Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Classy young Cahors - not for the faint-hearted!

These are my tasting notes on a couple of top-notch young Cahors reds that I have been enjoying over the past couple of evenings - and I have just added them to the Leon Stolarski Fine Wines online shop. Some of you may remember that I have featured the wines of this grower on my list before. They were pretty decent then, but these new vintages are absolute crackers.

The colour of this wine is something to behold - an opaque, yet vivid purple, with a barely 2mm rim. The nose is packed with aromas of bramble, stewed plum, citrus, cedar and leather, with a hint of meaty/herby savouriness. The palate is full-bodied, young and vibrant, yet beautifully poised and fresh, with plenty of acidity to match the ripe fruit and grippy tannins. I guess the faint of heart might want to give this 2 or 3 years in the cellar to let the tannins soften a little, but I was quite happy to drink it now - with food, of course. I just happened to pair it with a grilled pork chop, but it would be ideal with a medium-rare steak, Toulouse sausages, or a hearty winter stew. £10.75.

It isn't quite black, but it is almost blue! As dark as the Tradition, if not a little more so. It has pungent aromas of bramble, black cherry and plum, with all sorts of spice, tobacco and kirsch notes and a strong whiff of freshly-baked bread. And despite the colour (which is a bit daunting!) this is certainly no highly-extracted brute - rather, it is beautifully balanced, supple and not without elegance, even at this early stage. Yes, there are tannins in abundance, but they are wonderfully ripe and velvety, and once again the acidity is ample. The fruit is very ripe, but nicely extracted, whilst the judicious oak-ageing keeps it all together. It really is a lovely wine, which doesn't bore you after a single glass. Another wine which can be drunk now, with pleasure (and of course with food) or aged for a further 5 to 8 years. Superb stuff. £13.99.


AlanM said...

We opened a bottle of the 2005 HM the other day and it was delicious, still with time on its side but really opened up compared with the last bottle which I tried a year ago. I love Cahors but getting the timing right is a real art

Gabriel said...

Leon, these sound very nice indeed. How do they compare with the Garinets?

Leon Stolarski said...

Alan - I remember that 2005 being rather good, but the 2 wines above are even better. Dare I say that Haut-Monplaisir *had* a slight tendency towards the more modern style. The tannins in these newer wines still have the benefit of micro-oxygenation, of course, but they are definitely more traditional in style as a whole. The best of both worlds, I guess. For altogether more mature wines, you could do worse than try the Garinet wines that Gabriel mentions (see my SW France reds section).

Gabriel - see above(!) I'd say the Haut-Monplaisir wines are a little bigger and more robust, but still very enjoyable - just different.

Leon Stolarski said...

Incidentally, TLD and I are drinking the rest of the Haut-Monplaisir Tradition 2008 tonight. Unsurprisingly, it has toughened/closed-up a bit, 24 hours after opening, but not at all oxidised. Clearly it is a wine to either drink now (but to finish on day 1) or to tuck away for 3-5 years.