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Sat Apr 15, 2006 2:07 am


Portland, OR

WTN: Gerard Bertrand Cigalus 2010 Pays d'Oc

by Hoke » Thu Jan 24, 2013 1:51 am

This is the last of three wines from Gerard Bertrand I recently tasted. The first two were in the more traditional AOC style of Tautavel and Corbieres. Domaine de Cigalus is a 22 hectare property west of Narbonne where Bertrand grows "international" varieties and farms biodynamically for fruit intensity.

The Domaine de Cigalus Rouge 2010 is a Cabernet/Merlot 50/50 blend, and obviously made more in the "new" style.

The Languedoc is normally dry, sun-drenched and warm, and most grape varieties reach full maturity here. Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot grown in sterner climates where maturity is not a given frequently show vegetal “green” notes from the pyrazines of unripe grapes and are often strident with screeching tannins. The warmer conditions and longer seasons of the Languedoc soften the harsh astringent tannins and give soft, plump, rich and fully ripe---sometimes over-ripe---fruit.

Bertrand employs biodynamic farming principles to emphasize the fruit character and allows the grapes to develop to their full potential under the warm sun, vinifies, blends, and then puts the wine in French oak casks for 12 months to add toasty warmth and vanilla spice, and follows it with bottle aging in the cellar before release.

Cigalus Rouge 2010 is clearly a Cabernet-Merlot blend, with the cassis liqueur of the Cabernet rounded out by the meaty plum and blueberry softness of Merlot. It’s full and rich and round in the mouth, luscious and velvety-soft, with the berry aromas and flavors laced with toasted spices, a touch of anise, fennel, vanilla bean, cedar and dark-roast coffee.

True to its climate, this is a Bordeaux-blend, but it’s not from Bordeaux; it’s actually more reminiscent of the north coast of California, with an abundance of lavish fruit, but it stops short of sticky jamminess. The wine is still in its brash youth, but the style suggests it will have a long life; when the rich fruit mellows a bit and the toasty wood subsides, the Cigalus should mature into elegance and grace.

For the entire article, with slideshow and video of Bertrand, go to

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