Tuesday, August 28, 2012

THINK French Wine from Languendoc and Think GERARD BERTRAND by Philip S. Kampe

“To succeed in the Languendoc region of southern France, you need a clear understanding of the region and its visible and not-so-visible potential.  A true example is Tautavel or La Liviniere where we were pioneers. You need a clear strategy to become the leader in premium wines in the south of France. Ten or fifteen years ago, selling a bottle of wine was 60% a matter of quality. Today, it is one third quality, one third distribution network and one third marketing” 
Winegrower Gerard Bertrand sums up the wine scene  in France and speaks for the rest of the producers worldwide.
Gerard inherited his passion for wine and his love for the Languendoc region from his father, Georges. His father was a pioneer in creating and marketing super-premium wines from the region.
Gerard Bertrand, at age ten, had his first experience in harvesting and winemaking with his father. At age twenty-two, Gerard took over the family business after his father, Georges, untimely death.
When Gerard turned twenty-seven, he purchased Domaine Cigalus and Chateau Laville Bertrou , adding significant properties to his winemaking portfolio.
Today, Gerard owns six  properties in the Languendoc-Rousillion region and has over 900 acres of vineyards.
In addition to his vineyards, Gerard partners with over forty growers and over ten co-ops to source grapes. His wines range from affordable to collectable.
In 2002, at age thirty-seven, Gerard Bertrand purchased Chateau I’Hospitalet and started to develop wine tourism on his property.
His vision has paid off.
Chateau I’Hospitalet sits within and is surrounded by 2500 acres of trees, flowers and vineyards. Committed to sustainability and ECO friendly agricultural practices, Chateau I’Hospitalet has been deemed as a “Carbon Neutral Estate”—a symbol that designates harmony between nature and the environment.
This is a very rare award and is cherished by Gerard Bertrand.
The Chateau has thirty-eight guest rooms , a bar and lounge and a wine tasting cellar . Since 2004, the estate hosts an annual International Jazz Festival.
Chateau I’Hospitalet, located near Narbonne, overlooks the sea and is dedicated to the Mediterranean lifestyle and wine culture of the region.
Chateau I’Hospitalet is considered and recognized as one of France’s premier hotels and restaurants.
Gerard, a celebrated ex-Rugby player, recently explained his wine philosophy to me. He said in simple terms: “If you understand the evolution in consumer behavior toward expressive, well-balanced and elegant wines that are sold at fair prices, you will then succeed”.
And Gerard Bertrand has!
CREMANT de LIMOUX ($16.99) is an aperitif, a sparkling white wine that is full-flavored, crisp and elegant. Aromas of hazelnuts, lavender and white roses prevail. The bubbly wine is made from 70% Chardonnay, 20% Chenin Blanc and 10% Mauzac. This wine is well-balanced and has great acidity and is a real bargain.
TAUTAVEL ($13.99) is a red wine that is made from 50% Grenache, 35% Syrah and 15% Carignan. Aged ten months in oak, this exceptional wine is dark fruit driven that shows a special sweetness on the palate. The tannins are well-balanced and pair well with mature cheese and grilled red meat.
VIOGNIER ($14.99) is an exciting, crisp, white wine that pairs perfectly with all types of fresh seafood, chicken and shellfish. The bouquet of tropical flowers, hazelnuts and figs is overpowering, yet tame. Great acidity and balance make this a perfect summer wine.
GERARD BERTRAND is a name to remember when searching for high quality wines at reasonable prices.

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