HERE’S MALBEC the French way: Dark as midnight; robust, earthy flavors; turbocharged tannins. These dry reds are nothing like the fruity style grown in Argentina. The red wines grown around the town of Cahors in southwest France, inland from Bordeaux, are so dark and brooding they are often called “black wine.” They have almost unlimited structure and complexity. They were revered by the royalty of Europe for centuries, and then the town fell on hard times: the silting up of the Lot River, punitive taxes imposed by Bordeaux officials for shipping access; and the deadly grape vine disease phylloxera. In recent years, modern-trained winemakers with up-to-date practices are making this wine popular again.
Domaine du Théron is one of three Cahors estates owned by the Pelvillain family, which specializes in Malbec. The owner and winemaker of Domaine du Théron is Didier Pelvillain, a master of Malbec. The winery’s flagship wine is the Cuvée Prestige, which is 100 percent Malbec, unlike many Cahors wines that are blended with Merlot. The trace of volcanic soil gives a distinctive gunflint minerality note to the wine.
Domaine du Théron Cuvée Prestige Malbec 2011, $18: This pitch-black bombshell has the earthy, Old World energy of France — the flavors are dark small berries, dark chocolate and espresso coffee infused with spicy oak and vanilla. Tannins are remarkably supple for such a big, full-bodied wine. Notice the vintage: 2011. Producer Didier Pelvillain believes that longer aging before releasing these black beauties helps the tannins to soften.
You can reach Sandra Silfven at email@example.com.