Gerard Bertrand Grand Terroir Les Aspres 2013

W Gerard 2013Rhone Red Blends from Languedoc-Roussillon, France

50% syrah

40% mourvedre

10% grenache

14.0% alcohol

Opened 3 Nov 2017

els 9.1/10

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

W Mount Canigou

Vineyards below Mount Canigou in France. Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

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.



Bila-Haut Occultum Lapidem 2014

W Bila HautRhone Red Blends from Languedoc-Roussillon, France

Proprietary blend of syrah, grenache, and carignan

14% alcohol

els 9.2/10

Wine Advocate 92

Wilfred Wong 91

Wine Spectator 90

Occultum Lapidem, in Latin, a hidden stone, wine birthed in the valleys and terraces on the northern flanks of the Pyrenees in southern France, about 25-30 miles from Catalan Spain, and 20-25 miles from the Gulf of Lion in the Mediterranean Sea, near the small villages of Latour and Lesquerde; not far from the path of Hannibal’s army and elephants around 218 BC, marching towards the heart of the Roman Empire. The Pyrenees’ rock layers, jumbled, and thrust together in towering, reaching for the heavens, jagged waves, by the cataclysmic joining of the Iberian peninsula subducting beneath southern France, supply the building blocks for the vineyards’ difficult and cantankerous soils.  The soils, composed of gnarled gneisses, and pressured schists, both from the Devonian (maybe Precambrian gneisses), along with Jurassic chalky carbonates, impart diverse and distinctive, but obviously, as noted below, delicious and enticing flavors to the wines.

This Rhone red blend has a dark garnet color, extolling pleasant aromas of blackberries, cherries and plums, spicy and full-bodied with very balanced tannins and acidity.  Beautiful finish.

An outstanding wine.


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