2012 Château Haut-Monplaisir "Pur Plaisir" Cahors

SKU #1275580 95 points Wine Enthusiast

 *Cellar Selection* Produced from organically grown grapes, this powerful impressive expression of pure Malbec is generous while also solid and firm. It has plenty of dark tannins to go with the solid fruits and tense acidity. Produced from selected parcels, it is a wine to age further. Drink from 2019.(RV)  (11/2016)

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 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.

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Price: $39.99
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Staff Image By: Keith Mabry | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 2/14/2017 | Send Email
For those curious about high-end Cahors, the "Pur Plaisir" is the wine that truly plumbs the depths of richness and intensity that can be achieved in this region. The wine is full bodied, velvety textured and loaded with dense blackberry and currant fruit. Layers of smoky minerals and Asian spices round out the flavor profile. We don't often delve into this price point when looking at Cahors because there doesn't seem to be as big a market for collectible wines from this region. That doesn't mean the quality isn't there though. Stack the "Pur Plaisir" up against similarly priced Bordeaux or Malbecs from Argentina and this more than holds its own. In fact, you'd likely pay upwards of two to three times as much for comparable quality.

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- These days if you're drinking a Malbec it's probably from Argentina. The most planted grape in that country, varietally-labeled Argentine Malbecs are one of the wine market's great values, prized for their slight herbal component and dark, luscious fruit. Structurally, Argentina's Malbecs are much different than those grown in the grape's native France; they are riper, fruitier and fleshier. In France, the best iterations of Malbec can be found in the Cahors, where it can be quite decadent. It is also planted in the Loire Valley, where it is called Côt and is often blended with Cabernet Sauvignon or Gamay, and in Bordeaux, where it has fallen from favor in many of the region's great blends because it is difficult to grow. In the United States, the varietal is frequently added to Meritage wines - Bordeaux style blends - but it is rarely found on its own.


- When it comes to wine, France stands alone. No other country can beat it in terms of quality and diversity. And while many of its Region, Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne most obviously, produce wine as rare, as sought-after and nearly as expensive as gold, there are just as many obscurities and values to be had from little known appellations throughout the country. To learn everything there is to know about French wine would take a lifetime. To understand and appreciate French wine, one only has to begin tasting them.

Southwest France

Alcohol Content (%): 13.5