As concern grows globally about impacts of climate change, viticultural practices take center stage in many wine focused conversations. Pros and cons of sustainability, organic, and biodynamic farming are weighed heavily throughout the wine community in whispers and roars. For winemaker, Gérard Bertrand, who has been farming biodynamically for 16 years in France’s Languedoc region, the shift in focus is welcome, but not for all the reasons one might think.
Sixteen years ago Bertrand decided to migrate his 15 wine estate vineyards in the south of France to biodynamic farming. It began as a curiosity in 2002, a discovery into homeopathic medicine that lead to experimentation in the vineyards. The transition resulted in more diversity in the vineyards, culminating in greater expression in the wine.
At the time, biodynamic farming was rare in the region so the conversion was not a business or even much of an environmental decision, the focus was on improving the quality of the wine. Today, with over 1,000 acres of vineyards farmed biodynamically, Bertrand embraces the environmental benefits, and has become a leader in the region and France, as a whole.
As a savvy businessman, he embraces opportunities to promote the Languedoc-Roussillon region. His efforts demonstrate the world-class wines the region is capable of producing, at incredible value prices. He partnered with Jon Bon Jovi in crafting Diving Into Hampton Water Rosé (read review here) in an effort to promote the south of France art of living – relaxed, gastronomical, light and airy like a good jazz song.
Bertrand’s Château l’Hospitalet, located between Narbonne’s city center and the Mediterranean Sea, reveals another aspect of his desire to promote the region. This wine making estates features a 38-room 3-star hotel, restaurant, tourism center, and shops embracing the wine and gastronomical lifestyle of Languedoc. It looks like a magical spot for a romantic getaway or a destination wedding.
This month the French Winophiles, under the guidance of L.M Archer, are exploring the biodynamic wines of Gérard Bertrand. I am already a fan, having enjoyed many of his wines in the past. Additionally, I think he is a great ambassador for the under-appreciated Languedoc region, a place high on my list, but have yet to explore.
For our May drinking pleasure, I received a sample of the 2018 Gérard Bertrand Cigalus Blanc, a blend of Chardonnay, Viognier, and Sauvignon Blanc. It opens with aromas of yellow apples, lemon curd and zest, ripe peaches, drips of lavender honey, and notes of bitter almond. The palate is wide, rich, and exuberant. It reveals additional notes of tropical fruit in a silky texture with a toasty finish. I would prefer a bit more acidity, but it is a lovely wine. It embodies many aspects I love from this region—the diversity of grapes, the gastronomical nature, and the elegance juxtaposed with the power of the sea.
Pairing recommendations include shellfish and seafood. After two weeks on the road, with another long trip on the horizon, we enjoyed this wine on a Friday evening with Chinese take-out, to highlight its diversity. We had quite a feast— “Xiao Long Bao” Soup Dumpling, Spicy Ahi Tuna with Asian Pear Summer Rolls, Shanghai Style “Lion Head” Meat Balls, Beef with Black Pepper, and Flat Noodles with chicken. The wine paired seamlessly with each course, from the dumplings, to the spicy tuna, beef dishes, and poultry. It was an overall success. The wines of the Languedoc are so versatile and food-friendly, this wine is no exception.
Check out what my fellow #winophiles discovered with Gérard Bertrand:
Lynn Gowdy – Savor the Harvest: “This Biodynamic Wine Is a Summer Pleaser + Saturday Culinary Concoction.“
Wendy Klik- A Day in the Life on a Farm : ” New Wine Paired with an Old Favorite.”
Camilla Mann – Culinary Adventures with Camilla: “Lemon-Caper Halibut + Gérard Bertrand 2018 Cigalus Blanc”
Linda Whipple, My Full Wine Glass : “Languedoc Wine Meets Lebanese Cuisine”
David Crowley – Cooking Chat: “Savoring a Special White Wine from Souther France”
Pinny Tam – Chinese Food and Wine Pairings: “Exploring Languedoc-Roussillon with Chateau Millegrand Minervois Mourral Grand Reserve + Chinese Charcuterie Board #Winophiles”
Robin Bell Renken – Crushed Grape Chronicles, “Exploring the Grand Terroir of Gérard Bertrand with Tautavel and La Clape“
Jeff Burrows – Food, Wine, Click: “Butter Roasted Fish with Gérard Bertrand’s Cigalus Blanc”
Jane Niemeyer – Always Ravenous: Chicken Korma with Gérard Bertrand Cigalus Blanc”
Cindy Lowe Rynning – Grape Experiences: “The Wines of Gerard Bertrand: Expect Joie de Vivre with Every Sip”
Susannah Gold – Avvinare: “A Wine from Gerard Bertrand: A Larger than Life Figure”
Deanna Kang – Asian Test Kitchen: “Gerard Bertrand Rose Paired with Subtly Spiced Shrimp”
Cynthia Howson & Pierre Ly – Traveling Wine Profs: “Comfort Food and Sunny Red: Gérard Bertrand Côtes des Roses with Senegalese Mafé and Fonio”
Jill Barth – L’Occasion: “A Name To Know: Gérard Bertrand”
Gwendolyn Lawrence Alley – Wine Predator:”Bertrand’s Biodynamic Cigalus Paired with French Sausage”
Liz Barrett – What’s in that Bottle: “Get to Know the Winning Wines from Languedoc Icon Gérard Bertrand”
Nicole Ruiz Hudson – SommsTable: “Cooking to the Wine: Gérard Bertrand Grand Terroir Tautavel Grenache-Syrah-Carignan with Saucy Lamb Loin Chops”
Rupal Desai Shankar – Syrah Queen: “A Commitment To Languedoc – The Biodynamic Wines Of Gerard Bertrand”
Payal Vora, Keep the Peas: “Aude: Alive in More Ways Than Wine”
L.M. Archer: “The Hedonistic Taster: Gérard Bertrand 2018 Cigalus Blanc”
Please join us to discuss Gérard Bertrand, biodynamic viticulture, and the south of France this morning at 10am on Twitter using #winophiles. A special thanks to Lynn Archer and Gérard Bertrand wines.
24 responses to “Celebrating Biodynamic Viticulture And The Beauty Of The Languedoc With Gérard Bertrand #Winophiles”
An interesting man, definitely a proponent of the Languedoc! It would be great to talk to him about his operation and if his thoughts have changed at all. Originally as you said it was “not a business or even much of an environmental decision” but for wine improvement. Much is at stake due to climate change. At any rate, nice relaxed food pairing!
I agree. I would love to sit down with him and learn how he sees it all now.
Great story about Gérard Bertrand’s effort in biodynamic viticulture and promoting Languedoc. Nice pairing choice with between the Chinese take-out and the Cigalus!
Thank you, Pinny. Only wish I had remembered to take a picture of all the delicious food.
Love the ‘whispers and roars.’ Nicely done!
Thank you. Love the wine! Some day I need to visit and sit down with him.
Gerard Bertrand so fascinating and it was fun to read your tasting notes!
Fun pairing! What a great wine to come home to — and how great that it paired so well with such a range of flavors and dishes!
I agree, only wish I took photos of the food.
He is a very interesting man and a marvelous wine maker.
I agree. Thanks, Wendy.
You had me at Lions Head meatballs. That is my kinda feast! Nice to see the wine did so well with all the courses, especially the beef and pork ones. I will have to try that pairing too!
Thanks Deanna. I am sorry I neglected to photograph the food. It was a great pairing.
I’ve always been impressed that Gerard Bertrand wines could be organic/biodynamic and still be marketed at such reasonable prices (today’s wine excepted!). The climate of the Languedoc helps, but it’s still impressive.
I agree, the QPR has always been quite favorable.
The silky texture and toasty finish of this wine seems like a great match for Chinese food. What serendipity!
It definitely worked well.
Great article! Bertrand’s Château L’ Hospitalet is definitely on my destination bucket list.
Agreed, he’s definitely a great ambassador for the region. I’ve also long appreciated his wines.
I have as well. Thanks, Nicole.
I really like his Grand Terroirs wines, but need to search out the Cigalus Blanc. He is a great ambassador for the region and for biodynamics. I would love to visit Château l’Hospitalet at some point! Thanks Michelle!
What a great voice for the region and for biodynamics. Also, I didn’t know he did a project with Jon Bon Jovi!! Wow!