Les Latis Grande Reserve Malbec 2019
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Type MalbecRead About the Wine
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Step aside Bordeaux—because now there’s something stronger. And it’s coming to strike back and take its rightful heritage in the pantheon of world class wines. The wine of which I speak? 2019 Les Latis Grande Reserve Cahors.
You may not know Cahors, so here is a little story:
Long ago in the 13th century, when railroads didn’t exist and roads alone were sketchy, Cahors in central France up the Garonne River from Bordeaux was the top red wine region of the world. Celebrated in courts across Europe and being particularly in demand at the Russian court in far-away Saint Petersburg, Cahors, and its native grape Malbec, made such powerful wine that it could be shipped far and away, not only withstanding the journey but also producing spectacular results for hearty imbimbers. But then history took its toll – the Dutch, owners of Bordeaux at the time, figured out that they could blockade the Garonne and tax all goods from upriver, thus making their more-watery Bordeaux wines price-competitive with the greatest wine in the world. Wars, railways, phylloxera, and the machinations of the French government further all took their toll on Cahors. And by 1947, its native grape had all but disappeared from the world.
Now, I am guessing you can pick up the story from here: Meanwhile, far away from France, Malbec found a new home in Mendoza, Argentina. From there it became a smashing success, turning “The Black Wine of Cahors” into the international sensation that now associates Malbec almost exclusively with Argentina.
As the saying goes, history repeats itself, and what was once Argentinian is now French again. In 1992, while visiting a winery in Mendoza, Hervé Fabre, a wine merchant from Bordeaux, noticed the grape Malbec. There in Argentina, Malbec was the dominant player whereas in Bordeaux, Cabernet or Merlot played first string. Malbec struck a chord in Hervé that he couldn’t shake off. And when he returned to France, he and his eneolgoist friend Pierre Montayou went searching for Malbec in France. And where did they come? To Cahors.
Hervé, along with his wife Diane, decided to invest and founded Les Latis in Cahors. And his wine is nothing short of sensational:
The nose opens with a gorgeous expression of fruit character: Black cherry, blackberry and raspberry all come wafting out of the glass. But it also reveals its French, i.e., Bordeaux, roots with notes of graphite, gravel and a touch of tobacco. The nose is as complex and multi-layered as the palate. Here, the midpalate delivers a warm sense of fruit backed up by powerful cocoa tannins that are fully integrated. The finish is long, and rides on its tannin structure, revealing that while this wine drinks well now (especially after being decanted), it will make for at least a decade-old treat in your cellar. While the thought of Argentina may lead you to steak, let’s make sure we preserve the French influence with a classic Bordelaise sauce of red wine reduction and mushrooms.
Bordeaux drinkers take note: this Grand Reserve is an ultimate crossing of Bordeaux sensibility meets modern Argentina winemaking in Old World France. It is glorious. Bordeaux better watch out – this proves that Malbec, and Cahors, no longer need to exist in the shadow of Bordeaux, and it may ultimately prove its champion.