Clos La Coutale is one of the finest producers in Cahors - Philippe Bernard is the sixth generation of his family to oversee this 50-hectare estate in Cahors, a few hundred yards from the Lot River, just west of the town of Cahors. The property was founded 100 years ago by his great-great grandfather, Valmy, and now produces almost 20,000 cases annually. The Clos is divided into two adjacent parcels, each distinct, in what looks like a natural amphitheatre. The higher of the two parcels is glacial moraine, shallow, rocky soil, well-drained and sun-drenched, while the lower parcel is alluvial gravel. The blend is 70% Malbec (known locally as Auxerrois), the traditional grape of the region, blended with 15% Merlot which gives finesse and bouquet and 15% Tannat which gives it its ageing potential. The grapes are vinified separately in stainless steel vats and the wine is then matured in a combination of small barriques and larger wooden foudres for 12 months before being bottled unfiltered.
A wine of great finesse and a bouquet of ripe red fruit, vanilla and tobacco, with gentle tannins. A not-too-punchy blue such as the creamy Fourme d’Ambert would make a great match. Medium and balanced.