Rhone Red Blends from Languedoc-Roussillon, France
Opened 3 Nov 2017
Wine Advocate 90-92
Gerard Bertrand, living a charmed life, grew up in the vineyards of southern France, a rugby union flanker for 10 years, captain of the team in 1993-1994, winemaker, owner and manager of 13 estates in the region of Languedoc-Roussillon; not exactly a Dickens’ Pip, but one who has reached heights of achievement likely unimagined by his father, Georges.
The vineyards for this Rhone Red are located in sun setting shadows of Mont Canigou, one of the lofty peaks of the Pyrenees along the French-Spanish border, 30 miles from the Mediterranean coast. The area around the mountain is known as Les Aspres, meaning arid in Catalan, forested at higher altitudes, barren scrublands occupying the lower, flatter altitudes.
Les Aspres, officially delimited, as a red wine only, viticultural area in 2004, is a sub-region of the Cotes du Roussillon appellation, in Languedoc-Roussillon, southern France. The Les Aspres label is reserved for Roussillon’s higher-quality red wines.
The land rises gently from the Mediterranean coast in the east to the Pyrenean foothills in the west. Most wineries and vineyards are located at altitudes around 330 feet. The climate for Les Aspres is definitively Mediterranean, with long, hot, dry summers; temperatures ranging from the low 80s during the day to the low 60s, Fahrenheit, at night; delivering rains of less than one inch per month from June through August. The
poor soils within Gerard Bertrand’s Les Aspres vineyards are generally Tertiary, detrital and alluvial schists, ranging in size from pebbles to silt.
The Syrah and Mourvedre, the primary grape varieties, along with secondary grenache, are used to produce these rich, full-flavored Les Aspres wines. The area, recently, is undergoing a ‘wine revolution’; fine wines replacing the past production of sweet table wines.
This wine has a splendid garnet-brick color. The bouquet brings forth visions of plums, prunes and cloves. The acidity and tannins are smooth producing a full-bodied wine with a long finish. Serve with lamb. Decant and aerate for at least one hour.