It now seems like overnight, the temperatures have dropped, and a new season is upon us. I, for one, am ready for heartier meals with a dose of comfort and a glass of red wine. This month the French Winophiles are exploring Malbec from Cahors France, the birthplace of Malbec. Come along with me and discover the Malbec flavor profile, the difference between Malbec grown in Cahors versus Argentina, and food pairings, including pork tenderloin with prunes and a red wine sauce.
Malbec Flavor Profile
Malbec is a medium to full-bodied wine with medium acidity and tannins. Malbec is known for its intense deep purple color, often with a magenta rim. The flavor profile can include; blackberry, plum, black cherry, currant, blueberry, olive, tobacco, chocolate, mocha, vanilla, savoriness, meaty, black licorice, and spice.
What’s the difference between Argentine and Cahors Malbec
Cahors is the birthplace of Malbec. Malbec has an intense deep purple color, and is known in Cahors as the “black wine of the South-West.” Cahors AOC regulations designate that Malbec consists of a minimum of 70% of the wine, commonly blended with a round, rich Merlot and a rustic, tannic Tannat. Cahors has a cooler climate and limestone soils generally resulting in an austere structure with firm tannins and flavor notes of; tart currant, black cherry, plum, dried herbs, meaty, black pepper and spice.
Argentina is the leading producer of Malbec, with over 70% of the world’s Malbec vineyards. Most of the Malbec is grown in the Mendoza appellation. It is produced as a varietal wine or blended with Cabernet Sauvignon and Bonarda (Argentina’s number-two grape variety). Malbec thrives in the Argentine climate of sun and higher altitudes resulting in wines that are fruit-forward with a rich, smooth texture and flavor notes of; blackberry, plum, black cherry, chocolate, vanilla, and sweet tobacco.
My Tasting Notes
Disclosure: The wines were provided to me as media samples. All opinions are my own.
2016 Chateau Vincens Cahors Origine, Cahors AOC
13.5% abv | $12 SRP (sample) | 95% Malbec, 5% Merlot
Medium(+) purple in color with a slight magenta hue on the rim. Medium(+) bodied and tannins with medium acidity. On the palate, firm tannins with balanced acidity. Notes of tart black currants, plums, savory, meaty, and dark cherry.
Malbec calls for full-flavored foods like steak, lamb, game, and can also work with dark poultry, pork, and sausages. Earthy ingredients like mushrooms, shallots, sage, rosemary, mint, and cumin can bring out the fruity elements in the wine. Spices like smoked paprika, cinnamon, and allspice can echo flavors found in some Malbec. Need a pairing for blue cheese? Malbec!
Pork Tenderloin with Prunes and a Red Wine Sauce – I prefer leaner cuts of meat, so to make this a full-flavored dish, I soaked the prunes in brandy and pan sautéd the pork adding earthy elements like shallots and herbs. The final flavor enhancer was the addition of butter to enrich the sauce.
Pork Tenderloin with Prunes and Red Wine Sauce
For the Sauce
- 2-1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 medium carrot, diced
- 2 medium shallots, minced
- 1 bay leave
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme, just the leaves
- kosher sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3/4 cup dry red wine
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup chicken broth
- 8 oz. prunes
- 1/2 + cup Brandy
For the Pork
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 lbs. pork tenderloin, cut into 1-1/2 inch thick pieces
- kosher sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 cloves garlic, unpeeled
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
- For the Sauce
- Over low heat, warm the brandy in a small pot. Remove from heat and add the prunes and let soak for about 15 minutes.
- In a medium sauté pan, heat 1 tablespoon of butter over medium heat. Add the carrots and shallots and sauté until softened and slightly golden about 3 minutes.
- Add the bay leaf and thyme, season with salt and pepper. Add the wine and vinegar, simmer for a few minutes to slightly reduce. Pour in the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Add the remaining 1-1/2 tablespoon of butter to the pan. Drain the prunes and add them to the pan. Simmer for 5 more minutes. Taste and adjust for salt and pepper.
For the Pork
- In a large sauté pan, heat the butter and olive oil over medium-high heat. Season the pork tenderloin pieces with salt and pepper on both sides. Add to the pan along with garlic. Cook for a total of 8-10 minutes, or until desired doneness, turning once. Spoon off any excess fat from the pan.
- Transfer pork to a serving platter and pour the prune sauce over the pork. Sprinkle with the chopped parsley. Serve immediately.
For more on Cahors Malbec, check out my fellow French Winophiles’ posts ~
- Cathie of Side Hustle Wino looks at “Cahors – The Birthplace of Malbec“
- Jill from L’Occasion shares “Cahors, a French Classic“
- Camilla of Culinary Adventures with Camilla will be posting “Château du Cèdre Extra Libre 2018 Malbec + Cider-Braised Chicken Thighs”
- Wendy Klik of A Day in the Life on the Farm samples “A Trio of Cahors Wine and the Pairings Served”
- Jeff of FoodWineClick! gives us “The Malbec You Never Knew: Cahors“
- Linda of My Full Wine Glass shares “Newbies to Old-World Malbec Discover Cahors“
- Cindy of Grape Experiences explores “The Old-World Style of Malbec from Cahors“
- Deanna of Asian Test Kitchen give us “French Malbecs Meet Chinese Duck 4 Ways“
- Gwen from Wine Predator shares “From Cahors: Biodynamic Chateau du Cedre Malbec with French Charcuterie”
- Pinny of Chinese Food & Wine Pairings matches “Cahors Malbecs and American Wagyu Beef Asian BBQ ”
- Cynthia and Pierre of Traveling Wine Profs give us “Cahors, Hainan Chicken Rice, and the Stories Wine Books Tell“
- Susannah of Avvinare will be “Shedding Light on Old World Malbec from Cahors”
- Payal of Keep the Peas discusses “Cahors: What Put Malbec on the Map”
- Rupal of Syrah Queen will posting “Cahors – Tasting “Black Wines” With The Original Malbec”
- David of Cooking Chat pairs “Mushroom Truffle Risotto with Cahors Malbec”
- Nicole is “Bringing Home Cahors with Clos D’Audhuy” on Somm’s Table.