Gérard Bertrand 2008 Tautavel “Grand Terroir”

Appellation Côtes du Roussillon Villages Tautavel Protégée, France
made from Grenache, Syrah, and Carignan; 14% ABV
$6 at the Berkeley, CA, store on 13 Dec.  Likely also still at Richmond.

Bertrand_2008_TautavelI didn’t get this wine for a little bit because I couldn’t recall the vintage of the previous Bertrand Tautavel I reviewed.  However, I finally looked up that it was the 2006, and, strange circumstances aside, I seemed to have liked it reasonably well.  Thus, I got a bottle yesterday.

The wine had an initial gentle nose of dark fruit and musty earth.  The palate showed a complex of soft, ripe briary (a Parkerism, yes?) fruit of blackberry / boysenberry / black raspberry, black cherry, purple grape, light earthy caramel, a little clove, and soft tannin.  The wine was good from first pour, but seemed to become a little more accessible and complex over an hour or two.

Longtime commenter Expat wrote: Deep, dark, brooding fruit (can’t believe I wrote that) [ed. note: also a Parkerism], dry with great structure and good tannins but still has chewy fruit. Lots of blackberry, plum and spice. Tastes French but with some New World leanings, maybe because it’s from a warmer region.

The next day, the saved single-glass, screw-cap bottle had fruit maybe a little redder than the previous night, but was otherwise very much the same.

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22 thoughts on “Gérard Bertrand 2008 Tautavel “Grand Terroir”

  1. weinish

    I have been to Bahn Mi Ba Le, but I think Cam Huong on 8th and International is better because I like the bread much more. Also, there’s less teenage prostitution ruining the dining experience…

    Eeek!

    But I will go there and try the #13.

    I don’t have wine with my food there because these places close at 6pm. I try to begin drinking a little later.

    Reply
  2. Seedboy

    EHL, I know that place well. I am kind of working my way through that menu. I like the eel, and the lemon grass pork. The prices are great. I think Saigon Sandwich makes better sammies, though.

    Reply
    1. EHL

      Hey SB…I’ll certainly have to try out Saigon Sandwich now…and if you are in the South Bay, you have to sample Huong Lan on Tully St. in San Jose, whose bahn mi are superb, but IMO the true stars here are the exceptionally succulent Cantonese Roast Duck and BBQ Ribs…i.e., even Chinese folks in SF Chinatown drive all the way down here to get it!

      BTW, just to remain kosher for this blog, you need a pretty robust Red to accompany the rich and delicious umami of these dishes.

      Reply
  3. Seedboy

    So I need to try Cam Huong. I would invite a way to connect about East Bay food. The proprietors of this space however really want to keep it to wine.

    Reply
  4. BargainWhine Post author

    A week ago, I think, a stash of this showed up at the Oakland store, a bit after it had previously sold out. The wine man there said the stash had been discovered recently “in the office” and there was nothing wrong with it. However, the two extra bottles I bought from it were distinctly passing the top of the hill in terms of starting to get too old. Instead of being smoothly drinkable right away, they needed a bit of air, and never came together as harmoniously as earlier bottles had. Has anyone else recently had this experience with this wine?

    Reply
    1. 5-Star Bar

      I opened a bottle of the 2008 Tautavel within the last week and am happy to report that it was drinking beautifully from the first night to the last (48 hours, 3rd night). Gobs of Blueberry tempered with dusty tannins and lovely spice.

      Reply
  5. 5-Star Bar

    I love this wine! A Cotes du Roussillon Villages from a small village in the Pyrenees mountains not far from the Mediterranean (the population in 2007 was a mere 903 inhabitants) just north of the Spanish border which may help to explain why Grenache (Spanish: Garnacha) is the primary varietal. The 2008 Gerard Bertrand is a blend composed of:

    Grenache (50℅)
    Syrah (35℅)
    Carignan (15℅)

    While I also enjoyed the fruit forward but nevertheless unmistakeably European 2010 Pic St Loup from the same producer, the Tautavel is a slightly more sophisticated, elegant, more classically European style red, especially on the first night.

    Given a couple if hours in a decanter, or vigorously swirled off and on for a time as I did, this wine to me evoked savory notes of both dried Blueberry and, to a lesser degree, Raspberry or perhaps Boysenberry on the palate. The finish was long, complex and pleasantly dry with an herbal element that I found reminiscent of “herbes de Provence”. The dusty tannins – some have described this in online reviews as like “Cocoa” (powder I’m guessing) gently and pleasantly resolve on the finish and there is adequate but balanced acidity to round out the package.

    On the second night the wine had softened considerably and was more New World in style. More fruit forward and with a smooth, less tannic finish. Still very good, just less traditionally European and jammier in a way that many drinkers might even prefer. So whether you enjoy a more classicly European wine or a more fruit-forward New World type of wine either way, given a day’s patience you will come out a winner. For the jammier fruit forward version just pour out a glass to drink the first night, then re-cork the bottle and let it sit overnight. The next evening, Voila!, like magic you will have it. If you prefer the European style I recommend drinking this with company on the first night.

    Wine Spectator Rating
    90 Points

    Reply
    1. EHL

      Hey 5-Star Bar…while going back through the comments on Gerard Bertrand’s numerous wines, I just saw your take on the ’08 Tautavel.

      A very nice review…something to chew on and digest…and I’m really sorry I missed this French wine but will definitely keep an eye out for it!

      Reply
  6. Seedboy

    I opened a bottle when it appeared a week ago and thought it too jammy. I’ve not returned it, shall revisit tonight.

    Reply
  7. weinish

    I have enjoyed it. Bought 3 bottles. Think it does have a bit of that “new world” taste, but certainly not over the top. Very simple, drinkable, and forward. Drinking it now. Just had a rib.

    Reply
    1. BargainWhine Post author

      Hi weinish. Does this mean you and yours are no longer vegetarians? I’ve often wondered how some fuller reds get paired with veg food.

      Reply
      1. weinish

        Hey there, didn’t see this.

        My wife will ALWAYS be a vegetarian.

        I’m meat about once a week, and trying to give up beef. Unfortunately, chicken has been letting me down quite a bit lately. Want to be more involved with fish, but I have some type of aversion to cooked fish. It’s weird.

        As for this wine, I’m super bummed I didn’t buy a lot more of it because like the Barbaresco, it was consistently great. Also Bertrand has won European winery of the year, and now has a bottle listed in Wine Spectator’s Top 100 at #73, with some of the same varietals.

        It’s funny how that little cardboard ad they have around the neck turns me off, when it probably should not have.

        Fuller reds go well with the food at her soon-to-be-closed restaurant, Millennium. That food is rich. I think you can get away with fuller reds and some spicy Indian foods that are vegetarian.

        Btw, sidenote to all of you living near Oakland. GO. EAT. AT. SPICES 3!

        Place is outstanding.

        Won ton soup, Kung Pao Tofu (only tofu dish i’ve ever liked), sizzling beef, diced green beans, and everything else. Place is amazing, and they never charge me corkage.

        Cheers.

        Reply
        1. seedboy

          Weinish, I recommend Binh Minh Quan on 12th street in Oakland as a great restaurant (VIetnamese) that does not charge corkage. We bring our own good stemware and open our own wine, they don’t care. Limited veg choices though. BTW the Pleasant Hill store still has the Tautavel.

          Reply
        2. Darrell

          I noticed “but I have some type of aversion to cooked fish” and my natural reaction was, would raw be better? If so, white would be my choice as it would be for raw, red meat. Being an any-excuse- to-drink-wine person, I lead a sheltered food life since chili spicing and wine don’t get along with my tongue. Don’t like the lingering burn aftertaste. I eat chili, but then I don’t have wine. Those of you who have lived in the Bay Area for decades, SF especially, may remember a time when the prevailing Chinese food didn’t see a chili, Japanese food didn’t have chili and there was no SE Asian food, Korean or Indian food to speak of where there is high usage of chili. No peperoncino in my Italian food and forget Mexican. About as hot I get with wine is a fully coated steak with cracked peppercorns, but that seems to be a different heat since the tongue recovers. So wine bottles go to American, French, Italian and Cantonese cuisine. Weinish, since it is Chinese New Year, may I suggest Chinese Buddhist cuisine, especially Jai or Lo han jai. There is no use of chili and there is a lot of legume use. You and your wife might already know about this kind of food. If I ever bump into you, we’ll talk chicken.

          Reply
          1. weinish

            I was never a fish guy growing up, and lately I’ve been eating some cooked “white” fishes. I will eat sushi; nearly any type.

            An example would be this: there’s Cam Huong Vietnamese Sandwich shop on Int’l bet 7th and 8th. The place is very inexpensive, but it’s amazing. The most expensive item of their sandwiches is the Salmon, which presumably cost them more. Yet I won’t get it because even though I’ll eat the meats there, which are probably not high grade, the fish option scares me. Same with Tilapia at a taqueria.

            Nice restaurant? I’ll get the fish. But I don’t really go to nice restaurants.

            We may need our separate food/wine chat room outside of the wine reviews!

            Reply
            1. Darrell

              I bet those sandwiches have a jalapeno or two and hence no wine for me. Hmmm, sounds like piscesphobia, Weinish.

            2. BargainWhine Post author

              No problem! I also love Cam Huong on Webster. 🙂 I usually just get the #1 Banh Mi. I grew up in Hawaii and sea fishing on the East Coast, so I’m used to various varieties of fishy stuff, although not always with wine.

            3. EHL

              Sounds like you guys enjoy Vietnamese cuisine…..FYI, the best bahn mi in the Bay area is at Bahn Mi Ba Le, located on Intl. and 19th in Oakland, a short run from Chinatown.

              Number 13 on the sandwich menu, Xiu Mai Meatball with a runny Fried Egg, is absolute ambrosia…for $3.50, nonetheless, and everything else is great, too !

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