Distinctively marking the labels of this terroir-specific wine line is a dramatic four armed Visigoth symbol dating to the 7th century. Later known as the Languedoc Cross or Cross of the Cathars, the four elements and twelve points of the zodiac represent the perpetual rhythms of time and nature. This vintner’s apt emblem also includes two doves drinking from a single cup–expressing both sharing and communion. Begun by Georges Bertrand, a winemaking pioneer in the Languedoc region who diligently built a spirit of cooperation among local growers in the 1970’s, this benchmark winery has consistently been at the forefront of quality development for an impressive range of regional wine styles. The multi-generational philosophy is being carried forward by the founder’s son, Gérard Bertrand, with an expanding portfolio of 10 estates, 550 hectares of vineyard and primary production facilities based in the city of Narbonne, the onetime capital of a prosperous Roman coastal province called Gallia Narbonensis.
One of the world’s largest wine growing regions, Languedoc is a Mediterranean landscape of windswept scrubland with a geology of greyish-white, calcium-rich limestone. The eroded soils of this ancient seabed make for a fertile base where wild lavender, thyme, and undulating rows of gnarled Syrah and Grenache grapevine now thrive. As with the land’s nature, the AOC wine-producing regulations of this free-spirited region are somewhat less stringent than the neighbouring Burgundy or Bordeaux appellations to the north; allowing for the cultivation of a broad range of vine varieties and blending proportions; with these two starring grapes providing the backbone. In the hot climate of southern France, Syrah tends to ripen ahead of its blend partner so gets vatted in whole bunches first, while harvesting of the Grenache catches up later on. Once combined, they’re transferred to large 225-litre Bordeaux oak barrels to age for at least ten months. For this DéClassé recommended, Languedoc Syrah/Grenache 2013, it’s also rested in bottle for over a year.
Though you will find many offerings from this prolific vintner on the regular shelves of the LCBO, note that this particular release is only stocked in the Vintages section, in a limited volume that historically sells out quickly. With warmer days ahead, dare to try this ripe, fulsome, fruit-forward red slightly chilled!
GÉRARD BERTRAND LANGUEDOC SYRAH/GRENACHE 2013
VINTAGES – LCBO Product #413237 | 750 mL bottle
Price $ 16.95
Sugar Content Descriptor: D
Made in: Midi, France
By: Gérard Bertrand
Release Date: May 14, 2016
This fairly spicy wine, with its zippy ginger and liquorice notes, also has a fruity body and mellow tannins. Best with foods such as a marinated grilled brisket, veal meatballs in a piquant tomato and olive sauce, fire roasted vegetables or with stronger cheeses, Spanish Jamón Serrano, and sausage appetizers.