Gérard Bertrand 2008 Minervois

made from Syrah and Carignan; 13.5% ABV
Appellation Minervois Protégée, southern France
$6 at the Oakland, CA, store on 31 March

Bertrand_2008_MinervoisAfter the Bertrand 2008 Tautavel and 2010 Pic Saint Loup, I eagerly grabbed a bottle of this wine.  Although it was not bad from first pour, I thought it needed about two hours of air in a decanter to come around to open up to its full complexity, showing red berries and a slightly funky complexity of earth / coriander seed.  An hour after that, it had darkened a bit to include ripe mulberry / blueberry, with a distinctive sappy bay leaf / black olive / oak, and a good amount of balancing acid.  Although I found these flavors unusual in my experience, I rather liked it.  If you prefer straightforwardly fruity wines, this may not be up your alley.

The second half, stoppered in a 375ml bottle with very little air, elegantly integrated the flavors of the first night into a very pleasant wine.  The previously slightly weird, funky aspects were subdued into interesting background complexities.  The fruit is ripe and soft, but still with a good amount of zingy balancing acid.  Seedboy has reported a couple of corked bottles, but otherwise people seem to have liked it.  If there’s any more around, it’s probably a good wine to stock up on, even after the sale.


7 thoughts on “Gérard Bertrand 2008 Minervois

  1. EHL

    Finished almost a full bottle of the ’08 GB Minervois that I had opened the night before, while listening to Luther V. today while out for a sail on SF Bay.

    When first opened, the wine was a brilliant, dark garnet in color and the nose was rather closed and muted. After an hour, it opened up with a subtle bouquet of dark plum, black olives and loamy earth. The flavors shadowed the aroma, with the addition of tart black cherry and cassis.

    The wine was medium/full-bodied, dry, with a rich mouthfeel, and slightly acidic, although well-balanced and restrained…definitely not fruit-forward nor jammy. The finish was lingering, with teabag tannins that massaged the palate to a slightly puckering, peppery conclusion.

    This is a nice, understated, elegant wine that is much improved with food…had it with baby asparagus spears, British Devon cheddar and multi-grain bread that took it to another level.

    However, I wouldn’t give it a WS 91 rating…compared to our Napa/Sonoma/Paso Robles wines rated the same.

    After all, there is a reason why the French wine cognoscenti in the Judgment of Paris (and its redux) rated our California wines superior in all respects…LOL. Sorry…to all you French apologists…

  2. seedboy

    I liked two of the four bottles of this wine that I opened, and for those the review is accurate. The other two, corked.

    1. 5-Star Bar

      I am officially coming out strongly in favor of this Gerard Bertrand Minervois as well as several other bottlings in the Bertrand Appellation d’Origine Controlee (AOC) series.

      While some on the blog have indicated that they have been generally underwhelmed with these wines I can honestly say that I am generally a big fan of them.

      While I can’t claim that the Minervois was “love at first sip” immediately upon opening, it only took about 30 minutes of air for me to completely change my opinion.

      Initially I would have ranked it 3rd or 4th behind the Tautavel, La Clape, and perhaps on a par with or slightly behind the Pic St. Loup. But then, after only about half an hour, the magic began to happen…

      All of a sudden the Minervois (named after Minerva – the ancient Roman Goddess of Wisdom (and, it should be said, also Magic) began to transform into a much more complex, elegant, and enchanting wine. Very European in style but with enough fruit on its entry to please a broad range of consumers. Big Thumbs Up. A little patience with it will be richly rewarded… Difficult to imagine a better series of French wines with Quality to Price Ratios (QPR) than these.

      Wine Spectator Score – 91 Points

      1. delmartian1

        I was pleased to find the Minervois at the Oceanside store this morning. Since I have not seen the Tautavel or the La Clape down this way, I’ll compare it to the Pic St. Loup and it comes in second place. I have very fond memories of Minervois as my very first wine purchase 40 years ago was Ch. de la Madeline, a Minervois, at $2.39 (cheapest French wine in the store but a bargain for a starving student). As with most wines from the Midi, I paired it with BBQ chicken today at lunch and it did not disappoint.

        1. JoelA

          Just finished a bottle of this Minervois last night. For various reasons we drank it over four days, at the end of which it still was tasting quite nice. On first being opened the wine was a bit harsh )not uncommon for wines from this area) but after a day or so it became much more pleasant as the harshness dropped off and the fruit began to shine.

            1. BargainWhine Post author

              Berkeley today has at least 8 or 9 cases of the this wine on the floor. Also 24 cases out of the Evening Land Chardonnay.

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