Saturday, October 19, 2019

Cahors Malbecs and American Wagyu Beef Asian BBQ #Winophiles

The #Winophiles bloggers are invited by Nicole of Somm's Table to explore the birthplace of Malbec, Cahors in France. Some of us are lucky to receive samples from the Union Interprofessionnelle des Vins de Cahors (UIVC) via the coordination from Jill of L'occasion. A big shout-out to everyone who contributes to the process! Malbec is a beef lover’s mate. Let’s take a look at how my American Wagyu beef BBQ plays out with the three Malbec samples I got: 2016 Château Lamartine Cuvée Particulière Cahors, 2018 Château du Cèdre Extra Libre Malbec, and 2018 Château de Gaudou Le Sang de Ma Terre Malbec. First, let’s learn about the region.
CAHORS AOC – 70% Malbec + 30% Merlot/Tannat
Cahors is a deep red wine (known locally as Côt, Auxerrois and “Vin noir de Cahors”), made from grapes grown in or around the town of Cahors, in the Southwest part of France. Cahors is an Appellation d'origine contrôlée (AOC) (Controlled designation of origin) in the French Southwest wine region, with the dominant grape variety of Malbec (a minimum of 70% of the wine) and a supplement of Merlot and Tannat (up to 30%). 
Photo Credit:
GEO & TERROIR – Southwest of France + 2 Terroir Areas
Along the river, from Cahors and the surrounding area to the village of Soturac, the vineyard follows the river from east to west for some 60 km. Although the eastern part of the vineyard is 75 minutes north of Toulouse, the western part lies on the borders of the Nouvelle Aquitaine region, just over 2 hours’ drive east of Bordeaux.
Photo Credit: UIVC
The Cahors vineyard consists of two major terroir areas, Causse and Valley, with very different landscapes. “Causse” is perched higher up, at an altitude of 250 to 350 meters. This is the hillsides and limestone plateau terroir, which is less fertile than the terraces and less influenced by the river. Temperature contrasts between day and night result in the grapes ripening later, with less flesh but undeniable finesse.
The other area is in the “Valley”. This is a “terrace” terroir created by the Lot river.
·       The “first terrace” terroir is located closest to the river. It consists of young and fertile alluvium, with sandy loam soils that yield light, fruity wines.
·       The “second terrace” is five meters higher. This is a limestone terroir where runoff has extracted the finest and most fertile soil elements, with the presence of rounded pebbles. The more clayey soil, when compared to the first terrace, retains water, providing the vineyard with stable hydration and giving the wine body and depth.
·       The “third terrace” consists of two types of soils: a more gravelly limestone soil nearer the plateau, giving the wines great finesse; and a clayey-limestone soil giving the wines fruitiness and strength.
WINES –  Lamartine Cuvée Particulière / Extra Libre / Le Sang de Ma Terre Malbec
The 2016 Château Lamartine Cuvée Particulière Cahors consists of 90% Malbec, 10% Tannat and is produced from old vines from the 2nd and 3rd terrace of the Lot Valley.  In addition to its intensity and complexity, the Cuvée Particulière Cahors exhibits a hint of licorice with the layering of smokiness, dark chocolate, and spices. The 10% Tannat undoubtedly plays a role in the added tannin that makes this wine uniquely complementary to grassy and fatty beef such as Wagyu beef.

The 2018 Château du Cèdre Extra Libre Malbec has 90% Malbec and 10% Merlot, and has no added sulfites. It’s produced from grapes coming from two different types of soil: the first terroir, composed of stony clay and limestone, produces straightforward wines with fine tannins, whereas more powerful and dense wines derive from soils composed of clay, sand and rich in pebbles. The Extra Libre reveals an intense aroma of red and dark fruit. It’s soft on the palate, well-rounded and fresh that will accompany well with non-saucy beef dishes.
2018 Château de Gaudou Le Sang de Ma Terre Malbec is a 100% Malbec, produced mainly on the third terraces but also on the limestone plateau in the Causse of the AOC Cahors by the Durou family. This wine is young, packed with black fruits and dominated by tannins. A dense expression of Malbec from old vines, it has a spicy character. A great wine to go with beef BBQ!
Standing Waygu Beef BBQ at Yakiniku Jiromau in Tokyo
A recent trip to Japan introduced me to the world of Wagyu (i.e., Japanese cows) beef, which is a heavenly experience for beef lovers. Due to the intense fat-marbling of these Japanese cows, the beef, especially the cut of the cow belly, literally melts in your mouth and has an exquisite taste and texture. It’s worth it even though we are talking about around US$5 for a piece of the size of a bandage.
Korean Indoor BBQ at home
To pair these Cahors Malbecs, I can’t think of a better alternative than this fat-marbling beef and found the American version of it via Crowdchow, which is an affordable way to enjoy Wagyu beef sourced in the US.
Yamamoto 100% Black Waygu Cow - Photo Credit:
The Wagyu beef strips I purchased are from the Yamamoto Ranch located in Palestine, Texas. With the help of modern breeding techniques, Yamamoto’s 100% Black Wagyu herd are completely traceable to Japan. The herd, all born and raised on the ranch, is comprised of the Takeda genetics the ranch purchased directly from this highly recognized Wagyu legend from Japan. The herd at Yamamoto are fed corn in addition to grazing on nearly 1,000-acres of Coastal Bermuda in addition to hay and a grain mixture. Yamamoto Wagyu are finished on all-natural, non-GMO hay and grain, resulting in a taste and texture only found in Wagyu — luscious marbling, supreme tenderness and mellow, beefy flavor.

To truly showcase the taste of this American Wagyu beef, I opted to do a Korean BBQ – an indoor grill that sits on a portable gas burner.  As inspired by dipping sauces used in the Japanese Wagyu beef BBQ joint in Tokyo, I have prepared four types of savory condiments as the dipping sauces for the Wagyu beef stripes: regular soya sauce, sugary soya sauce (reduced to syrupy consistency in the sauce pan), Ponzu citrus seasoned soya sauce and rock salt. I personally loved the rock salt with the beef as the true grassy and beefy flavors were unmasked, while my family preferred the syrupy sugary soya sauce. The technique to cook these thinly sliced beef strips is to put them on the hot grill quickly like 1 minute on each side. Dip them in the sauces of your choice and enjoy it with a bowl of brown rice as well as side vegetable dishes (e.g., Asian cucumber salad, sautéed mushrooms, stir-fried cabbage and scallion).
Although there are various degrees of intensity and complexity of these Cahors Malbecs, overall, these wines do a perfect tango with the fatty and grassy beef. When Malbec is a beef lover’s mate, these Cahors Malbecs are soulmates to this Wagyu beef!

Disclaimer: wines are samples. Opinions are mine.

Check out our blogger friends’ Cahors Malbec exploration and see what dishes they pair with these wines:

Jane from Always Ravenous explores the "Flavors of Fall Paired with Cahors Malbec"
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" 

Gwen from Wine Predator shares From Cahors: Biodynamic Chateau du Cedre Malbec with French Charcuterie

Pinny of Chinese Food & Wine Pairings matches Cahor Malbecs and Waygu Beef

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 will be "Bringing Home Cahors with Clos D’Audhuy" here on Somm's Table.


  1. Really interesting explanation of the terraces and great idea to pair with Korean BBQ! I like the idea of keeping the sauces separate so people can pick and choose and mix and match with the wine.

  2. OH my gosh, your dinner looks amazing and I'm sure the pairings were wonderful.

  3. I've never tried Wagyu beef but it sounds like it would be absolutely perfect with Cahors!

  4. Love Wagyu beef, and your idea for the K-BBQ treatment. Yum!

  5. What a great idea to do Korean BBQ at home. And I'm it's so interesting to find about this American Wagyu purveyor. Glad you enjoyed the Cahors!