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Executive editor Thomas Matthews joined Wine Spectator in 1988. His tasting beat is Spain.
Thomas Matthews

A Hearty French Red for a Cold Winter’s Night

Château Lagrézette Cahors 2000

Thomas Matthews
Posted: January 31, 2011

The January temperatures have barely broken the freezing mark, so on a frigid Sunday night, we decided we needed a hearty, warming meal. I roasted a leg of lamb and served it with mashed potatoes and broccolini sautéed with shallots. For the red, I chose a mature Cahors, a Malbec-based wine from southwestern France, that was patiently waiting in my cellar.

Cahors is the ancestral home of the Malbec grape, but the wines made there are much different from the plush, fruity versions from Argentina that are so popular now. Lagrézette is a modern winery, with superstar consultant Michel Rolland (who also works in Argentina, among many other countries) advising, so you might expect a wine in the “international” style. But whether terroir overrides the winemaking, or age brings out the truth, this was a very traditional Cahors. It was thick on the palate, with firm, almost gritty tannins, and dark flavors of iron, earth and tobacco.

Yet the wine still showed a core of bright cherry fruit, and a lively acidity kept it fresh. It had endured more than improved, resembled a solid workman more than a brilliant virtuoso, but it matched well with the gamy meat and warmed our souls from the winter’s cold. I rated it 89 points, non-blind.

WineSpectator.com members: Read the original blind-tasting review for Château Lagrézette Cahors 2000 (88, $20).

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