Stunning Languedoc Malbec: Sang Neuf by Ciry Cattaneo
Wine Review of 2016 Ciry Cattaneo ‘Sang Neuf’ Malbec Pays dOc’ IGP, Languedoc, France
Score: 90-92/100 Pts
Malbec, the grape variety that’s now become iconic in Argentina, and very successful in its region of origin around Cahors, France, is surprisingly very rare as a varietal wine in Southern France’s Languedoc wine country.
Once you’ve tasted this 100% Malbec by Ciry Cattaneo, grown around the Minervois area, you certainly wonder why there is not more Malbec wine coming out of the Languedoc region!
Trained in Champagne and Bordeaux, Ciry is a consultant winemaker for several producers in his Languedoc area as well as on the international scene, with a passion for precise winemaking, organic viticulture and a pure expression of terroir in his wines.
Sang neuf is a ‘micro-cuvée’, made in very small quantity (1692 botles only in 2016) from a small single vineyard called ‘la Combe Marie’ in the heights of la Livinière, lying at 400 meters above sea level.
The vineyard has been managed using organic viticulture for 2 years. This is therefore practically an organic wine, although because the organic viticulture certification takes 3 years of conversion, the wine is not yet certified organic.
Winemaker David Ciry used simple winemaking techniques aimed at expression the typicity of the Malbec grape, and at featuring the stunning color intensity it delivers here.
So How Good is Ciry Cattaneo ‘Sang Neuf’ Malbec?
This French Malbec, from the South of France, comes in an incredibly intense dark purple color, like you wouldn’t believe it!
It is common for Malbec wine to be intensely-colored, and we’re used to it from Argentina. But I guess the relatively low pH here accentuates the deepening effect of the purple appearance. Without looking thick, the wine still seems to literally stain the glassware as you swirl. A rare sight! But a positive one as it promises concentration.
The nose feels, at this stage, rather shy. Clearly this is a young wine at the time of tasting!
Blackberry and cherry are the dominant notes of a mainly fruity aromatic profile. Vanilla, caramel and oaky smoky tones complement a deep and intriguing nose.
Put the wine in your mouth, and you understand this is a seriously concentrated beast!
Smooth and dense tannins populate an otherwise dry and rather savory palate profile. Licorice, blackberry, black pepper and vanilla are the main flavor components, of a dry red wine that seems to want to be opulent and generous, yet is keeping its openness for itself so far. No doubt it will come with age though.
An utterly generous wine in the making, and a rare Malbec wine coming from Languedoc.
The opulence of the grape we love from Malbec is there, but it comes with a vibrant acidity that make the typical blackberry and plum varietal notes shine brighter than is usual in most Malbec wines, and pleasingly at that if you like characterful dry wine expression.
Dense but smooth tannins, concentrated acidity and overall expression, all the elements of a soon-to-come red wine filled with personality are there, to be revealed.
Buy and store this Malbec!
Hold on to it for about 5 years, and you will be rewarded by a unique expression of an outstanding grape variety grown with love in an unusual terroir of Languedoc (for the grape), and vinified by a careful winemaker who’s obviously meant to bottles his intact grape’s pure qualities for your to enjoy in a few years.
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