Clos la Coutale, Cahors

Malbec is the main grape in the legendary ‘Black wine of Cahors’. Way before Argentina made the varietal ‘famous’, Malbec (although in this region it is known as Côt or Auxerrois) was making long-lived wines in Cahors – the 1959 Clos La Coutale is still drinking superbly.

Clos La Coutale is a blend of 85% Malbec and 15% Merlot.

These are from 90 ha of vines with an average age of 35 years on the alluvial fettaces along the Lot river. The soils are of gravels, silicates and limestone clay with a south west aspect. The estate is sheltered from the cold winds that blow from the “Causse” region ; a micro-climate which ensures that the vines and their fruit ripen fully early in the season.

Grapes are taken off the stems, as is the local tradition (and to the benefit of long term ageing). Fermentation is in stainless steel for 15-18 days at a temperature of 28°C (80°F) in thermo-controlled vats. Daily “pigeage’’ (breaking-up/punching down of the layer formed on top of the juice) ensures maximum extraction for the bouquet and the fruit.

Each vineyard parcel is vinified seperately; the selected ones are blended in the January following the harvest and aged in oak cask foudres and 1-2 year old Bordeaux Grand Cru barrels for 8-10 months to create a full balance between the tannins and the fruit.

25,000 cases per year.

Winemaker Philippe Bernède has inherited his “savoir faire” from six generations of wine growers. He is also the inventor of the double-hinged ‘Coutale’ corkscrew.


Grape Varieties:
Malbec, Merlot
Tasting Notes:

The addition of Merlot to the Malbec produces a noticable refinement to the bouquet and softening of the palate, making it very drinkable in its youth.

An intense fruity and spicy nose (cherry, licorice); full-bodied, smooth and round with light tannins; delicious tastes of red
fruits, cherry, strawberries and licorice notes. The finish is intense and long.

It will age well until 2032.

Perfect complement to the regions speciality of duck; also with cassoulet or a simple steak and strong cheeses.

Organic Certified , Vegan , Vegetarian

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 are frost free and their fruit 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.


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