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Saturday, June 9, 2018

The Cahors AOC Wine and Cahors the Town. Cahors Wine in French Cuisine.

Behind the French Menu
Bryan Newman
The Valentré Bridge in the town of Cahors.
The locals called it the Pont de Balandras.
The Cahors dark red wine, its vin noir, black wine, is one of the best red wines of France.  The wine took its name from the town of Cahors which is a small, but pretty town of 20,000 in the department of Lot, set in one of the most beautiful areas in the South-West of France. The area round about Cahors is the ancient province of Quercy that borders the Dordogne and is famous for its food products. (When visiting Cahors avoid offending the locals, remember that the name of the wine and the town is pronounced CA—ORS, do not sound the H).
Château Pinerale, Cahors AC 2007.
Like nearly all of France’s AOC wines, Cahors is a blend. The taste of the wine from different vineyards changes with the soil, the sun, the age and changes in the blend. At least 70% of the blend must come from Malbec grapes, that are nearly always called Auxerrois in this area, along with Merlot and Tannat.  But each vintner has, like Coca-Cola, his or her secret blend and its method of aging. To taste the difference take a trip along Cahor’s Route de Vins, their wine road, and enjoy the wine tastings offered by different vintners. The Cahors Route de Vins provides an interesting twist as you may choose road or river. The Lot River runs through the town of Cahors and connects many of the vineyards and the vineyard tours by boat or road run regularly.

There are nearly 100 different names for the Cahors wine.
History and tradition explains most of them
You will not go hungry in the town of Cahors or for that matter anywhere around the town. Dining anywhere in the old province Quercy where Cahors is the departmental capital is a very special treat. This area is also home to the tasty Quercy Melons; the best French Kiwi fruits;  the Truffe du Périgord; France’s most famous and expensive truffle; the Chasselas grapes AOP;  the Périgord Walnuts AOP; the Rocamadour AOP goat’s cheese and some of France's most delicious red label strawberries

If you want other red, rose and or white wines then not far from the town are other vineyards that produce the Coteaux du Quercy AOC  wines and the Cotes de Lot IGP wines. (IGP for wines is a relatively recent addition that replaces the Vins de Pay classification).

The Cahors wine on French Menus:

Civet d’Oie au Vin de Cahors, à l’Ancienne, Pain Aillé, Écrasé de Pommes de Terre. A civet is a traditional stew that was initially only used for small game including rabbits, hares, and young wild boar. Good recipes change with the times, and here the civet is made with goose accompanied by garlic bread and hand mashed potatoes.

Coq au Vin de Cahors et ses Pommes Sarladaises - Coq au Vin is the most famous of France’s poultry stews. Initially created for flavorsome roosters, cockerels, but now often prepared with large chickens marinated in wine. Alongside this Coq au Vin prepared with Cahors wine are Pommes de Terre Sarladaise. Pommes de Terre Sarladaises are sliced potatoes fried in duck fat and flavored with garlic and parsley. They are named after the town of Salart in the Dordogne. Salart is the home of the cuisine of Perigord Noir, Black Perigord, famous for its forests.

Coq au Vin de Cahors.
 The color comes from the old cockerel in the pot and the wine.
Poire Williams, Pochée au Vin de Cahors, à la Cannelle et son Sorbet Poire – A Williams, Bartlett in the USA,  pear poached in the Cahors wine and flavored with cinnamon and served with a pear sorbet. The pear sorbet served alongside this poached pear will have an alcoholic liquor, most probably a pear liquor added so this can be quite a heady dish; Cahors wine and a pear liquor. N.B. The Williams pear owes its name to a nurseryman who popularized the pear in England.  In the USA the first of these pears were grown in an orchard owned by a man called. Bartlett and took his name.

Fraises au Vin de Cahors et Sorbet Basilica Strawberries prepared in the Cahors wine and served with a basil flavored sorbet. The departments of Lot and Lot-et-Garonne are home to more than 20% of France’s Label Rouge, red label, strawberries so enjoy them when visiting.
Filet de Truite BIO Sauce au Vin de Cahors – A fillet of organically raised trout served with a Cahors wine sauce.

Filet de Boeuf au Poivre Noir, Beurre d'Estragon et Jus Corsé au Vin de Cahors A beef fillet, a cut from the tenderloin, cooked with black peppercorns and tarragon-flavored butter and served with a sauce made from the dish’s natural juices, which is its  Jus Corsé, along with the Cahors wine.  Tarragon, the herb, is very popular in French cuisine and is one of the five herbs used in the spice group called Les Fine Herbes, the fine herbs. Tarragon’s flavor is also at the heart of Sauce Béarnaise.

Buying a bottle to take home or to enjoy in a restaurant.
From the time of the Romans who conquered and settled France over 2,000 years ago. Cahors was famous for its wines; that is long before the first grapes were planted in Bordeaux.  Today, some 80 different vintners are producing Cahors wines with many factors affecting the taste.  Age is far from everything and to know what you are buying you need a handy and very knowledgeable friend, an up-to-date wine book or in a restaurant an excellent sommelier, the wine steward. Most Cahors wines are aged in oak though you will also find new wines in the shops and that is why you need that friend or up-to-date wine book.

The town of Cahors, its fantastic bridge, and its cathedral

The town of Cahors is famous for its 11th-century Cathedral and its Pont Valentré, the Valentré Bridge, locally called the Pont de Balandras.  The bridge is the Cahors town symbol and a UNESCO World Heritage site.  The bridge dates from 1378 and was rebuilt in 1879. Look for the symbol of the devil on one of the towers and then ask why!

The devil is in the details.
The devil on the Valentré Bridge, the Pont de Balandras.

If you cannot find the answer to Why the Devil is on the Bridge?  Write to me via the comments section at the bottom of this page.
The Cahors Cathedral.

When this cathedral began to be built in the 11th century the town had more than 600 families and that made it a city. All cities of that time were supposed to have cathedrals.
The Lot River
Apart from visiting vineyards by road or boat, there are trekking paths all over the area, and you may rent canoes and kayaks on the Lot River for a few hours. If you choose to avoid hotels, there are self-drive boats at budget prices or cabin cruisers.  With over 100 km (62 miles) of navigable river and with 17 locks each way that's two or three days of leisurely travel.
Rent your cabin cruiser or kayak.
Connecting to Cahors
When visiting the town look ahead in the English language website of the Cahors Tourist Information Office. Use the websites for opening and closing times of everything including farmer's markets.
The Cahors wine's website is in French only  but easily understood using the Bing and Google translate apps:
Both of the websites above show the dates of the next Fete du Vin de Cahors, the Cahors Wine Fete. The fete is held at the end of July or beginning of August in one of the villages close to Cahors.  This wine festival is also one of the few that allows visitors to book online a place at their celebratory luncheon. Caveat emptor: The luncheon comes along with long speeches in French only.
Cahors is the préfecture, the departmental capital, of Lot and there is an English language website for the department:

The other rated red, white and rose wines from this area have French only  websites, but they are easily understood with the Bing and Google translation apps:

The Coteaux du Quercy AOC wines have celebrations in the department of Lot at different times of the year with wine competitions and harvest festivals.

The Cotes de Lot IGP wines previously called the Vin de Pays de Lot have their own celebrations that may be seen on the French Language website:
Connected Posts:




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Bryan G. Newman

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