French Malbecs are like Cat Woman: dressed in all black but lithe and nimble (on the tongue). They come from a town named Cahors and pair with Chinese duck prepared these four ways.
The French Make Malbec?
Prior to the South American contingent dominating exports of this wine, the French have been fermenting the grape in the pretty little town of Cahors.
5 Things to Know about Cahors Wine
- Back when French territory was part of Ancient Rome, they called Malbec “the black wine of Cahors“.
- It is perhaps most distinguished for its inky, purple, black eye color.
- Unlike Argentinian Malbec, Cahors Malbec is less fruit forward, lower alcohol, and has more acid for balance.
- Cahors became a designated AOC wine region in 1971.
- The region has hot summer days paired with chilly winters.
It can, unfortunately, be difficult to source in the US. Furthermore, it is more frequently labeled as “Cahors” rather than Malbec.
What does Cahors Malbec taste like?
I had the chance to taste 4 Malbecs from Cahors. In addition to their rich color, they had 3 commonalities:
- Full mouthfeel with light to medium tannins
- Dusty blueberry and black fruit flavors with a dose of earthiness
- Despite their intense darkness in hue, the wines were supple and brimming with acidic sunshine
Pair with 4 Kinds of Chinese Duck
Duck is fatty and generally needs a good swill of wine to go with. In addition, it is commonly eaten in the Cahors region as duck confit or paired with cassoulet.
Let’s try it with duck prepared Chinese style.
The following wines were provided as media samples for review. All opinions are my own.
#1 Classic Peking Duck
Classic Peking roast duck is sliced and stuffed into a light bun and a sliver of green onion and hoisin sauce.
However, I held off the hoisin sauce in favor of using the wine as a flavor component.
The Cloy d’Audhuy Les Polissons 2018 had rich, juicy black fruit oozing from the glass. The winery had “well-balanced” in mind, and it balanced my duck fat quite nice.
It added just the touch of tang I was looking for without the hoisin sauce, along with an aroma of a forest floor and fresh stationery.
#2 Roast Duck Garlic Noodles
Chinese roast duck atop garlic noodles with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese takes the fat-carb level to a whole new high.
Luckily, the Chateau de Gaudou Le Sang de Ma Terre 2018 has just the touch more tannin and chalk to counterbalance that fat.
Dark plum in color with aroma of mushrooms and some mint, I really liked this wine for its method of production.
Natural yeasts, sulphur free fermenatation in the concrete tanks, and maturation in ceramic eggs, made this wine unique.
#3 Fried Duck Skewer
Who needs the duck meat when you can just skewer that fatty skin and deep fry it.
I paired this with the award winning Chateau Vincens Origine 2016.
Even though it was from 2008, it still had some tannins that needed taming, which the fried duck fat took care of.
Dark like blueberry juice and thick like grandma’s quilt, it still had lots of acid to not feel heavy. With the duck skewer, the flavor became a bit nuttier and tarter.
Detected a touch of cinnamon on the nose in a big pot of stewing stonefruit. I would decant this one next time to let all those bottled up secondary flavors smooth out and soften.
#4 Mock Duck
In case you haven’t met mock duck, it is the Buddhist vegetarian answer to Chinese duck.
Made from wheat gluten, it can be purchased in cans or fresh in some specialty Asian shops. Its spongey texture mimics meat, and its color and flavor are enhanced by soy sauce.
I paired this with the Domaine Les Roques de Cana – Sanguis Christi 20o8.
As the oldest wine of the four, it had a distinct maroon red color and definitely the loudest of the bunch. I envisioned big, burly brambles of blackberries next to a smoking campfire.
It may have been a wee bit heavy with the vegetarian duck, but the overwhelmingly Chinese prefer red wine so I thought it would be fitting.
Learn more about Cahors Malbecs
Check out these juicy Cahors posts from the French #winophiles writers:
- Jane from Always Ravenous explores the “Flavors of Fall Paired with Cahors Malbec”
- Cathie of Side Hustle Wino looks at “Cahors – The Birthplace of Malbec“
- Jill from L’Occasion shares “Cahors, a French Classic“
- Camilla of Culinary Adventures with Camilla will be posting “Château du Cèdre Extra Libre 2018 Malbec + Cider-Braised Chicken Thighs”
- Wendy Klik of A Day in the Life on the Farm samples “A Trio of Cahors Wine and the Pairings Served”
- Jeff of FoodWineClick! gives us “The Malbec You Never Knew: Cahors“
- Linda of My Full Wine Glass shares “Newbies to Old-World Malbec Discover Cahors“
- Cindy of Grape Experiences explores “The Old-World Style of Malbec from Cahors“
- Gwen from Wine Predator shares “From Cahors: Biodynamic Chateau du Cedre Malbec with French Charcuterie”
- Pinny of Chinese Food & Wine Pairings matches “Cahors Malbecs and American Wagyu Beef Asian BBQ ”
- Cynthia and Pierre of Traveling Wine Profs give us “Cahors, Hainan Chicken Rice, and the Stories Wine Books Tell“
- Susannah of Avvinare will be “Shedding Light on Old World Malbec from Cahors”
- Payal of Keep the Peas discusses “Cahors: What Put Malbec on the Map”
- Rupal of Syrah Queen will be posting “Cahors – Tasting “Black Wines” With The Original Malbec”
- David of Cooking Chat pairs “Mushroom Truffle Risotto with Cahors Malbec”
- And I’m “Bringing Home Cahors with Clos D’Audhuy” here on Somm’s Table.
More Food & Wine Pairing Posts
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