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New Vintage of a Top-Selling Southern French Red at an Excellent Price - 01/29/2018 - French Regional Wines

It seems like everytime we roll out a new vintage of Château Haut-Monplaisir "Prestige" Cahors it sells through in a flash. Obviously a terrific price-to-points ratio has a lot to do with it, but we’d argue that given the string of successes there’s been a groundswell of interest in this lesser known red from Cahors. As the story goes, before Bordeaux became the legendary region we know today, Cahors was the wine of high repute in France and beyond. Known for its black, inky color and massive tannins, it was a serious wine of unparalleled power. Changes in tastes, phylloxera, and frost all took their toll on Cahors, costing it its place among the most coveted wines in the world. Fast forward to today and you’ll find Cahors undergoing a rebirth. Producers like Château Haut-Monplaisir have made great strides in re-introducing this world-class wine. The 2014 "Prestige" remains true to its origins, but is a kinder and gentler wine than it historical predecessors. With an enchanting array of black fruit, cedar accents, and well-integrated tannins, it is an ultra-sleek, modern wine with just the right balance of rustic charm. This is your first chance at the 2014 vintage and at a price that can’t be beat. For those who have had the previous vintages, you’ll definitely want to try the 2014. And for those who haven’t explored Cahors of late, we can’t think of a better place to start.

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2014 Château Haut-Monplaisir "Prestige" Cahors ($19.99)

93 points Wine Enthusiast: "Wood aged and serious, this is a finely balanced wine. Its spice and toast notes are beginning to come together with its young, exuberant fruit and acidity. Black currant flavors dominate, giving it a crisp, juicy edge. Drink this impressive wine from 2021. (RV)" (12/2017)

K&L Notes: Is Cahors France’s greatest undiscovered wine? In the southwestern French winegrowing region of Cahors, the majestic Malbec varietal finds its ancestral home, often producing wines of great intensity and character. The indigenous Malbec was cultivated here during Gallo-Roman times long before Bordeaux became established, and it made Cahors' reputation. Throughout the Middle Ages the wines of the Haut-Pays outranked Bordeaux in prestige, and the "black wines" of Cahors in particular were often used to beef up the color and backbone of Bordeaux's garnet-colored wines. Today, Cahors is in the midst of a renaissance, making it a fantastic time to experience these largely undiscovered and overlooked majestic wines. Cathy and Daniel Fournié of Chateau Haut-Monplaisir farm 44.5 acres in the Lot Valley on what is known as the third terrace of the valley floor, the highest and the best by virtue of its well-drained soils. All of Haut-Monplaisir's wines are composed of 100% Malbec staying true to the distinctive nature of the grape variety. The "Prestige" is aged in a mix of concrete tanks and some new and used oak barrels.

Staff ImageHeather Vander Wall | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 22, 2018

Don't think of this Malbec in quite the same way that you're accustomed to thinking of the grape. This is French Malbec at its best--with restraint and structure, capable of aging, and an excellent complement to steak. While it still has the enchanting black fruit and spice characteristics that we love in this varietal, it is neither jammy nor sweet-fruited, but well-balanced, with an excellent structure. If you're a Bordeaux fan, or love Bordeaux-style wines, this is absolutely one you should try.

Staff ImageJohn Majeski | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 15, 2018

When most people think of purchasing a bottle of Malbec they invariably seek out the lush, full-bodied, fruitful red wines of Argentina. Not to argue, but its easy to forget if they ever remembered, that Malbecs true home has always been in Southwest France, in the misbegotten wines of Cahors, where it flourished for centuries until the phylloxera bug and devastating frosts almost annihilated it. Were forever thankful that it survived, as Haut-Monplaisir has defined in almost textbook fashion what this grape will give you in temperament, pleasure and finesse when grown on the soils of its native land luscious, aromatic blackcurrant fruit augmented by licorice, vanilla and spice, with a silky suppleness and weight that poured itself with aplomb into the glass. Stunning Malbec, and I guess if the bottle could speak it might say dont cry for me Argentina!

Staff ImageKeith Mabry | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 11, 2018

Back to back successes with the Haut Monplaisir has solidified it as one of our favorite Malbecs from any region. Both the 2011 and 2012 were quick sell throughs with their level of quality, concentration and power. The '14 offers up something even more special in my opinion. Sweet black plum. It was such an evident marker, I would have used it in a wine class on flavor profiles. It's not the only thing going for this wine though with its beautiful blackcurrant, gorgeous weight, full-bodied texture and loads of spice notes. It is a hallmark Malbec showing the best of what can come from its home region of Cahors. Easily the sexiest of the last few vintages, you would be hard pressed to keep you hands of this beauty while serving it with hearty winter fare and dare I say even some grilled Argentine steak?! Let's show those southern hemisphere Malbecs how it's done old-school French style.