Vignerons du Quercy
The Coteaux du Quercy is an interesting area about 20 miles south of Cahors where its limestone plateau is a great place for growing Cabernet Franc. Other Bordeaux varietals and indigenous grapes of the area such as Tannat can also be used in each year's blends but overall this area provides a very interesting expression of Cabernet Franc and I've selected two reds and also a very delightful rose.
The area also a very long viticultural history as an interesting part of its recorded history is that the Emperor Domltian in AD 96 issued an order that all the grape vines in Quercy were to be removed. I don't know if he didn't like some wine that he consumed from the area or he was an early proponent of prohibition but I guess that messing with grape growers is ill-advised as he met his demise soon thereafter in an assassination plot.
Although the overall area is small at around only 300 acres of vineyards under cultivation it has excellent growing conditions. The limestone plateau where most of the vineyards are located provides a strong backbone of minerality to the wines and the very sunny summer weather in the area promotes very richly flavored and ripe grapes which then produce very fully flavored wines.
The wine producers in the area are also mainly small family owned farms which I think adds to how interesting the wines can be from the area. The local growers have established a joint marketing organization, however, which uses the name "Vignerons du Quercy" and which also handles tastings for all the growers at their local office. I tasted ten wines during the day of my visit and they were are well-made and interesting.
Since I also focus on food pairings, however, I was a bit puzzled by one of the wines as although it was interesting and had a quite robust flavor profile, I had a hard time thinking up many food pairings. And so, I then asked my host: "Francis, qu'est-ce que vous mangiez avec ce vin ?" And Francis, who is also a great guy by the way, suddenly looked like I had made his day and with a big smile responded with "Chevreau !"
While I usually enjoy French food a lot, I also typically stay away from some of the really weird stuff that can be on French menus but I also didn't recall even having seen Chevreau before but then I suddenly thought...Chevre? Is he talking about Goat? Indeed he was, which I guess is a local specialty! While the wine was interesting, however, I don't think there is big market for a wine that goes well with Goat in the U.S. and so that was not one of the wines ultimately selected.
Grannes Rose 2017
The Grannes Rose is organically certified by the EU but there is unfortunately a dispute between the pointy headed zombies at the US TTB and the EU about what qualifies as an organic wine and so the certification does not appear on the U.S. label. What does appear in the wine, however, is a really interesting aromatic profile of strawberry shortcake, sweet cherries, and ripe peaches. Flavors are of strawberries, cantaloupe, and vanilla and there is a very smooth and creamy medium body to the wine along with very good balance across the palate. The blend in this wine is 56% Cabernet Franc, 22% Merlot, and 22% Tannat.
Food pairings would mainly be seafood and poultry and would include shrimp, crab, salmon, grilled or braised tuna, seafood pasta dishes, lobster bisque, salade nicoise, grilled chicken, chicken cordon bleu, chicken with a brandy cream sauce, jambalaya, spicy sausages, creamy red curries, rich vegetable dishes such as ratatouille, grilled vegetables, salads including green salads and pasta salads, and fruit desserts.
Bessey de Boissy Rouge 2015
This is a blend of 50% Cabernet Franc, 22% Merlot, 20% Malbec, and 8% Tannat. There is an interesting aroma profile of rich plums and freshly baked croissants. Flavors are of ripe juicy blackberries and boysenberries along with hints of honey and hawthorn and a refreshing minerality. There is a round and rich medium body, smooth tannins, and good balance.
Food pairings are quite versatile and would include lamb, veal, duck, New York Steak, roast pork, hamburgers, sausages, grilled fish, lasagna, cassoulet, soups, Mexican food, Asian stir frys, and grilled vegetables.
Collection Rouge 2014
This is a collaborative effort using the best fruit of some of the local growers and it is quite interesting. The blend is 58% Cabernet Franc, 20% Tannat, 14% Merlot, and 8% Malbec. There is a very smooth and welcoming nose of blackcurrant, mocha, peonies, spices, and white flowers which then evolves into flavors of black fruits, dark cherries, and dark chocolate. Although fully flavored, the medium mouthfeel adds elegance and perfect balance across your palate until there is then a fun little surprise in the fully saturated finish with its rich tannins. .
The intriguing tannins add to the versatility of this wine which will perfectly complement Filet Mignon, New York Steak, Rib Eye, Roast Beef, short ribs, veal chops, pork chops, pork tenderloin, pork shoulder, duck, elk, grilled tuna, BBQ ribs, paella, grilled vegetables, and rich and creamy vegetable dishes. This is also a very well structured wine with aging potential of ten to 12 years.