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Friday, February 4, 2011

Wine of the Week-Clos Resseguier- Cahors


As I've mentioned before, if you drink wine frequently (and who doesn't!) it's possible to drink your way into sort of a rut. You go through all of the Chardonnay, Cabernet, Sauvignon Blanc and Merlot (sorry, Miles) that are on the shelf of your local grocery store. Then maybe you branch out into a Syrah or Chianti, or look for something you've read about in a wine publication, which by the way is a great idea. But to actually make the decision to purchase a wine or varietal you're not really familiar with can sometimes be a bit daunting. So...this week's wine addresses both the issue of trying something different, and how to go about finding that something different.
Cahors is an appelation in the Southwest of France, about 100 miles east of Bordeaux. Malbec (also known as Cot) is the dominant grape here, often softened a bit by Merlot. The law here requires that a Cahors be at least 70% Malbec, and our wine of the month is 90% Malbec and 10% Merlot. You've probably heard of Malbec in relation to it's success in Argentina, and it has achieved remarkable results there. It was taken to Argentina from France in the middle of the 19th century, thrived in the warmer climate, and has become it's most widely planted grape. As a side note, try a Cahors and an Argentine Malbec side by side. You'll be amazed at the difference. Same grape, different terroir, but that's another blog entirely!
The first thing you'll notice about this wine is it's color. Cahors wines are known as"black wines", so dark in color that you can't see through it. On the palate, dark fruits, pepper, a little bit "earthy". Despite it's aggressive appearance, it's fairly low in acidity and tannin, and altogether a very easy wine to drink. Where is it available? Here's the second part of this post, I got it through a wine club.
Wine clubs are plentiful indeed. Just Google those words and you'll see more choices than you need. What they do really well is to source wines from lesser known regions or producers, and offer them to you at reasonable prices. Notice I didn't say cheap prices because that's not really the purpose here. In fact, once you add the shipping cost, the prices are about what you'd pay at your local retailer. There is so much more for you to experiment with than what you recognize and are familiar with on the retail shelves. In fact, you may not recognize these producers or regions at all. This gets you out of the rut I mentioned earlier and lets you expand your wine experience. I didn't go out and choose this Cahors, but I'm sure glad it came! Can you trust a wine club's selections? Sure. These people are professionals and unlike the supermarkets, they are not buying wines that the distributors or corporate offices force upon them. It gets the lesser known producers the chance to get in your glass. Plus, it's kinda fun finding wine at your doorstep every so often.
A few points about the clubs; look for ones that allow you to opt out whenever you like, don't get stuck in a purchase requirement. I've had good luck with the Wall Street Journal Wine Club(http://www.wsjwine.com/) and recently Lions Wines Cellars (http://www.lionswines.com/) Also, ask them about their return or refund policy. Most of them will refund your money for simply not liking the wine. Ready to get adventurous? Cheers!







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