Chateau Lamartine Cahors 2018
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
With 30% wood aging, this wine has both richness and structure. It has a tight, black plum and tannin character, with layers of wood and spice coming through the dense fruitiness. The wine has a future. Best from 2023.
Chateau Lamartine was built in 1922 on the site of a century old oak tree. Local legend recounts that in the Middle Ages this was where Martine, the daughter of the local Baron, would meet her various suitors. This family property dates back to the Middle Ages, and the vineyards have survived the Gallo-Roman wars as well the invasion of phylloxera in 1878. Born in the Chateau, the current winemaker/owner, Alain Gayraud, took over from his grandparents in 1975.
Encompassing 28 hectares of vines ranging in age from 20 to 120 years old, the Domaine is in the westernmost reaches of the Cahors appellation, making Chateau Lamartine the only Cahors Domaine that benefits from the Atlantic influence. The vineyards here dominate the best micro-climate along the Lot River, and all of the plots are south facing on the oldest terraces in the appellation, where the soil is a limestone base with lots of stones.
The grape of Cahors is known by several names. The ancient name of Auxerrois is rarely ever used. Instead the locals call this dark inky berry Cot. In other parts of the world it is known as Malbec. Alain maintains sustainable agricultural practices and does a minimum of 2,000 hours worth of green harvesting per vintage in order to attain the naturally low yields he seeks. The depth of the roots mean that the vines are very rarely over stressed, even in the hottest of years. The total production is always around 10,000 cases a year.
Within the Southwest of France, this is the one region outside of Argentina that is today almost exclusively dependent on Malbec. Locally the variety is called Cot, and makes a dense, earthy and black fruit dominant red wine. Both the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean both have a strong influence on the climate of this region.
With hundreds of red grape varieties to choose from, winemakers have the freedom to create a virtually endless assortment of blended red wines. In many European regions, strict laws are in place determining the set of varieties that may be used, but in the New World, experimentation is permitted and encouraged resulting in a wide variety of red wine styles. Blending can be utilized to enhance balance or create complexity, lending different layers of flavors and aromas. For example, a red wine blend variety that creates a fruity and full-bodied wine would do well combined with one that is naturally high in acidity and tannins. Sometimes small amounts of a particular variety are added to boost color or aromatics. Blending can take place before or after fermentation, with the latter, more popular option giving more control to the winemaker over the final qualities of the wine.
How to Serve Red Wine
A common piece of advice is to serve red wine at “room temperature,” but this suggestion is imprecise. After all, room temperature in January is likely to be quite different than in August, even considering the possible effect of central heating and air conditioning systems. The proper temperature to aim for is 55° F to 60° F for lighter-bodied reds and 60° F to 65° F for fuller-bodied wines.
How Long Does Red Wine Last?
Once opened and re-corked, a bottle stored in a cool, dark environment (like your fridge) will stay fresh and nicely drinkable for a day or two. There are products available that can extend that period by a couple of days. As for unopened bottles, optimal storage means keeping them on their sides in a moderately humid environment at about 57° F. Red wines stored in this manner will stay good – and possibly improve – for anywhere from one year to multiple decades. Assessing how long to hold on to a bottle is a complicated science. If you are planning long-term storage of your reds, seek the advice of a wine professional.