From JvB’s Cellar (Bin #5): The French country answer to Mendoza’s malbecs

1 Apr

Clos La Coutale ’08 was sold to me as a French country malbec, so I had to try it. While the label says it’s 70/30 Malbec/Merlot blend, the French Office of Professional Wines says it’s actually 70% malbec, 20% merlot and 10% tannat. Either way, it’s a nice country red.

The shade is a ruby-purple color, the nose has a little ripe cherry, some vegetation, and a slight pepper spice which are confirmed and explode upon the palate. Firm tannin and tight with acid, this is a big mouthful which is really the opposite of an Argentinian Malbec in flavor: less fruit, more earth, spice, mineral a little tobacco and a very dry finish. Nice!

While it doesn’t taste like a Mendoza malbec, what it has in common is being an ideal wine to pair with strong flavors like grilled meat. Very drinkable without aging, this is a good dinner wine for those not into the pinot noir/fruit forward wines and like a dry, tight finish. Google puts this up at $14/bottle, I paid $17 in Manhattan and think it’s a fair price and once tasted, it opens up beautifully with red meat! A lovely choice for the high end backyard barbecue or steak night. This vin du table would normally be sold only by the carafe in Cahors (SW France) but you can enjoy it here, now.

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