About the Cabalie Wine Range
by master of Wine Chris Burr
Right down in the South West of France, inland from Perpignon on the Mediterranean and near the Spanish border, are some of the oldest vineyards in the world, ordinally planted by the Romans over two thousand years ago. Not only that, but there is also a wonderful selection of grape varieties particularly suited to this warm climate, making big juicy red wines, light fresh roses and complex juicy whites.
Laithwaites have one of the most successful ranges from a talented, award winning winemaker, Herve Sabardeil, who is able to source wonderful fruit from the area based in the Maury region foothills where they have traditionally made sweet Port like wines and the Grenache grape dominates.
Cabalie has a range of four dry, juicy, but concentrated reds. The Cabalie is velvety, soft, fruity Grenache dominant, but given added structure and complexity by the addition of the dark skinned Carignan grape and Syrah in the blend. The result is a harmonious velvety juicy dark berry fruit wine, with a slightly wild herb, spicy, mid palate complexity. It is excellent value for money, lovely on its own and works with all those Southern French dishes such as ratatouille, grilled meats, and an ideal barbecue wine.
More serious is the Vielles Vignes (old vines) Cabalie red. Where the fruit and intensity of flavours is that much more intense and spicy. This wine is richer and in my view well worth the extra few pounds a bottle at £14.49. The 2020 was, by the way, an exceptional vintage with a hot late ripening summer, but with the fruit able to retain the bright fresh acidity for a great wine.
Next up is the Cabalie Origine, so named due to the age of the vines. The vineyards the fruit comes from are 100 years old with impressive vines and grape flavour. This is the most powerful of the Cabalie range, even having a port-like a feel such is the richness.
Then Monsieur Sabardiel's top wine, Cabalie "Coup de Coeur" again from old vines of 60-100 years old , a blend of several different local grapes, but aged in oak barrels which gives the wine extra softness, complexity, a hint of vanillin from the oak, an altogether very classy wine.
They also have a lovely fresh southern French Rose in the range, made from the free run juice when making the reds, so the lovely fresh bright juicy purity of cherry and berry fruit. By taking off some of the early juice for rose when making the wine, this also brings further richness and intensity to the reds.
It is also well worth mentioning the Cabalie Blanc which is a Viognier led blend. Staying true to the richness of Cabalie wines, this white has body and ample flavour ranging from apricot and peach to pear and lemon