roadtrip part 1 Château Les Croisille - Château Combel La Serre - Château Tour de Miraval (contains links to these posts):
Cahors: Malbec roadtrip part 2 - Châteaux du Cayrou, Famaey, Métairie Grande du Théron, Latuc.
Cahors: Malbec roadtrip part 3 - Châteaux Haute-Serre, La Caminade, Armandière...

Anyway, I (re)sampled these vintages of his three reds:
2011 Cahors (12.5%) - aromatic and crunchy red fruits, fresh and firm palate with nice elegant fruit, lighter style this vintage.
2007 Prestige - coconut overtones, rich and extracted, concentrated though with powerful grippy mouth-feel layered with maturing dark vs herby fruit; the oak has melted in a little, long firm finish.
2009 Malbec XL - dense dark colour, pretty coconut oaky vs rich ripe plum fruit with spicy herb edges, powerful and extracted with gripping structured palate, young and not very revealing; too much new oak though, he does like to extract! Try it again in a year or two... €14

Cahors: special wine touring report now updated
November 2015
You can get my special Cahors wine touring supplement as a PDF file, featuring all three parts of my Malbec roadtrip trilogy posted on French Mediterranean Wine earlier this year, plus bonus winery profiles from this exciting region of south-west France AND new profiles and notes on ten organic estates including Lacapelle-Cabanac's latest (added Nov. 2015). Yours condensed into a neat 20 page mini-mag PDF with photos delivered by email for just £3 (about $4.50 or €4.20) - this report isn't available on the site. Click on the title link above to find that PayPal button!

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