This particular quest began some years ago. My brother and his wife had been holidaying in France and returned with a bottle of inky black wine which on tasting was something quite different, almost like sucking on a Pontefract cake.
The black wine from Cahors was once favoured by Princes and Popes alike and up until the end of the 19th century it was an even bigger noise than its near neighbour bordeaux, until disaster struck. All the vineyards were devastated by an attack of phylloxera and that was that.
Gallant attempts were made to re-plant and regain its former glory but this just never happened.
The primary grape here is malbec which these days we tend to associate more with Argentina than France, but it is this that gives the wine its black colour and thick, strong tannic taste. It’s not a wine for a session or drinking without food as its alcohol levels are nearly always around 14% to 15%.
I have tried 3 bottles over the past month ranging in price from £8.00 to £11.00 and I am left feeling a little underwhelmed. The colour is pleasant like a nice Rhone but certainly not black. The taste is a bit thin. Maybe at this price point I should be looking towards the new world.
I haven’t given up, but it is too early to say I’ll be back in black !