Food & dining


A lively, lovely red from the French Southwest

Ellen Bhang for the boston globe

Wine enthusiasts know that delicious values hail from southwest France. The region, south and east of Bordeaux, is a conglomeration of appellations scattered across a vast landscape. Traversing it would entail a three-hour drive south to the Pyrenees and the Spanish border, then an equivalent drive-time east to Toulouse. Its most well-known wine-growing area is home to a family whose reputation is firmly established.

The four-generations-strong Vigouroux family has crafted wine in Cahors, situated along the Lot River, since the late 19th century. Malbec — most often associated with Argentina — is native to this rugged part of France. The family’s enologist-winemaker, Bertrand-Gabriel Vigouroux, is dedicated to exploring the varietal’s terroir both at home and abroad.

If you have visited the elegant Château de Mercuès in Quercy, one of the family’s estates, the name of one wine — a 2015 “Le Vassal de Mercuès” — seems incongruous, calling to mind a peasant laboring under a feudal lord. Crafted mostly from malbec with a measure of merlot, it’s a workhorse wine that’s entirely appealing. Ripe and appetizing, it offers subtle earth and ferrous notes, along with juicy, polished heft. Available in shops for around $20 (and often for less), this bottle showcases southwest France at its accessible best. One sip, and you’ll pledge fealty to this lively, affordable red.


Georges Vigouroux “Le Vassal de Mercuès” Malbec de Cahors 2015 is available at Pairings Wine and Food, Winchester, 781-721-9463, and Vinodivino, Boston, 617-523-9463.

Ellen Bhang can be reached at