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Official Guide to the Most Beautiful Villages of France

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News from Cahors – home of the Malbec grape

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A missive from Cahors (46 Lot, Midi-Pyrenees) arrived this morning, responding to Robert Parker’s assetion that “Malbec will make it big!”. Certainly Argentinian Malbecs are rising fast, especially in the US, where interestingly Argentina has overtaken Chile as the 4th biggest exporter (after France, Italy and Australia).
Argentina still has some ground to make up in the UK, but their signature grape is the Malbec – which they can make in a very upfront, fruity, smooth style. However, it is Cahors which claims to be the real home of the Malbec grape (known locally as Auxerrois or Cot) – and that is probably a surprise to many visitors to the region – again the French labelling does not help. The French Malbecs tend to be more complex, and less sweet, but to my mind ultimately more rewarding.
Georges Vigouroux, a major name in Cahors, has been successfully marketing a 100% Malbec “Pigmentum” so named for the great depth of inky colour which is a trademark of good Cahors – and great value at £5.50/bottle (from Advintage wines)

Of course, the cause of Cahors and other Southwest France wines has also been promoted by Roger Corder’s recent research and book The Wine Diet where, at Queen Mary’s School of Medicine in London, he demonstrated that South West red wines are particularly effective in protecting you from cardiovascular diseases (in moderation of course!). He also notes that people in South West live longer than elsewhere in France!! Hence the so-called “French Paradox” may be more specifically a French South West Paradox – i.e. the incidence of coronary heart disease is relatively low despite a diet which is relatively high in saturated fats.
Others factors may be the predominance of duck and goose fat in the diet – as these fats are the healthiest of animal fats because they have less saturated fat than say, butter or bacon fat and far more of the health-promoting mono- and polyunsaturated fats. You can buy a range of goose and duck products from the

Although parts of the region are quite poor economically, the combination of great wines, rich food, a benign climate and a relaxed lifestyle all sound pretty healthy to me!
Cahors T-shirt available from www.jumboTs.co.uk

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