“A Wine from Gérard Bertrand: A Larger than Life Figure – #winophiles”

Today’s post, the first in a long while, is about a wine that I received as part of the French #Winophiles group. The wine is from Gérard Bertrand and is called Cigalus Blanc, it’s a 2018 Biodyamic wine from IGP Aude Hauterive.

In my title I say Bertrand is larger than life and that’s for a few specific regions. He is extremely tall, 6′ 5″, a former star Ruby player, handsome and most importantly a force for his region – the Languedoc Roussillon. He inherited a very large property from his father  with some 920-hectares and 15 vineyard empire throughout the Languedoc. and began moving towards biodynamics. Now he is a leader in the field with a very large property, that boasts a Jazz Festival each summer at Château  L’Hospitalet, a 38-room hotel,  a Michelin-rated restaurant named L’Art de Vivre , and a book out called  “Wine, Moon and Stars: A South of France Experience.”

If all of that wasn’t enough, he’s also doing work to encourage the protection of our planet. As an avid follower of biodynamics, he spoke at the recent conference in Portugal called “Climate Change Leadership: Solutions for the Wine Industry.”

Biodynamics as we know is a complicated topic that emerged from a series of lectures held in 1924 by the Austrian Doctor Rudolf Steiner .

Steiner believed that the farm needed to be looked at as a self-supporting entity that could prosper through a system of biodiversity He blended into his philosophy an approach that included soil, plant, animal and human health and their interplay with the cosmos and Mother Nature. He created different preparations that could help boost the immune system of the farm and he believed they would activate a virtuous cycle throughout the farm environment. Interestingly, Bertrand himself came to biodynamics after visiting a homeopathic doctor.

Getting back to our wine, it comes from the Cigalus vineyard, a property Bertrand purchased in 1995.  Bertrand made Cigalus his family-home. With the birth of his children, he wanted to create a healthy and sustainable farm. While he had been using homeopathy on himself for years, his foray into biodynamics on his farms began with a couple of hectares at Cigalus in 2002. Thanks to help from a team including Gilles de Baudus and Richard Planas it became Demeter certified in 2010.

Domaine de Cigalus has a Mediterranean climate but it is also in an area known for its cool soils which are very deep with sedimentary deposits from the Aussous, a local stream near the property. The soils are a bedrock of sandstone from the secondary era with top soils of  sand and clay which offer good drainage as well. Cigalus is not in an AOC area and this wine is an IGT. The Aude Hauterive  is home to a range of mountains that rise to 2000 ft or 600 meters above sea level. This is important because it brings a cooler climate and breezes that temper the hot semi-arid Mediterranean climate which allows quality grapes to thrive.

In fact, the yields on this wine are extremely low at 25 hl/ha, meaning they select the very best grapes. All the work they do in the vineyard is in tune with the biodynamic calendar and guided by the Moon and the Sun.

The wine is a blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Viognier. All three are harvested by hand.  Some two-thirds of the wine goes through fermentation in new French barriques while the other third ferments in stainless steel. The three separate musts are then blended and aged in barrels until the equinox. They do a fair bit of lees stirring.

I tried it immediately when I received it as a sample for this tasting. I loved both the appearance and the aromas and flavors I found on the nose and palate. It had great texture and aromatics which come both from the varieties used and the wood. Viognier jumped out of the glass with floral notes but there was also a lot of tangy fresh hay which came from the Sauvignon I’m sure and the richness and honey, apple from the Chardonnay.  I brought it a family dinner and had it with a beautiful Turkey that we were eating. I think it would pair well with a number of different foods thanks both to the aromatics and structure of this wine. I was intrigued by this wine which costs around $36 about and look forward to reading everyone’s thoughts and our discussion today.

I really enjoyed jumping into this topic. I met Bertrand many years ago when he hosted a lunch at Per Se for 50 journalists. It was a meal I would never forget and he was then and even more now, a larger than life figure to me.

Join the French #Winophiles (Twitter: #Winophiles) later today, Saturday, May 18th from 11 am – 12 pm ET as we discuss the Gérard Bertrand Wine Cigalus Blanc.


Here’s who’s coming from French #Winophiles:

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 WhippleMy 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 Bell Renken – 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”

Payal Vora, Keep the Peas: “Aude: Alive in More Ways Than Wine”

L.M. Archer: “The Hedonistic Taster: Gérard Bertrand 2018 Cigalus Blanc”


  1. Great bio of Bertrand who seems to have it all but never gets too comfortable and stops pursuing innovation. His conversion to biodynamic viticulture and promotion of Languedoc will help expand his success story for generations to come!

  2. This is a wonderful inside look into Gerard Bertrand and his wine estates. It read like a story, and I learned so much in the details you’ve included. (I like the part about him being good looking too :))

  3. I always appreciate your articles and tasting notes as you bring interesting bits and pieces into them. Here it’s nice how you tell which grape each aroma/flavor comes from.

  4. So much good information in this post. And yes, to your larger than life comment, in my post I share a pic of when I had the chance to meet Gerard Bertrand a few years ago, and he towers more than a full head above me.

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