When you arrive for a visit at Clos Triguedina, one of the first things you will likely say is “I would like to taste something.” It is a sentiment that has been expressed there countless times over many centuries.
Cahors and Clos Triguedina are located along the Pilgrimage Route of Santiago de Compostela. In the Middle Ages, pilgrims would find a welcoming place for food and rest at the estate in Vire-sur-Lot. In the Occitan language they would say, “I am longing to dine” – “me trigo de dina.”
A sense of history follows you around at Clos Triguedina. My guide on the picture perfect summer morning was Jean-Luc Baldès, whose family founded the domaine in Vire-sur-Lot in 1830. Jean-Luc is the seventh generation of Baldès winemakers. The eighth is on her way – Jean-Luc’s daughter works in the tasting room and is learning winemaking skills.
Pausing to point out 110 year-old vines, Jean-Luc described the layout of the 65 hectare estate spread along the second, third and fourth terraces. As he talked about how he uses the various parcels to make different wines, it is clear that winemaking is in his DNA. Knowing the grapes and land comes second nature to him. Of course there is some luck involved, because it all starts with Mother Nature. You need good grapes to make a good wine.
“On n’est pas magicien,” said Jean-Luc with a laugh.
When you take all of this into account – seventh generation winemaker, a lifetime learning the land and terroir – you can’t help but put some pretty high expectations on the wines before you’ve had your first sip. Bring on these high expectations, the wines of Clos Triguedina will exceed them.
From sparkling rosé to the ideal expression of Cahors Malbec, plus a historic wine whose vinification process dates to the Middle Ages, there truly is a Clos Triguedina wine for any taste. And each wine is your favorite, until you taste the next one.
We started by tasting one of Jean-Luc’s newer wines, Le Rosé du Clos. It’s a dry rosé made entirely from Malbec grapes using the saignée method (Jean-Luc was the first producer in Cahors to make a Malbec rosé). It’s a rosé for red wine drinkers, with a pretty magenta-pink color and notes of strawberry and raspberry.
A sparkling take on Malbec rosé is the Bul’s, a pétillant (lightly sparkling) made by the Méthode Champenoise. Jean-Luc chooses the dosage, and sends the grapes to the Loire region for it to be produced. Rosy pink in color, the Bul’s is refreshing with raspberry flavors.
Clos Triguedina offers a variety of Malbec wines and styles, with varying availability in the United States. My suggestion – if you’re lucky enough to have the wine available in your area, try a bottle, even if it’s not one I’ve included here.
Among my favorites was the trilogy, three wines called “Les Parcellaires.” Each wine was made from a specific plot and terrace, for a true reflection of each terrace. It was fascinating to compare the wines side by side because of how different they tasted.
The 2009 Au Coin du Bois from the second terrace was almost Burgundian in style, with a lush and elegant palate. The 2009 Les Galets from the third terrace had more tart red fruit notes, with layers of licorice and iron. The 2009 Petites Cailles from the fourth terrace was round and well-balanced with red fruit and berries, the kind of wine you want to savor slowly with a special meal.
Probus is Clos Triguedina’s celebrated wine and for good reason. It’s the ideal combination of grape, terroir and winemaker, working together in perfect harmony. It is named for the Roman emperor who made it legal to plant vines in the region. The wine is 100% Malbec, and comes from parcels on the third terrace. The vines are 50 years of age and older. The wine is aged for 18 months in new French oak. The 2008 is rich and complex, with flavors of blackberry, plum, cassis and oak.
At the pinnacle is The New Black Wine. A tribute to the Vin Noir that was sipped by kings and nobles throughout the Middle Ages, The New Black Wine is made by a traditional process of combining fresh grapes with oven-dried grapes. Centuries ago this technique preserved the wine for shipping by boat to England. Heating the grapes softens the tannins and concentrates the flavors.
At Clos Triguedina the grapes are laid out on trays and gently heated overnight (about 12 hours) in an oven. The wine is aged for 18 months in oak casks.
The wine, as its name would suggest, is dark black in color. It is a wonderfully intriguing mix of fresh, stewed and dried fruit notes that come together in harmony. Enjoy it as an aperitif, or with red meat, game, exotic dishes or chocolate desserts. The New Black Wine can age for 20 to 30 years.
The New Black Wine is a lot of work to produce – and Clos Triguedina is the only one in Cahors doing it right now. They’ve actually trademarked the name.
History, tradition and delicious wines – are you longing to taste Clos Triguedina?
For more information on the wines of Jean-Luc Baldes and Clos Triguedina visit www.jlbaldes.com.
Click photos below to enlarge.