GERARD BERTRAND, at age 10, had his first experience in harvesting and winemaking with his father. At 22, GERARD took over the family business after his father, GEORGES, passed away. When GERARD turned 27, he purchased DOMAINE CIGALUS and CHATEAU LAVILLE BERTROU, adding significant properties to his winemaking portfolio.
In 2002, at age 37, GERARD BERTRAND purchased CHATEAU l'HOSPITALET and started to develop Wine Tourism on this property. In the heart of La Clape, the CHATEAU l'HOSPITALET sits in 2500 acres of beautiful vineyards. Committed to sustainable and ECO friendly agricultural practices, CHATEAU l'HOSPITALET has beed deemed as being a CARBON NEUTRAL ESTATE--a symbol that designates harmony between nature and the environment. The CHATEAU is now home to 38 unique guest rooms, a bar and lounge, a wine tasting cellar and home,since 2004,for the annual International Jazz Festival, hosted by GERARD BERTRAND. The estate, overlooking the sea,is dedicated to the Mediterranean lifestyle and wine culture.
GERARD BERTRAND was recently in New York and hosted a Luncheon at PER SE. GERARD was Master of Ceremonies educating all that attended with his vast knowledge and passion for wines from his estate.
GERARD BERTRAND said " To succeed in the LANGUEDOC region, you need a clear understanding of the region and its visible or not-so-visible potential. You need a clear stategy to become the leader of 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's one-third quality, one third distribution network and one third marketing."
GERARD BERTRAND is a tall man. An ex-World-Class Rugby player, now a World-Class Vineyard owner. GERARD does everything in a Big Way. Like his wines, elegant and well-balanced, GERARD is a seasoned host and wine professional. GERARD introduced himself to the forty or so invited guests, one-by-one, as they sipped three APERTIF's upon arrival. CREMANT de LIMOUX was served first. The CREMANT was full flavored, bubbly and lively ($16.99). The second Apertif was GRIS BLANC IGP Pays D'OC,which was crisp, fruity and flavorful ($13.99), followed by GERARD's exotic, citrus oriented,floral, fresh MUSCATO ($13.99). The wines paired perfectly with an array of passed food from the legendary PER SE.
GERARD BERTRAND seated us in the dining room,which overlooks Central Park. He talked about his wines, his estate and hotel. Today, GERARD BERTRAND owns six estates in the Best regions of Languedoc. The 900 acres of vines reflect all of the varieties of the region. GERARD, also partners with 10 cooperatives and 40 winemakers in the LANGUEDOC-ROUSSILLON region.
As GERARD spoke, wines were being poured--wines that pair with each course. Our first course was Herb Roasted Filet of Atlantic Halibut with San Marzano Tomato Marmalade, Cassoulet of Beans, Pickled Green Tomatoes, Mizuna and Whole Grain Mustard Emulsion. GERARD poured RESEEVE SPECIALE VIOGNIER 2010,a wine that is rich and lush, full of tropical fruits with a lively, crisp finsih ($14.99). CIGALUS VIN de PAYS D'OC 2009 followed. The wine is made of 80% Chardonnay, 15% Viognier and 5% Sauvignon Blanc. This magnificent wine ($49.99) is smooth, elegant and lush with hints of vanilla, tropical fruits and toasty oak. A new fall release was previewed;AIGLE ROYAL LIMOUX 2009, a 100% Chardonnay wine that is complex,intense and elegant.
ALL WINES PAIRED PERFECTLY with the Halibut. We are at PER SE,of course!
The next course, after a long discussion about the previous wines and the upcoming wines,with Gerard Bertrand, was served. RIB-EYE OF SNAKE RIVER FARMS BEEF with Yukon Gold Confit, Arrowleaf Spinach, King Trumpeter Mushrooms and Young Onions were paired, again, PERFECTLY, with GERARD BERTRAND'S Wines: COBRIERES GRENACHE.SYRAH MOUVEDRE AOP 2009 ($15.99). The wine was rich, concenrated with full-bodied black fruit and vanilla overtones. At $19.99, GRAND TERROIR PIC SAINT LOUP 2009, made with 55% Syrah; 35% Grenache and 10% Mourvedre Carignan blew me away. Minerality and richness describe this liquorice nosed wine. At $24.99, CHATEAU L'HOSPITALITAS COYEAUX du LANGUEFOC La Clape 2008,made with Syrah, Grenache and Mourvedre, was a perfect match for the beef. This wine is ready to drink. Medium tannins match well with beef. A true winner.
Cheese followed: RONCAL with Compressed Fennel, Apricot Membrillo, Picholine Olives, Toasted Pine Nuts and Aragula Pistou teamed with three different wines that retail at $74.99: LA FORGE CORBIERES-BOUTENAC 2009; LA VIALA MINERVOIS La LIVINIERE 2007 and L'HOSPITALITAS COTEAUX du LANGUEDOC La Clape 2008. This was a MATCH,Made In Heaven.
As a suprise with dessert,TECH CHOCOLATE MOUSSE, Whiskey Puree and Almond Ice Cream a 1929 LEGEND VINTAGE MAURY ($380) was served.
GERARD BERTRAND knows how to Raise Awareness about his wines. His ambition is to reveal the strength and potential of one region: LANGUEDOC.
HE HAS SUCCEEDED!
PHILIP S. KAMPE