Gérard Bertrand 2008 Banyuls

Appellation Banyuls Protégée, (southern) France
Vin Doux Naturel, a type of fortified wine; 16% ABV
Made from Grenache Noir and Grenache Gris
$9 for 750ml at the Richmond, CA store on 3 Nov

Bertrand_2008_BanyulsI did not know what Banyuls was before finding this wine, so I am still learning about it.  Apparently, it must be made from at least half Grenache, and the fermentation is stopped early by adding grape spirits, increasing the alcohol and retaining the sugar from the grapes.  It struck me as sort of in between Port wine and a Cotes du Rhone.

The wine shows Grenache flavors of red / black cherries and black raspberries, red grape, maybe redder plum, lighter raisin, and wood.  While the fruit is sort of like a Cotes du Rhone, it’s obviously sweet and shows a slight oxidation.  On the other hand, it’s not as heavy and sweet as a young Port.  It went well with dark chocolate, but not so well with dates, which seemed a little too sweet.  I expect roasted nuts would be a good complement, maybe a creamy blue cheese.  The Bertrand web site says, “To be enjoyed at 16°C (61°F), with fruit desserts or Catalan pastries but also as an aperitif.”  Overall, it’s quite pleasant and an interesting experience, but I won’t be getting more.  Part of that is that I’m not that into dessert wine, and part of that is that it’s not especially complex, although it is better than Donna’s Dessert wine ($6).  I’m curious about what others here think of it.



2 thoughts on “Gérard Bertrand 2008 Banyuls

  1. BargainWhine Post author

    DelMartian1 commented November 7, 2014 at 4:18 pm:
    Picked up the Banyuls last Wednesday. It is very much like LBV port but lighter in intensity. I usually enjoy port with cheese and tried substituting the Banyuls. That didn’t really work but it would certainly go well with fruit.

  2. BargainWhine Post author

    After two nights of this wine’s being open, I am liking it better. The simpler redder fruit has given way to darker, funkier and tangier, more purple fruit. It actually reminds me a good bit of the Bertrand Pic Saint-Loup, although of course sweeter. I may get another bottle of this to lay down for a while.

    However, tonight, I found out that it actually did not pair that well with Trader Joe’s Roquefort blue cheese, was okay with Trader Joe’s roasted unsalted Oregon Hazelnuts, and was still best with dark chocolate.


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