Is Cahors the right place to grow Malbec?
The question is quite pertinent when you read the latest statement of a French winemaker working in Argentina and growing Malbec for Alta Vista to Carly Wray from Snooth.com: ” ” Malbec is the great variety [...] Easy to grow, easy to make, easy to drink.” Pointing out to the land, he describes the natural affinity between region and grape. The clear skies, poor soils, and thermal oscillation (the difference between daytime and nighttime temperatures) offer Malbec much of what it needs to become a deeply concentrated, richly fruited wine. When I ask him about Malbec’s performance in its hometown of Cahors, which happens not to be too far from his own, he shrugs, plainly: “The climate in Cahors is wrong for Malbec.”"
If the climate of Cahors is so wrong for Malbec, how would Mathieu Grassin explain that Cahors has been growing Malbec for over 800 years and that the Cahors wines were bought and drunk all over Europe until the terrible frost of 1956 that destroyed almost all the vineyard? Wouldn’t it be more honest to recognize that Argentina and Cahors produce wines differently and for different kinds of wine consumers? The hot and dry climate of Cahors generates wines with long ageing potential. Opposite to Argentina where watering the vineyards is possible during dry years, Cahors has to face year after year the variations of climate with no possible help of artificial means as allowed in Argentina. Which means that young Cahors wines can be more difficult to appreciate than the rounder and fruitier Argentine Malbec, easily drunk young but difficult to drink when mature.