Minervois Syrah/Carignan

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. The 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 the local growers of south-western France in the 1970’s, the Bertrand 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 ten estates, 550 hectares of vineyard and production facilities based in Narbonne–the onetime capital of a prosperous Roman coastal province called Gallia Narbonensis.

languedoc-wine-region-1852

One of the world’s most extensive wine growing regions, Languedoc is a Mediterranean landscape of windswept scrubland with the geology of greyish-white, calcium-rich limestone. The eroded soils of this ancient seabed make for a rich base where wild lavender, thyme, and undulating rows of gnarled Carignan, Cinsault, Grenache Noir, Syrah and Mourvèdre grapevine thrive. As with the land’s nature, the AOC wine regulations of this free-spirited region are somewhat less stringent than in the neighbouring Burgundy or Bordeaux appellations to the north; allowing for the cultivation of a broader range of vine varieties and blending proportions.

The Minervois sub-region in Languedoc benefits from a relatively hot climate that’s bordered by the clay and schist soils around the Canal du Midi to the south and the stony limestone slopes of Montagne Noire to the north. These factors in the terroir infuse a distinctive flinty character into the finished wines. That’s very much the case for this DéClassé recommended Gérard Bertrand Minervois Syrah/Carignan 2015. To soften the steely edges, the Syrah and Carignan grapes had undergone a malolactic fermentation before the blended batch was aged in 225-litre Bordeaux oak barrels for eight months and then rested in bottle for another 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. During the warm months ahead, dare to try this ripe and fruit-forward red slightly chilled!

GÉRARD BERTRAND MINERVOIS SYRAH/CARIGNAN 2015
VINTAGES/LCBO – Product #952804 | 750 mL bottle
Price $16.95
14% Alcohol/Vol.
Sugar Content Descriptor: XD

Made in Midi, France
By: Gérard Bertrand
Release Date: August 4, 2018

Tasting Note
This somewhat earthy red wine, with its dark fruit flavours accented by olive and coffee notes, also has a robust body and structured tannins. Best with foods such as a marinated grilled brisket, basted ribs, veal meatballs in a piquant tomato and olive sauce, fire roasted vegetables or with stronger cheeses, Spanish Jamón Serrano and sausage appetizers.

Languedoc Syrah/Grenache

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.

languedoc-wine-region-1852

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!

Gerard Bertrand

GÉRARD BERTRAND LANGUEDOC SYRAH/GRENACHE 2013
VINTAGES – LCBO Product #413237 | 750 mL bottle
Price $ 16.95
14.5% Alcohol/Vol.
Sugar Content Descriptor: D

Made in: Midi, France
By: Gérard Bertrand
Release Date: May 14, 2016

Tasting Note
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.

Corbières Alert

Proudly displaying the dramatic cross of the Visigoths dating to the 7th century,
later known as the Languedoc Cross or Cross of the Cathars, this vintner’s
very apt emblem also includes 2 doves drinking from a single cup – symbolizing
both sharing and communion. Begun by father Georges, a winemaking pioneer
in the Languedoc region who worked diligently to foster a spirit of cooperation
by local growers in the 1970’s, this benchmark winery has consistently been
at the forefront of quality development for an impressive range of regionally
distinctive wine styles. The multi-generational philosophy is being carried forward
by the founder’s son. Namesake of the current, burgeoning portfolio of vineyards,
Gérard Bertrand, now has its primary facilities based in Narbonne.

The Corbières terroir stretches from the base of the Pyrenees in the southwest
to Montagne Noire (Black Mountain) further north. A kaleidoscope of geology
and complex climates, the combinations serve to produce outstanding vines and
resulting, herb-scented wines. The prolific region was granted their official AOC
classification in 1985. The soils here consist of gravely clay and limestone with a
surface cover of stone pebbles, providing good drainage and healthy root stock.
The South of France, as a whole, is playfully described as a European wine lake,
containing 40% of France’s total vineyard acreage. The process of replacing
traditional, high-yielding grape varieties with lower yielding varieties to produce
smaller quantities of better wine, continues. What also carries forward, is that
they remain comparatively inexpensive and outstanding value.

A blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre is the traditional output from an
arid landscape where no crop thrives except vines. Often counter-intuitive, the
most challenging terroirs yield the most interesting wine. Grapevines do well by
beingstressed. Here, they are stressed by wind, heat and poor organic soil. The
odd appropriateness of this land is manifest by creating a rippling sea of lush
green leaves. Stony white Limestone outcrops, tough, spiky Garrigue (herb-like
bushes), lines of Cyprus tree windbreaks and Terracotta covered stonework
houses, completes the complex picture.

The best Corbières wines can now hold their own with classic French vintages
of Bordeaux and Burgundy. Though you will find many bottlings from this prolific
vintner on the regular LCBO shelves, note that this limited release is only found
in the Vintages section and represents a value well above the sticker price!

Corbieres

GÉRARD BERTRAND CORBIERES 2011
VINTAGES – LCBO Product #394288 | 750 mL bottle
Price $ 18.95
13.5% Alcohol/Vol.
Sugar Content Descriptor: D

Made in: Roussillon, France
By: Gerard Bertrand
Release Date: Nov. 8, 2014

Tasting Note
This is a firm and spicy wine style that is best enjoyed with foods such as stuffed
peppers, meatballs in spiced tomato and olive sauce, grilled meats of all sorts
and ripe cheeses.