For more information on Waterkloof from South Africa’s Western Cape visit waterkloofwines.co.za.
With an appreciation for tradition, winemakers in Cahors also seek to modernize Malbec for a new generation of wine lovers. Today the new trend is to produce a rosé of Malbec.
The past few years have seen a surge in the popularity of rosé wines in the United States, particularly rosé from France. Though it is still difficult to find Cahors rosé in US stores and restaurants, you’ll definitely want to look for it if you have the opportunity to travel to the region.
Malbec is an extremely versatile grape for rosé. The wine can span a variety of colors and styles – from salmon pink to bright magenta, light and fruity like the rosés of Provence to bursting with ripe red berries like a light bodied Gamay or Pinot Noir.
Here is your go-to guide on Cahors Malbec.
For a taste that will make you fall in love with Cahors Malbec try wines from these domaines and châteaux.
The wines from each estate are generally listed beginning with entry level (easy to drink, less oak and aging, lower price point) to top of the line (excellent quality, complex, cellar-worthy, higher price point). Vine age is the average age.
Scroll down to the bottom for a map of the wineries.
Château du Cèdre
Owned by brothers Pascal and Jean-Marc Verhaeghe who took over the vineyard from their father in 1987, Château du Cèdre produces exceptional Malbec in Vire-sur-Lot. For that “aha! moment” – when you take a sip and understand what makes Cahors Malbec so special and delicious – try the 2011 Le Cedre. In 2003 the Verhaeghe brothers transitioned to organic farming and were awarded official certification in 2009.
Location and soil: Third terrace; clay and limestone soils.
Wines to try:
Cèdre Heritage 2011
100% Malbec from 30 year-old vines, 18 months on the lees in tanks.
Château du Cèdre 2011
90% Malbec, 5% Merlot, 5% Tanat from 30 year-old vines. 22 months in oak barrels: 1/3 new, 1/3 one year-old, 1/3 two years old.
Le Cèdre 2011
100% Malbec from 40 year-old vines. Hand harvested. 24 months in barrel, 80% new.
100% Malbec from 55 year-old vines. Hand harvested. Fermentation and 27 months aging in new oak barrels.
When you arrive for a visit at Clos Triguedina, one of the first things you will likely say is “I would like to taste something.” It is a sentiment that has been expressed there countless times over many centuries.
Cahors and Clos Triguedina are located along the Pilgrimage Route of Santiago de Compostela. In the Middle Ages, pilgrims would find a welcoming place for food and rest at the estate in Vire-sur-Lot. In the Occitan language they would say, “I am longing to dine” – “me trigo de dina.”
The summer of rosé is in full swing! It’s an international love affair, with rosé wine being made around the world from a variety of different grapes.
Try one of these AG picks tonight:
From CVNE (pronounced Coo-nay), a family owned and operated winery founded in 1879 in Haro, Rioja, this dry rosé is 100% Tempranillo. Produced using the saignée or bleeding method, the juice was removed from the grape skins and seeds after around 24 to 48 hours, resulting in a magenta-pink color. Floral aromas introduce flavors of strawberry, tart cherry and red currant.
$14, 14% alcohol by volume
Established in 1973, Herdade do Esporão is a family-owned estate and winery that takes its name from the tower on the property that is thought to have been built between 1457 and 1490. This rosé is a blend of Aragonez and Syrah. The grapes underwent pneumatic pressing after a short period of skin contact. Bright pink in color with berry aromas, the wine has flavors of raspberry, cherry and Victoria plum, with a hint of mint on the refreshing finish.
$15, 13.5% alcohol by volume
This wine comes from Lieb Cellars, founded in 1992 on Long Island’s North Fork. Lieb was the first winery on Long Island to plant Pinot Blanc, which has become their signature wine and makes up part of the blend in the Bridge Lane rosé. The 2013 wine is 63% Cabernet Franc, 21% Merlot, 8% Pinot Blanc, 5% Riesling and 3% Gewurztraminer. Light and easy to drink with a pretty pale pink color, the wine has flavors of wild strawberry, raspberry and rose petal.
$18, 11.9% alcohol by volume
The grapes for this wine from the noted French winemaker come from hilly vineyards near Salon de Provence, an area influenced by the nearby Mediterranean Sea. It is a blend of 67% Syrah and 33% Mourvedre, and was made using the saignée method. Salmon-pink in color, the aromatic wine will transport you to the South of France. Flavors of ripe strawberry, red cherry and rose are layered with subtle fennel and white pepper notes.
$14, 12.5% alcohol by volume
Bought in 1890 by Aurélien Houchart, the 90 hectare estate near Aix-en-Provence and the foot of Mont Sainte Victoire has been consistently farmed since Roman times. Today it is owned by the Quiot Family and run by Geneviève Quiot, Aurélien’s great granddaughter. This Côtes de Provence rosé is a blend of Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. This crowd-pleaser is pale peachy-pink in color, with delicate flavors of strawberry, loganberry and watermelon that culminate in a crisp finish.
$11, 12% alcohol by volume
By Maxine Howard
Two years after a grand tasting of Provençal rosés prompted me to write “Rethink Rosé,” apparently many Americans have done just that. In 2013, U.S. imports of rosé wines from Provence increased by 40% over the previous year. Not only are we drinking more rosés from France, but we are also discovering new rosés by a number of California winemakers in the Provençal style using grapes traditionally blended by the French vintners.
And why wouldn’t we relish drinking these wines? They grab your attention with their gorgeous color, ranging from pale pink to salmon blush; they tantalize with aromas of flowers and tropical fruits; and they quench a summer thirst with their dry yet flavorful taste and a hint of minerality.
In their return to San Francisco for another tour in March, the Vins de Provence reinforced their stature as serious purveyors of rosé wines in the fragrant yet lean style. Twenty-one producers sampled their wines, showing a range of styles and flavors. Some of the differences reflected varying combinations of the traditional grapes use in Provence rosé: Grenach, Cinsault, Syrah, Mourvedre, Tibouren, Carignan and Cabernet Sauvignon. Other differences resulted from the varying soil and climate conditions. And the final differences came from the sensibilities of the individual winemakers.
Here are some favorites from the tasting:
Chateau de Pampelonne Rosé 2012
This wine from Les Maîtres Vignerons de Saint Tropez in Gassin is a blend of Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault, Carignan, Tibouren and Mourvedre. The grapes grow in sandy soil on the St. Tropez peninsula next to the beaches. They are harvested early in the morning while they are still cool. They are macerated for just two hours before being pressed, and remain on sediment for two months.
The wine is pale pink and has floral aromas. The taste is well balanced with hints of tropical and citrus fruit and has a pleasant minerality on the finish. It would go well with fish and simple chicken dishes. But would taste just fine sipped by itself on the deck watching the sun go down. $19.99
Première de Figuière Rosé 2013
Saint André de Figuière is a family-run producer located in La Londe-les-Maures. It is between the Mediterranean Sea and the hills of Provence. Beneath the top soil the ground consists of mica and schist, which the winemaker describes as fragile yet capable of producing wines with finesse. This rosé is composed of 50% Mourvedre, 30% Cinsault and 20% Grenache. That is a stark contrast with most of the area rosés in which Grenache predominates. Each variety is harvested and vinified separately before being blended.
This wine has a bit more blush than the Chateau de Pamplonne that I would describe as a pale salmon. The bouquet has more citrus than floral notes. On the palate one tastes peach and citrus as well as a little earthiness from the Mourvedre. The overall impression is of an extremely well-balanced, delicious wine. Because it is a little heartier, it should stand up well to seafood and fowl dishes.
Another wine I enjoyed at the tasting was Quat’ Saisons 2013 from Chateau La Mascaronne in Le Luc. Unfortunately, the winery did not have an importer at the time of the tasting. But the fascinating thing about the owner, an American from Indiana, is that he formerly owned and produced wine at the property now owned by Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. Readers will remember the Amateur Gastronomer’s review of Brad and Angelina’s Miraval Côtes de Provence Rosé last summer. Apparently, the couple were flying over the Miraval estate in a helicopter and were stunned by its beauty. They made a generous offer to buy, and the proprietor had to agree. Already owning a second property, he moved all of his wine-making operations to Chateau La Mascaronne and has continued producing wines under its label.
The rosé is a blend of Cinsault and Grenache. It has a wonderful floral aroma and controlled fruits with both a touch of citrus and a pleasant minerality on the finish. Robert Parker gave the 2012 a 91-point rating. The suggested retail price is $22. Let’s hope it finds an importer soon.
The hottest rosé to get your hands on this summer is the Miraval Côtes du Provence Rosé. Made by Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt in partnership with the Perrin family, the first cases to arrive in the United States sold out right away.
Here are the AG’s tasting notes:
Location: Château Miraval extends over 500 hectares in the Côtes du Provence appellation. The Château is located in the town of Correns, north of Brignoles in southern France. Grapes for the rosé came from the organically-farmed Chateau and a selection of neighboring vineyards.
Grapes: The 2012 wine is a blend of Cinsault, Grenache, Syrah and Rolle. The grapes were hand picked and hand sorted. Five percent of the wine spent time in barrels with batonnage (stirring of the lees).
Appearance: Starting with the shapely bottle and minimal labeling, this is an eye-catching wine. You can’t help but be attracted to the color of the rosé: a lovely pale pink.
Nose: The Miraval Rosé has subtle aromas of pink grapefruit, white raspberry and rose. It’s not as aromatic as other rosé wines recently tasted by the AG.
Taste: Dry and elegant, the wine has flavors of raspberry, wild strawberry, grapefruit and lemon. Light in body with gentle mineral notes and a crisp finish, this is a rosé for white wine drinkers. There was a little heat on the finish (the wine is 13% alcohol by volume), which faded over time in the glass.
Verdict: This is a very nice rosé from Provence but take away the celebrity and it would be priced more in the $17 to $19 range. The Miraval Rosé won’t likely become your every day sipping rosé, but at $30 a bottle it’s fun to taste and well worth trying it for yourself.
Want more Miraval? A white wine from Château Miraval is expected to be released this fall, and a red wine is coming in spring 2014.
The French know how to do rosé right. And some of the best rosé can be found in Provence, in the south of France.
That’s where Mas de la Dame is, in a commune called Les Baux-de-Provence. It’s a gorgeous area in a beautiful part of Provence, best known for ruins of a fortified castle that overlook the vineyards and olive groves below.
Owned by sisters Anne Poniatowski and Caroline Missoffe, Mas de la Dame has 140 acres of vineyards at the foot of the medieval village of Les Baux. Farming is done organically, and the grapes are harvested by hand. Jean-Luc Colombo is the consulting winemaker.
It’s hard to imagine a more perfect setting for enjoying rosé than sitting outside with a chilled glass during the summer in Provence. But with a glass of the Mas de la Dame Rosé du Mas 2012, you can nearly recreate the experience at your own home.
The wine is a blend of 50% Grenache, 30% Syrah and 20% Cinsault. The grape juice spent 4 to 8 hours with the skins to get its pale peachy-pink color.
The Rosé du Mas opens with aromas of fresh berries and rose. On the palate are delicate flavors of ripe raspberry, wild strawberry and peach, with subtle fresh mint notes. The finish is clean and refreshing.
This is a rosé to make even the most skeptical wine drinker a rosé fan.
Enjoy the Mas de la Dame Rosé du Mas outdoors on a warm and sunny day with lunch or as an aperitif. It pairs well with salads, light pasta dishes, grilled pork, barbecue or fish. Serve the Rosé du Mas chilled.
$14, 12.85% alcohol
By Robin Alix Austin
How do you make a centuries-old fortified wine new again? You mix it up!
Introducing Croft Pink Porto, a port that, in addition to being the world’s first rosé port, was crafted to be mixed.
While the idea of mixing port in cocktails may make port purists clutch their pérolas (that’s pearls in Portuguese), Robert hopes that Croft Pink will get Millennials to see the Portuguese fortified wine in a new way.
“We want to break the tradition of port being the after dinner drink with the armchair.”
Croft Pink also serves as an introduction to the many styles of port. From port cocktails it’s not too far of a jump to ruby, tawny, vintage port and beyond.
Just as with rosé wine, Croft Pink gets its pink color from the grape juice’s short exposure to grape skins – 12 hours to be precise. From there it undergoes a seven day cold fermentation which preserves the fresh fruit flavors. A neutral grape spirit is added, and the fortified wine spends one year in casks. Croft Pink is 19.5% alcohol by volume.
Croft Pink is sweeter than most port because it is intended to be diluted. On its own, Croft Pink has cherry, strawberry and raspberry flavors. When you add club soda, lemon and ice, it becomes the perfect summer drink.
Croft Pink is delicious with a seemingly unlimited combination of alcoholic and nonalcoholic mixers. Try one of the cocktail recipes below, or create your own and share it on Croft Pink’s Facebook page.
The Fladgate Partnership includes Croft, Taylor Fladgate and Fonseca.
1 part Croft Pink
1 part soda water
Fill a highball glass with ice and add Croft Pink and soda water. Squeeze the lemon wedge into the glass and stir. Garnish with a slice of lemon.
Bubbles and Pink
3 oz. chilled Croft Pink
4 oz. Champagne or Prosecco
½ oz. Cointreau
2 dashes of bitters
lemon twist for garnish
Pour all the ingredients into a Champagne flute. Stir gently and add lemon twist garnish.
24 oz. Croft Pink
3 oz. amber rum
6 oz. fresh orange juice
3 oz. fresh lemon juice
1½ oz. simple syrup
Combine ingredients into a pitcher and stir. Serve over ice and garnish with slices of apples, oranges, lemon or other seasonal fruits.
2 oz. Croft Pink
1 oz. Gin
2 dashes orange bitters
3 oz. ginger beer
mint sprig and seasonal fruit for garnish
Fill a highball glass with ice and add the ingredients. Stir briefly and add garnishes.
Visit www.croftpink.com for more cocktail recipes.
By Robin Alix Austin
It is impossible to meet Brian Marcy and Clare Carver and not fall in love with Big Table Farm. The winemaker/artist team produces outstanding wines from their 70 acre farm in Oregon’s Willamette Valley.
The name comes from a desire to provide a gracious and welcoming table for enjoying handcrafted wine and food with friends. On the farm Brian and Clare have chickens, pigs and cows, in addition to a large garden. They are in the multi-year process of planting a vineyard; Big Farm Table’s current releases are made with grapes purchased from other growers.
I first tasted Big Table Farm’s wines at last year’s High Museum Wine Auction. Their Pinot Noir and Syrah were among my favorite wines at the trade tasting. At this year’s High Museum Wine Auction, Big Table Farm’s wines were of the same high quality.
What initially attracted me to Big Table Farm’s wine is the whimsical label art. Clare draws these images, inspired by life on their farm. The artistry continues inside the bottle, with Brian’s finesse.
The chanterelle label is Big Table Farm’s 2010 Riesling, made with grapes from Brooks Estate Vineyard. The wine is barrel-fermented in neutral oak and left on the lees for 10 months. This is a dry Riesling, with notes of white flowers, lemon and almond that are balanced with fresh acidity.
The wine with grass on the label is the 2010 Pinot Gris from Wirtz Vineyard. What makes this white wine interesting beyond its taste is its pale orange color. Similar to how red wine is made, the skin was left on the grapes for a short time as they were fermenting. In addition to the color, the skin adds a touch of tannin to the wine. Notes of orange peel, raspberry, watermelon and spice make this a fun wine to sip.
Pigs and a steer are the images for Big Table Farm’s two Pinot Noirs. Don and Roger (the pigs) are on the label for the 2010 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir. Ronnie the steer is on the 2010 Resonance Vineyard Pinot Noir. It’s Ronnie’s second time appearing on a label; as a calf he was pictured on the 2009 Resonance Vineyard Pinot Noir.
Last year I wrote of the 2009 Pinot Noir, “[this is] Oregon Pinot at its finest . . . a must-taste for Pinot Noir fans.” I feel just as strongly about the 2010 Pinots. The Willamette Valley Pinot Noir is fresh and juicy with flavors of cherry, raspberry, cola and spice. The Resonance Vineyard Pinot Noir spent 10 months aging on the lees in 30% new French oak, which adds layers of vanilla, licorice and brown sugar to the ripe berry palate.
As with all of Big Table Farm’s wines, these Pinots are unfined and unfiltered.
Big Table Farm’s wine with the flatware artwork is the 2009 White Hawk Vineyard Syrah. This wine spent 22 months in 30% new French oak. Elegant and rich, the Syrah has flavors of blackberry, boysenberry, black pepper and cinnamon, with a long, satisfying finish.
From their table to yours, Big Table Farm’s wines are a real pleasure to drink.
For more information on Big Table Farm visit bigtablefarm.com.
This is part of a series of articles on wines from the High Museum Atlanta Wine Auction. Click here to read more.