A hearty red grape, Malbec has made a home for itself all over the world like in California, Washington and perhaps most notably, Argentina.
But the grape’s roots are in Cahors, a region in Southwest France, where it truly thrives.
Malbec’s Ideal Serving Temperature
The Lot river runs through the valley and the hilly terrain of Cahors. And while vineyards cover a relatively compact area, many different Malbec-based wine expressions can result depending on where the vines sit in relation to the river.
Though this region produces a wide range of Malbecs, we picked some of our favorites to help you get to know where this red wine originated. The variety does benefit from aging, so make some room in your cellar.
French Malbecs to look for
Georges Vigouroux 2016 Château de Haute-Serre Cuvée Géron Dadine Malbec (Cahors); $49, 94 points. Named after the owner of this estate in the 15th century, this wine is structured and ripe. It is also balanced with black-plum fruits, touches of mint and toast from wood aging. The wine could do with more aging and will be better from 2021. Baron Francois Ltd. Cellar Selection. —Roger Voss
Château de Cayx 2015 Malbec (Cahors); $30, 93 points. Produced from a selection of parcels, this wine comes from the showpiece estate of Cayx that has connections with the Danish royal family. After four years its tannins are well integrated into the ripe black-plum flavors and the acidity that gives freshness. The wine is ready to drink. DM Vineyards & Partners. —R.V.
Château de Gaudou 2018 Le Sang de Ma Terre Malbec (Cahors); $19, 92 points. Fermented and aged in an oval-shaped tank, this wine is very young, packed with black fruits and still dominated by tannins. A dense expression of Malbec from old vines, it has a spicy character. Drink this wine from 2023. La Ville Imports. Cellar Selection. —R.V.
Château Lagrézette 2016 Malbec (Cahors); $50, 92 points. The main estate wine from this property, this offers ripe red fruits, a dense texture and lots of solid tannins. It is balanced and firm, while showing great fruitiness for the future. Drink from 2022. First Growth Brands. —R.V.
Château Vincens 2016 Origine Malbec (Cahors); $20, 92 points. Still very young, this perfumed wine is rich with tannins and black fruits. Its concentration is impressive, bringing the ripe fruits firmly into the structure and dry core of the wine. All it needs is time, so wait to drink until 2022. European Cellars. Editors’ Choice. —R.V.
Mas des Etoiles 2015 Malbec (Cahors); $30, 92 points. This dense, ripe Malbec boasts solid tannins and spice from wood aging. Big, bold and powerful, it has structure to balance the black fruits and acidity. Even at four years of age it has potential to mature further. Drink from 2021. JP Bourgeois. Cellar Selection. —R.V.
Château Lamartine 2016 Prestige du Malbec (Cahors); $18, 91 points. This wine is all about ripe black fruits. The 15% Merlot in the blend softens the Malbec tannins without diluting the juicy black fruits and structure. Still a little young the wine will be better from 2021. T. Edward Wines Ltd. —R.V.
Château Saint-Sernin 2015 de Calcaire Malbec (Cahors); $15, 91 points. The chalky third terrace of the four hillside Cahors vineyard levels has produced a wine that is smooth and ripe, rounded with integrated tannins and great black fruits. The wine is just reaching drinkability although it will be even better from 2020. Vin Colorado Imports. Best Buy. —R.V.
Clos d’Audhuy 2016 Malbec (Cahors); $25, 90 points. With a bright dark-purple color, this is still a young wine. That’s confirmed by the bold black fruit, great freshness and acidity that shine, backed by a core of dryness from tannins. The wine will age; drink from 2021. Ripe Wine Imports. —R.V.
Château Ponzac 2016 Malbec (Cahors); $26, 90 points. The three years aging has smoothed out this rich wine and revealed generous tannins, ripe blackberry flavors and attractive acidity. Let the bold fruit soften and drink from 2021. Vintage ’59 Imports. —R.V.