Brett happens

All wine, most of the time

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I’ve always had a soft spot for traditionally styled Cahors. There’s something about the dark, wild flavours, innate terseness and mix of rough and smooth that speaks to me. It also helps that they’re natural partners for some of my favourite eats: the traditional dishes of southwest France. And it’s with food that I tend to open them; like equally terse, traditionally styled Chianti Classicos, they show better at table than at tastings.

Cahors 2005, Clos de Gamot ($22.05, 00913418)
100% old-vine Malbec. Blackberry, raspberry, wet earth, minerals, fresh leaves or herbs on the nose, flavours more black cherryish. Medium-bodied and fluid. Round on the attack. Acid and tannins kick in on mid-palate. Tannic astringency dominates the finish. At this stage, an odd combination of suave and rustic. Will probably smooth out with a year or two more in the bottle.

Cahors 2004, Clos Triguedina ($22.65, 00746412)
About 3/4 Malbec with a little Merlot and less Tannat. Nose similar to the Gamot’s, though a bit plummier. Smoother and silkier until the tannins coat your teeth with a velvet astringency. If you can get past that, there’s sweet fruit at the core. The finish is more felt than tasted, though hints of port, leather and tobacco linger. A more structured but only slightly deeper wine. For depth and every other dimension, seek out the estate’s splendid Prince Probus bottling.

Let what you’re serving determine whether to open them now or wait a couple more years: now with duck confit, cassoulet and similar dishes that stand up to the tannins and embrace the young fruit; later with grilled or roasted beef or duck, braised hare and other stews.

The Mo’ Wine Group’s and my first encounter with Michel Gendrier’s Le Pressoir was in February, when it was part of a red Cheverny flight. I’d chosen the wine for the tasting because I’d recognized Gendrier’s name: he’s the owner of biodynamically farmed Domaine des Huards, two of whose whites – the Sauvignon-dominated Cheverny blanc and, especially, the 100% Romorantin Cour-Cheverny – have long been among my automatic buys (until the SAQ inexplicably stopped carrying the Cour-Cheverny, that is).

The 2006 Le Pressoir, an 80–20 blend of Pinot Noir and Gamay, was an instant hit with the group, which immediately began scouring the city and, eventually, the province in search of the dwindling number of bottles. One MWG member served it to a friend who has a small négociant operation; the friend spent the next day tracking down a couple of cases to pour at his upcoming wedding. The 2008 showed up on the SAQ’s shelves last summer, but a few weeks ago, another member found a small stash of the 2006 in Sherbrooke, one bottle of which he was kind enough to offer me (I long ago exhausted my store). And last weekend, yet another friend popped the cork on the 2008 to go with Thanksgiving turkey.

Cheverny 2006, Le Pressoir, Michel Gendrier ($20.65, NLA)
Funky nose becoming red-berried with spicy notes as it breathed. Surprisingly fruity on the palate but in no way heavy. Medium-bodied. Structured as much by acidity as tannins. There’s a ripe sweetness to the fruit and no hint of greenness, though a stemmy/sappy streak, along with the acid, keeps the wine refreshing. Long beet- and mineral-tinged finish. Perfect in its unpretentious way.

Cheverny 2008, Le Pressoir, Michel Gendrier ($18.50, 11154021)
Pure red berries and cherries, along with some stems and leaves, a whiff of incense but no barnyard. Fresh, clean and supple, a little lighter than the 2006 but no less fruity. Bright acid, fine and silky tannins. Not particularly structured or deep. Fair length. An appealing, food-friendly bottle and a great buy at its new price. That said, while it may gain weight and depth over the next year or two, I’m not convinced it will ever prove as alluring as the 2006.

Written by carswell

October 14, 2010 at 16:08

Posted in Tasting notes

Tagged with ,

One Response

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  1. […] Pleasant enough but a little short on depth and breadth, especially compared with the memorable 2006. (Buy again? […]

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