Clos la Coutale, Cahors
Malbec is the main grape in the legendary ‘Black wine of Cahors’. Way before Argentina made the varietal ‘famous’, Malbec – though in this region it is known as Côt or Auxerrois. – was making long-lived wines from Cahors – the 1959 Clos La Coutale is still drinking superbly.
During winemaking, regular “pigeage’’ (breaking-up of the layer formed on top of the juice) ensures maximum extraction for the bouquet and the fruit. Seperately vinified wines are blended in the January following the harvest and aged in oak casks and barrels for 8 – 10 months to create a full balance between the tannins and the fruit.
Made from 80% Malbec and 20% Merlot, the latter adding refinement to the bouquet and softening the power of the former, making it very drinkable in its youth. This wine will age well for up to 10 years.
About the Producer
Clos la Coutale
Clos La Coutale dates from 1850 and was replanted in 1885, 15 years after the phylloxera epidemic destroyed the entire Cahors region. It now covers 60ha and under the leadership of passionate winemaker Philippe Bernède (the great-great grandson of the property’s founder, Valmy) has led a 30 year journey from tradition to modernity.
The vineyards stand on the alluvial floor of the Lot river. Its soil is particularly suitable for vines, for it contains gravels, silicates and limestone clays. Because of the lie of the land, facing south-west, the estate is sheltered from the cold winds that blow from the “Causses” region (an upland plateau), and consequently it enjoys a micro-climate which ensures that the vines and their fruit fully ripen early in the season
The vines have an average age of 25 years and are grown organically without the use of chemical fertiliser or pesticides. The yield is on average 45hl/ha which enables regular quality over the years. According to tradition, the grapes are picked off from the stalks.
The vineyard is divided into a number of parcels, in order to produce a number of carefully selected wines. Each plot is vinified separately with a long maceration. Fermentation is carried out in thermo-controlled vats, and, as befits a wine for laying down, the fermenting process takes place at a temperature of 28°C (80°F) over a period of 15-18 days.