Wine: Prieure de Cenac Cahors
Grapes: Malbec (85 percent), merlot (15 percent)
Region: Cahors, southwestern France
In the glass: Prieure de Cenac is a deep brooding inky-red color with a dense opaque core going out into a firm dark crimson rim definition with high viscosity.
On the nose: It has interesting notes of burnt embers, charred meat, crushed star anise seeds, then a black fruit onslaught with concentrated loganberries, sloe fruit, marionberry jam and hints of old wood, dried mint leaves and earthy minerals.
On the palate: This wine is a mouth-filling sort with big powerful and quite forward black cherry juice over crushed loganberries, huckleberry sauce and bramble fruit going into a fairly firm tannic midpalate that is punctuated by notes of dark-toasted rye bread, licorice molasses and some earthy notes, with a surprisingly supple lingering and quite pleasant finish.
Odds and ends: Being from Denmark, I grew up knowing that Queen Margrete and her consort, Prince Henri de Montpezat, owned a chateau in Cahors in the southwest of France and made wine there. I actually went to high school with their sons, and so at the official school balls every year, their wine from Cahors was served (yes in Denmark it’s OK to drink wine in high school). What I remember most about it was that it was pitch black in color and quite rustic tasting, mainly because one of the best-known grape varieties in Cahors is the sturdy tannat in addition to being the true home of the malbec grape. Prieure de Cenac comes from the tremendous 2009 vintage, and it makes this wine an outstanding value at less than $8. Despite its relative youth, this is a wine that loves to be paired with big-time meat dishes, so open the bottle at least an hour before consumption and serve it with a hearty goulash stew on a bed of brown rice and you’ll see fall magic happen. Drink it now through 2020.
Gil Lempert-Schwarz’s wine column appears Wednesdays. Write him at P.O. Box 50749, Henderson, NV 89106-0749, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.