Are you familiar with a region of France called the Languedoc (pronounced lahng-uh-dock)? It’s smack at the center of the south of France and there is a man there who has built a veritable empire of wine: Gérard Bertrand. My first encounter with Monsieur Bertrand’s wines was in January 2018, when the French Winophiles focused on wines from the region and the sample box contained a bottle of Gérard Bertrand 2014 Corbieres, a GSM blend (Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre) that I loved (big, bold and juicy but balanced, with a bit of restraint – not a blowsy-wowsy show-off wine).
Since then, bottles of his wine seem to jump off store shelves and wine lists at me, and they are always delicious.
Thanks to the French Winophiles group, I received a bottle of 2018 Domaine de Cigalus White from Gérard Bertrand, and I went a little nuts over it. But first, let’s explore a few burning questions about the man and his wines.
What’s the Story with Monsieur Bertrand? He is one of a kind! He was born in 1965, and had a brilliant career as a rugby player from 1984 to 1994. After his father died in 1987, Gérard took over the family’s Villemajou wine estate, and in 1992, he went all-in, establishing his own wine company under his own name.
He has acquired one vineyard after another, gradually building an empire across the region.
What Type of Wines Does He Make? Oof, a lot! Reds, whites, rosés, sparkling wines – he does it all! And you know what? He does them well. This post would be crazy long if I listed all the grapes and wines, but you can find single varietal wines as well as blends, ranging in price from $16 for his popular Côte des Roses rosé (Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah) to well over $200 for his Clos d’Ora Rhône blend (GSM + Carignan). And you know what else he makes? Jon Bon Jovi and Jesse Bon Jovi’s rosé called Diving Into Hampton Water (about $20) and it’s really good.
Biodynamic farming is an important value of M. Bertrand, and he pays close attention to detail. I love biodynamic wines, because I really think they do express the terroir – you can taste the place.
Let’s talk a little about the Domaine Cigalus 2018. I tasted it before reading anything about it, and my reactions were as follow: “Hmmmm… I taste oak… it tastes creamy, like ripe peaches wrapped in edible satin.” It slid right over my tongue like magic. Chardonnay? Then I took another sip. “Wait a minute! There’s some zippy acidity going on … my mouth is watering — Sauvignon Blanc? Hold on .. hold on … is Viognier at this party too? I taste apricot and honey… what the hell is happening here?”
Well, I’ll tell you what’s happening – all three of those grapes are in this bottle of wine! Come on! That’s crazy! But M. Bertrand is nothing if not innovative and somewhat of a trendsetter, so that’s what it is – a white blend, of Chardonnay, Viognier and Sauvignon Blanc, with 70% of it aged in new oak and 30% of it aged in steel vats. It’s freaking delicious!
What to Eat With This Domaine de Cigalus Wine? Oh, Lord. This was somewhat of a shit-show, but I’m going to share the good, the bad and the ugly with you. I’ll start with the bad: whole roasted cauliflower.
I was dying of curiosity about a recipe I’d read in Milk Street magazine for whole roasted cauliflower seasoned with nothing but salt and pepper and olive oil. So I made it. And it was … disappointing. Bland. Bah! I think that food writer had to have been tripping when he tasted it in some romantic Israeli café. So now it’s Tuesday night at 8:15 and I got nothing.
Until … a dive into the cupboard revealed … wait for it… boxed mac n’ cheese. Yep. I thought about it. Held the box in my hand. Thought … “well, this wine is on the rich side, with a nice weight to it … it is practically begging for something with some richness to it … ” and that is how the mac n’ cheese pairing happened.
And you know what? Perfection! Amy’s Organic white cheddar shells ‘n cheese ($1.19 a box) with a beautiful, biodynamic white blend from Gerard Bertrand ($51.99 on wine.com). The chewy, al dente texture of the tiny pasta shells with the salty (and a little peppery as you can see) richness of the cheese sauce stood up like a French chateau to this wine: proud and elegant. It’s fun to pair high-low wines and foods.
And since I exercised some serious restraint, I still had some wine left the other night and just for fun, paired it with a goat-cheese and beet salad and that worked really well, too! I had roasted beets in the fridge, some good lettuce, walnuts (which I lightly candied in a sauté pan with a little butter and sugar), fresh goat cheese from Gretta’s Goats and drizzled it with white wine vinegar, walnut oil and a shake of salt. Really good. That creamy goat cheese and the walnuts brought it all together with the wine.But
Take a look at the Languedoc section of your wine shop and see if a bottle of Gerard Bertrand doesn’t jump into your cart. I think you’ll like it!
Posts from our Fellow French Winophiles
But wait, there’s more! Check out these other posts on Gerard Bertrand, and join our monthly chat on Twitter on Saturday May 17 at 10 am CDT. Just enter the hashtag #winophiles on Twitter.
- Michelle Williams – Rockin Red Blog: “Celebrating Biodynamic Viticulture And The Beauty Of The Languedoc With Gérard Bertrand #Winophiles”
- Lynn Gowdy – Savor the Harvest: “This Biodynamic Wine Is a Summer Pleaser + Saturday Culinary Concoction.“
- Wendy Klik- A Day in the Life on a Farm : ” New Wine Paired with an Old Favorite.”
- Camilla Mann – Culinary Adventures with Camilla: “Lemon-Caper Halibut + Gérard Bertrand 2018 Cigalus Blanc”
- Linda Whipple, My Full Wine Glass : “Languedoc Wine Meets Lebanese Cuisine”
- David Crowley – Cooking Chat: “Savoring a Special White Wine from Souther France”
- Pinny Tam – Chinese Food and Wine Pairings: “Exploring Languedoc-Roussillon with Chateau Millegrand Minervois Mourral Grand Reserve + Chinese Charcuterie Board #Winophiles”
- Robin Rankin Bell – Crushed Grape Chronicles, “Exploring the Grand Terroir of Gérard Bertrand with Tautavel and La Clape“
- Jeff Burrows – Food, Wine, Click: “Butter Roasted Fish with Gérard Bertrand’s Cigalus Blanc”
- Jane Niemeyer – Always Ravenous: Chicken Korma with Gérard Bertrand Cigalus Blanc”
- Cindy Lowe Rynning – Grape Experiences: “The Wines of Gerard Bertrand: Expect Joie de Vivre with Every Sip”
- Susannah Gold – Avvinare: “A Wine from Gerard Bertrand: A Larger than Life Figure”
- Deanna Kang – Asian Test Kitchen: “Gerard Bertrand Rose Paired with Subtly Spiced Shrimp”
- Cynthia Howson & Pierre Ly – Traveling Wine Profs: “Comfort Food and Sunny Red: Gérard Bertrand Côtes des Roses with Senegalese Mafé and Fonio”
- Jill Barth – L’Occasion: “A Name To Know: Gérard Bertrand”
- Gwendolyn Lawrence Alley – Wine Predator:”Bertrand’s Biodynamic Cigalus Paired with French Sausage”
- Liz Barrett – What’s in that Bottle: “Get to Know the Winning Wines from Languedoc Icon Gérard Bertrand”
- Nicole Ruiz Hudson – SommsTable: “Cooking to the Wine: Gérard Bertrand Grand Terroir Tautavel Grenache-Syrah-Carignan with Saucy Lamb Loin Chops”
- Rupal Desai Shankar – Syrah Queen: “A Commitment To Languedoc – The Biodynamic Wines Of Gerard Bertrand”
- L.M. Archer: “The Hedonistic Taster: Gérard Bertrand 2018 Cigalus Blanc”
Great post, and love the Mac & Cheese plot twist! Yay for serendipitous wine pairings. Planning is overrated 🙂
Thanks! The mac n cheers inspired me to stop overthinking sometimes! Cheers to you, thanks for reading!
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LOL, this post is solid gold and so much fun to read. That whole roasted cauliflower does sound a bit odd, so I’m so glad you pointed that out. I just love that the pairing worked so well with a good ‘ol box of mac’n cheese. But it was also organic so a fitful pairing with a biodynamic wine!
Thanks so much!! Thanks for reading.
Great pairing ideas that everyone can do and enjoy. The roasted whole cauliflower is a thing now! This Cigalus seems to go so well with cheesy dishes. You pair this wine with all vegetarian dishes too!
Thanks, Pinny! I hadn’t even realized I went all-vegetarian!
First your description of tasting this wine is perfection (I need to get a bottle). Next, thank you for sharing your pairings, the good and the bad. I will avoid the roasted cauliflower (it was on my list, and I can cross it off now). Here’s to Amy’s! And lastly, thank you for inspiration for that bag of walnuts on my counter. I have been just tossing them on salads and feeling a little bland about it. They need to be candied! I can do that! Thanks for a great piece and for making my lunch a little happier!
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Oh my! What an almost fiasco! But good quality mac n cheese in a box is still good quality mac n cheese and I bet it was delicious!
[…] Liz, What’s in that Bottle: Get to Know the Winning Wines from Languedoc Icon Gérard Bertrand […]
I’m sorry the cauliflower was so disappointing. Thank goodness for quick, easy and economical comfort foods.
Nothing wrong with classing up boxed mac-n-cheese with a nice bottle of wine!
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I know cauliflower was the “it” vegetable recently, but honestly cauliflower needs help, like cheese! Good pivot to a cheesy box of mac n cheese! As always your posts are so entertaining to read and make me laugh out loud😊
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Thanks, Jane! I’m now waiting for new gluten-free mac n’ cheese w/ cauliflower “pasta”!
Thanks for keeping it real! Who doesn’t go rooting around the cupboards from time to time? Good ol’ mac and cheese is bound to please – and with a wine like this one, how can you go wrong? Cheers!
Love your description of first tasting Cigalus- Hum, wait, zippy! OK, the whole roasted cauliflower… I get that it can be bland. I have a recipe that I think would be a bang with Cigalus. I’ll email it to you (and Robin), it sits on Romesco and then some. Cheers to Cigalus, mac n cheese, and Bertrand wines!
Great description of the wine! I’m so sorry that the whole-roasted cauliflower was bland — that’s really tood bad. I’ve I had a few versions that were bang’n. (Lynn’s version above with Romesco sounds awesome too!) The rest of the pairings sound really delicious!
Thanks, Nicole! You never how good or bad a recipe is til you try it! Cheers!
[…] Liz Barrett – What’s in that Bottle: “Get to Know the Winning Wines from Languedoc Icon Gérard Bertrand” […]