Tuesday, January 23, 2018
Bars & Spirits

'Black wine' of Cahors is back: Here are five to try

You know about red, white and pink wine. You might know about green wine, and orange wine too. Now let's expand the color palette to include the black wine of Cahors.

Relax: There's no squid ink or cuttlefish in play. "Black wine" is actually red wine — a very dark malbec.

Cahors (pronounced "kah-OR") is a small town on France's Lot River, but it also lends its name to the red-wine region in southwestern France that is the ancestral home of the malbec grape. Cahors equals malbec, and malbec equals Cahors. But there, winemakers refer to malbec as auxerrois or cot, and they use it to produce the dense, full-bodied, dry wine known as Cahors.

Just up the road from Cahors, in Bordeaux, malbec is a blending grape. But in Cahors, it is the primary player. The wine was beloved in Europe as far back as the Middle Ages, and it remained so for hundreds of years before suffering some major setbacks due to pests and weather disasters, some of which occurred as recently as the 1950s. Since then, a slow and steady rise to its original glory has been afoot.

Both the wine's color and personality — broad-backed, usually in need of some aging or at least some time to catch its breath in a decanter — earned it the "black wine" nickname centuries ago, and those highly tannic wines are still being turned out. But contemporary Cahors producers also make malbecs that are more accessible sooner, and generally easier to get along with.

In fact, getting along with some modern Cahors bottlings is close to effortless, and it's clear that Cahors is going through an overhaul of its image.

The place now refers to itself as the "Capitale du Malbec," and more bottles use the word malbec in place of auxerrois or cot. By using the grape's better-known name, Cahors is sort of reaching out. Putting in the effort. Trying to make contact with the larger world. And that is nothing but a good thing.

The law calls for Cahors to be composed of at least 70 percent malbec, with merlot and tannat allowed as blending partners. These are big red wines that can stand up to rich and hearty fare. Traditionally, Cahors has offered variations on plum, dark berries, smoke, leather, tobacco and hints of so-called animale, but more modern styles can lean to the lighter side, relatively speaking, both in color and body, with supple red fruit qualities and floral notes.

Comments
Hungry at Gasparilla? Eight great restaurants near the parade route

Hungry at Gasparilla? Eight great restaurants near the parade route

GASPARILLA: THE DINING EDITIONGasparilla. Some things are certain. There will be scantily clad pirates and liquid libations. At some point, it is advised to eat some food. Here are some of the top places that are easily accessed along the invasion ro...
Published: 01/23/18
We Tried That: Taking a food tour of Dunedin

We Tried That: Taking a food tour of Dunedin

It’s cold and overcast when I pull into Sea Sea Riders, a seafood restaurant on Dunedin’s Main Street. I’m flustered because I’m running late, about 5 minutes past our 1 p.m. start time, and I pull my sweater around me to ward off a gust of wind as I...
Published: 01/23/18
What’s your most romantic food story? We want to hear it

What’s your most romantic food story? We want to hear it

Calling all romantic foodies: We want to hear about your tales of love and food. For Valentine’s Day this year, we’re looking into some famously adorable dishes, like Engagement Chicken, a roast chicken first published in Glamour magazine in 2004 tha...
Published: 01/23/18
Taste test: New cereals

Taste test: New cereals

The cereal aisle is one of our favorites at the grocery store. Every week, it seems new options are rolled out, each with even more sugar, chocolate or some twist on an old favorite. January seems a particularly popular month for new cereal promotion...
Published: 01/22/18

From the food editor: Mastering the frittata, with help from a lot of mozzarella cheese

Let’s talk about frittatas. Specifically, how I can never seem to make one that actually tastes good. They are described in blogs and cookbooks as an easy, breezy dish suitable for using up leftovers lingering in your fridge. Like a quiche, but low-c...
Published: 01/22/18
Bar review: Florida spirits and brews at the newest Local Draught House in Tampa

Bar review: Florida spirits and brews at the newest Local Draught House in Tampa

I don’t consider myself "old" — though I have gotten into a bad habit of informing door people insistent on checking my ID that I’m halfway to 70. But I’m frequently made aware of how far removed my lifestyle is from that of my 20s.So when I walked i...
Published: 01/18/18
Local craft beer of the week: Electric Wizard IPA from 7venth Sun Brewery

Local craft beer of the week: Electric Wizard IPA from 7venth Sun Brewery

The past six months have been kind to Dunedin’s 7venth Sun Brewery. In August, the brewery’s long-awaited Tampa expansion finally happened, with its much larger Seminole Heights facility and tasting room opening in a town eager to try its range of ul...
Published: 01/18/18
Shake Shack, Momofuku and more: Please come to Tampa Bay

Shake Shack, Momofuku and more: Please come to Tampa Bay

Fabio is coming! Not the Fabio on your romance novel, with the billowing hair and large quantities of artificial butter. This Fabio, in all likelihood, uses real butter. And olive oil. Fabio Viviani, the charming Top Chef alum known for appearances...
Published: 01/17/18
Time to carbo load: Three new bakeries include an Australian bakery, second La Segunda

Time to carbo load: Three new bakeries include an Australian bakery, second La Segunda

LA SEGUNDAA Tampa Bay giant has stirred and is on the move. La Segunda Central Bakery, a family-owned Ybor City institution for nearly 103 years (they celebrated that birthday Jan. 15) and the largest producer of Cuban bread in the world, will open a...
Published: 01/17/18
Shake Shack inches closer to Tampa Bay with new Florida restaurant

Shake Shack inches closer to Tampa Bay with new Florida restaurant

Beloved burger restaurant Shake Shack, which once inspired hungry diners to wait in hours-long lines at New York's Madison Square Park before expanding with dozens of locations across the U.S., is inching closer to Tampa Bay. A lease agreement  with...
Published: 01/17/18