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18 July 2010

Languedoc: Domaine Bertrand-Bergé, Fitou

A serene daytrip back in late September 2006 (keep reading for updates), taking in the wine villages of western Fitou country, set the scene ruggedly for discovering three wineries, one big (Cave Mont Tauch) and two small (this one and Dom. Lerys)... Jérôme and Sabine Bertrand revitalized this old 30 ha (75 acre) property in 1993 to start making "real wine" again. The family had stopped producing wine in the 1960s becoming co-operative growers; now they prefer the personal touch to shape quality and styles of wine by doing everything themselves. It shows too: these are arguably among the best in the area. If you're looking to stay in the Fitou highlands / southern Corbieres, have a look at the website where you'll find details on their holiday house in the village and nearby "camp site" (a piece of rugged land actually)...

Le Méconnu Cabernet Sauvignon - Carignan, vin de pays Côtes de Torgan - nice liquorice and tobacco notes on a blackcurrant/cherry backdrop, fairly chunky and concentrated actually. €4.20 85
2004 Fitou Tradition - lovely herbal blackberry fruit aromas lead to very fruity palate turning savoury and leather, easy start v more serious finish. €6.40 87+
2004 Fitou les Mégalithes (mostly old Carignan) - maybe a touch corked as it seems a little stripped? Anyway, much tighter and firmer than above v 'sweet' liquorice fruit, powerful length. €9.30 89+
2003 Fitou Ancestrale (Carignan Grenache Syrah) - delicious ripe fruit then chunky structured mouth-feel, firm tannins v 'sweet' coating. €8.50 89-91
2004 Fitou Ancestrale (Carignan Grenache Syrah) - similarly attractive black fruits with light cedar oak, more closed up than above, tight fine finish shows class and potential. €8.50 90-92
2004 Fitou Jean Sirven - spicy wood v lush fruit, nice balance of power and concentration v elegance and length, dry grip v coating mouth-feel. €30 90-92
Rivesaltes Ambré Grande Réserve - complex Madeira and whisky notes layered with pecan nut sweetness, nice bite giving drier nutty finish. €8.80 50cl 88-90
2003 Rivesaltes Tuilé Ma-ga (Grenache) - delicious ripe oxidising plum and tobacco nose, quite powerful alcohol (which should integrate as it's young) but lovely sweet spice and earthy fruit; wow. €18 90+ 

Update summer 2010
Jérôme told me they've been "converting over to organics step by step, using less and less treatments... now more "natural" products and an "intercept" (a clever but simple tool attached to a tractor for removing weeds under the vine rows). We've noticed a difference... we'll be fully certified from 2013, although in fact some plots have been for longer anyway."
2009 Le Méconnu white vin de pays Torgan (Muscat) - nice aromatic grapey floral style, clean and crisp with zesty citrus and mineral finish. 80+
2009 Le Méconnu rosé (Syrah) - crisp and zesty with gentle red cherry fruit, elegant and mouth-watering. 80+
2008 Le Méconnu Merlot - attractive plummy vs leafy style, touches of tobacco and "inky" spice too; juicy and soft palate with a bit of oomph and grip underneath, convincing varietal style.80+
2008 Origines Fitou (Carignan Grenache) - perfumed fruity blackcurrant and blueberry notes; more liquorice and spice in the mouth with nice tannins, subtle concentration and quite elegant length. 85-87
2007 Les Mégalithes Fitou (95% old Carignan) - complex herbal vs red pepper nose underpinned by richer cassis and black olive notes even; again shows that subtle concentration vs firmer and more solid backdrop, nicely textured tannins too with closed up and fairly fine finish. About €10 89+
2007 Ancestrale Fitou (Carignan Grenache Syrah) - different aromatic profile with more cherry, richer and hints of tobacco; "sweet vs savoury" mouth-feel, concentrated yet elegant with rounded vs dry tannins; grippier finish with dark vs crunchy fruit, still youthful really. About €10 88-90
2007 Jean Sirven - lots of smoky bacon oak swamping it; it does add nice coconut texture and it's certainly concentrated, but can't really get anything else!
2008 Muscat de Rivesaltes (Muscat petits grains) - piercing citrus and honey aromas, sweet grapey marmalade vs lively fresh bite and lighter touch in the end. 85+
2008 Proposition Tardive (Muscat, 14%, 140 g/l residual sugar) - toasted notes plus caramelised orange and lemon, pretty sweet to start but shows nice cut and rounded coconut palate; closes up on the finish, quirky and promising. 87+
2007 Rivesaltes Tuilé Ma-ga (Grenache 17.5% alc.) - serve chilled: nice dark plum, liquorice and tobacco nuances; touch of chocolate oak vs lush and spicy, appealing grip and oomph vs sweet cherry fruit. 89+

2012 update - Fitou report featuring their 2009  Ancestrale.

Avenue du Roussillon, 11350 Paziolswww.bertrand-berge.com

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