By Francois Guilloux
Malbec, The Grape
When you think Malbec, most of us think of Argentina, which produces probably today close to 70% of the Malbec wines in the world. However, the origins of the grape Malbec are found in the beautiful Cahors region of France, and go all the way back to middle ages when it was called “black wine.” As you pour yourself a glass of Domaine de Cause Malbec, it will only take you a second to visualize the dense, dark color and understand why people called it that back in the day. Goodness, it is splendid in your mouth: bold, rich, dry, powerful fruits with an exceptional potential for aging!
Domaine de Cause, The Vineyard
During my trip to France last year, I fell in love with all of it: the French Malbec grape, the Cahors region and its charming and undiscovered villages, and with the lovely couple Serge and Martine Costes. They are 4th generation wine growers of the Domaine of Cause Lalande Cavagnac in the village of Soturac. In this little corner of quaint paradise, you can find old stone houses running along the little path used by Christians for centuries for their Saint Jacques de Compostel pilgrimage. This path runs right past the beautiful Costes family home, which sits on the edge of their 30-acre vineyard full of 100-year-old vines planted and nurtured as a legacy by their family ancestors.
Serge & Martine, The Winemakers
After spending a few hours with Serge, the wine maker, showing me the terroir of their land, I saw the uniqueness of its location, his passion and care for every vine and his deep sense of gratitude and responsibility to continue the legacy he had in his hands! I was amazed at his attention to detail on each vine. The way they were trimmed every week, the rearrangement by hand of the leaves to help the sun reach the grape clusters, and the organic operation they respect to the fullest. The result is a spectacular climax of dense dark fruits, licorice and small hints of spice, released by old soul grapes. Solid and consistent ratings of 92 – 93 points every year for the past decade, culminating in 2012, with the award of the second best wine in the world by Wine Enthusiast!
When Serge and his wife invited me to stay for dinner, I thought why not? It can’t get better than drinking this superb wine at the home of the winemaker right in the middle of his vineyard! I didn’t have a clue that the best was yet to come. As I sat around the table, I almost fell off my seat when Serge lined up a vertical tasting of all Domaine de Cause wines produced since 2009. Then his wife, Martine, brought to the table my favorite dish, confit de canard avec pommes de terre sautees. I just couldn’t believe what was about to happen, a feast for the palate, a straight dive into history of this fabulous terroir and a unique opportunity to evaluate the aging potential of this wine. Wow! It was a magical moment. And to this day, it is probably one of my favorite memories around wine, period. Serge told me about each wine, from each year, describing the impacts of the climate of each year, the risks he had to overcome to produce each drop of juice. I am not sure at what time we decided to end the evening, but as I stood in the doorway with a last glance at the table full of the evidence of this unforgettable evening, Serge and Martine hugged me warmly and we all knew a very special friendship had just been made.
Domaine de Cause Lalande Cavagnac, The Wine
Domaine de Cause Lalande Cavagnac is a 100% Malbec. This is for very dry, red wine lovers who want to taste tradition, culture and be overtaken by a strong density of dark fruits and hints of vanilla on the exhale. A wine to appreciate with a great meal that combines high fat meats and low acidity. And if you are capable of resisting for a little while, I confirm after my vertical tasting that another 5–10 years on this wine will produce amazing depth and new fruit notes that will be worth the wait. Chapeau, Serge et Martine!
Francois Guilloux is co-owner of Little Rock-based Vino Distribution. For more information about this wine (and many others), including pre-orders at your favorite liquor store, click here.