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A Coutale of two cities

Bernede “Clos La Coutale” 2009 Cahors (Southwest France) – Full of sap and chew, as so often lighter than the brackish aromas portend, yet alive in a scowling sort of fashion. There’s a minor burnt note on the finish that makes me wonder about the condition of the bottle, but otherwise it’s quite approachable. (7/12)

Bernede ladies

Bernede “Clos La Coutale” 2008 Cahors (Southwest France) – This can be a forbidding bottle in its youth, even given the appellation’s reputation for either early anger or offensive oak-softening, but for whatever reason this wine unfolds itself rather quickly. Tannin and a dark wall of blackness are all that’s there at uncorking, but then a spectrum of fruit – noir to rouge – develop while iron, salt, and charcoal filter into the foundational void. In less than an hour, it’s a complete, reasonably approachable wine that – while it still needs a little grazing-animal muscle to tame its scowl – offers no reason why it can’t be consumed now. I think it will be better later on, but if there’s any such thing as an early-drinking Coutale Cahors, this is it. (8/11)

Bernede to the ground

Bernede “Clos La Coutale” 2005 Cahors (Southwest France) – Very tannic and muffled, as one would expect at this stage. What fruit is perceptible is dark, stewish, and almost espresso-like, but there are also some intriguing aromatics that struggle through the insulation. There’s little point in drinking this now. (7/09)