Wine of the week: Vassal de Mercuès 2013

Mercues Le VassalThe Vassal de Mercues, a malbec from Cahors, shows cheap red Bordeaux a thing or two about quality and value

During a recent retail visit in Dallas, the employee who had been mostly ignoring me mentioned that those of us who were old-fashioned enough to prefer French wine to taste like French wine should try red Cahors like the Vassal de Mercures. That suggestion made up for what was otherwise a worthless shopping trip.

That’s because Cahors wines like the Vassal de Mercues ($10, purchased, 13%) are more traditional than today’s red Bordeauxs. They’re made to retain the earthiness and Gallic-icty that many less expensive Bordeauxs have abandoned in their quest to get 92 points. That a wine from Cahors, the original home of malbec, can be more Bordeaux-like than Bordeaux is a another example of why the wine business makes me crazy.

The Vassal de Mercures is a second label from a property owned by the noted Georges Vigouroux, whose cheap wines have appeared many times on the blog. This wine is earthy – almost rustic – and doesn’t overdo the blueberry and black cherry fruit. There is also a little spice, while the tannins, sometimes a problem with cheap wines made in this style, are refined and do what they are supposed to do.

Highly recommended, and a candidate for the 2018 $10 Hall of Fame. This would pair with almost anything from chicken or eggplant parmesan, made with a sturdy red sauce, to simple roasts, whether beef or chicken.

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