Gerard Bertrand Banyuls 2012
Gerard Bertrand was born and raised in the South of France. Making wine with his father, Georges, since the age of 10, Gerard Bertrand offers the full range and diversity of wines from the region – red, white, rose, varietal, appellation, estate, still, sparkling, and dessert.
Every wine evokes the image and emotions from the South of France; "Art de Vivre" – the "art of life." Committed to producing quality wines of great value, Gerard is hands on in every facet which bears his name… and has been fortunate to receive great accolades from World Wide press reinforcing his dedication.
"I welcome all to experience the South of France; here at Chateau L'Hospitalet or at your own home or favorite restaurant."
Unique among the vins doux naturels of Roussillon, all Banyuls wines are made predominantly of Grenache's many variants. Grenache Noir, the most respected, makes up the majority of Banyuls wines. By law it is a minimum of 50% of the blend, and 75% of the blend for Grands Crus wines. The pink-skinned Grenache Gris is next in importance, followed by Grenache Blanc and other local varieties. While the Muscat grapes are permitted, they can be present only in very small proportions.
The region itself, located in the far southern corner of Roussillon on the border of Spain, includes about 1,000 hectares of fully-exposed, sun-drenched, Mediterranean-facing terraced vineyards. These punishing conditions result in shriveled berries and concentrated juice, whose fermentation process must be arrested with fortification (locally called mutage) when the must reaches 15% alcohol. A finished Banyuls is typically about 16% with some residual sugar; without mutage, it would end up a dry wine with closer to 19% alcohol.
Some producers deliberately expose their wine to the harsh Mediterranean sunlight, set outside in glass demijohns, for an effect called rancio, similar to the effect of maderizing, or giving an overripe (but appealing) character. The bouquet on Banyuls wines typically includes aromas of baked or dried fruit and sweet spices. Red versions have the tell-tale Grenache aroma of sweet, spiced strawberries. Banyuls wines must be aged for 12 months in wood, or 30 months in the case of Grands Crus Banyuls.
Apart from the classics, we find many regional gems of different styles.
Late harvest wines are probably the easiest to understand. Grapes are picked so late that the sugars build up and residual sugar remains after the fermentation process. Ice wine, a style founded in Germany and there referred to as eiswein, is an extreme late harvest wine, produced from grapes frozen on the vine, and pressed while still frozen, resulting in a higher concentration of sugar. It is becoming a specialty of Canada as well, where it takes on the English name of ice wine.
Vin Santo, literally “holy wine,” is a Tuscan sweet wine made from drying the local white grapes Trebbiano Toscano and Malvasia in the winery and not pressing until somewhere between November and March.