Cahors a great pair for Black-Eyed Peas

For this New Years Black-Eyed Peas with a kick, we picked a wine that comes highly recommended as a pair for a similar rich, earthy, bean dish: Cassoulet. In fact we recently recommended this style of wine for Ann Vogel’s Cassoulet recipe.

Both that dish and her black-eyed peas recipe require an earthy, full-bodied wine, which is why we recommend Cahors.

Cahors is a red wine grown around the town of Cahors, an Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC), in southwest France. The dominant grape variety in Cahors is Malbec, with a minimum of 70 percent of the blend being of this grape and the other 30 percent a mix of Merlot and Tannat. A fairly newly regulated region, Cahors was awarded AOC status in 1971.

But even as one of the newer AOC designations, the wines of Cahors are not newcomers to the wine world. In fact the wines of Cahors date back to Ancient Rome with vines planted around 50 BC. During the Middle Ages, Cahors was called “the black wine of Lot.” The Lot River runs through the area and was a major trade route back in the day.

As we said previously, Cahors wine flowed at the marriage of Eleanor of Aquitaine to Henry II of England.

But as is typically the case in history, tragedy struck the vines of Cahors in 1956 when almost all the vineyards were hit by frost. The replanting of the area resulted in Malbec becoming the dominant grape of the region. In recent years, the popularity of Malbec waxed with the emergence of the wines from Argentina.

So if you head to the store in search of a Cahors and discover its too hard to find, substitute your favorite Argentine Malbec — but know it is not as earthy as a Cahors.

One that we enjoyed not too long ago was Chateau de Gaudon Cahors which runs about $10. Come to think of it, it would make a very nice present for Brynn. Shhhh!