Ahead of World Malbec Day later this month, I’ve been sampling as many Malbecs as possible! After enjoying some fruit-forward New World Malbec from Argentina and Chile, I was curious to experiment with Malbec from Cahors, France, which are traditionally leaner and more savoury by comparison. Despite having received some disappointing reviews online, I still wanted to try Tesco Finest Cahors Malbec, to see whether the disappointed wine drinkers were, in fact, just missing the fruity Malbec of Argentina.
Tesco Finest Cahors Malbec is Suitable for Vegans
Tesco Cahors Malbec Tasting Notes
The first thing to note is the stunning colour; this Malbec is incredibly deep purple, almost black (which Malbec from Cahors are known for- their nickname is “black wine”).
Sadly, I have to agree with the Tesco Malbec reviews. A pungently savoury nose of leather and shoe polish with a little black fruit seemed promising, but tasting it found it to be a bit flat; there’s no acidity at all, the tannins feel coarse, and the fruit flavours are faint. Overall, I can’t say I enjoyed this wine- though it did enhance the flavours of earthy lentil pâté, and the natural sweetness of homemade roasted chestnut spread.
However. My experience of French Malbec is minimal, so it would be unfair to declare this a poor wine- especially as it belongs to Tesco’s Finest Collection, indicating Tesco wine buyers consider this to be a good expression of Cahors Malbec. If the tannins are coarse, perhaps it is because the winemaker wanted to stay true to the rustic nature of classic Cahors wine. During the 14th Century, Cahors Malbec needed to be aged for a number of years to tame their powerful nature; today, there is a colloquial categorisation in place that winemakers use to communicate with consumers. This Tesco vegan wine probably borders the tender, fruit Traditional label and the punchy Prestige category.
With this in mind, I’m giving it a 4 out of 10 based on how enjoyable I found the wine – how it compares to other Malbec from France, I’m not so sure.
Tesco Cahors Malbec Review
Grape: 100% Malbec
Labelled Vegan Wine: Yes
Uncorked Vegan Rating: 4/10
Vegan Food Pairings for Malbec
Pairing food with Malbec from Argentina or Chile calls for dishes with plenty of rich flavours, such as roasted peppers or tagine. Rustic French Malbec food pairings, however, tend to focus on typically hearty farm-house style dishes quintessential to rustic France; sausage and bean stew, green and brown lentils, and thick spreads like pâté (read: hummus can work here!). I also think tempeh could be a nice match- its earthy and nutty in a very complementary way.
In particular, French Malbec likes game meats; so, logically, I thought the easiest dinner and wine pairing to achieve here was a selection of vegan spread and dip ideas. Pictured above is a coarse pâté of lentils, walnuts and forest mushrooms, and a smooth roasted chestnut and black chickpea pâté.
Spreads and dips are especially good when hosting for a number of people who can pick and choose which parts they like (very useful if your group includes non-vegans or those with allergies) and there’s virtually limitless combination opportunities when making vegan pâté with lentils, mushrooms, nuts, beans, or baked vegetables.
For other delicious vegan food pairings for Malbec wines, here’s a helpful guide, designed by my lovely friend and professional illustrator, Adele Bye* (check out her website here):
* this affiliate link simply recognises and gives credit for the illustration to Adele Bye, I do not receive anything for it.
Only 7 days to go before it’s World Malbec Day 2020! Check out some of my other reviewed vegan Malbec wines here.