Apres Skiing

I’ve had quite a string of older Gerard Bertrand’s the past couple years which were embarrassing to my general heavy endorsement of the label. Maybe it’s a supply-chain thing, but they just haven’t seemed to be aging well. I realize these are inexpensive wines, but we’re talkin under 10 years here, and I don’t care HOW user-friendly or *drink fresh* a wine is: if it can’t last a decade, there’s a problem. So I decided to try a young one. And a Roussillon–something also I am classically very hard on. Was it Michael Broadbent or Hugh Johnson who wrote, “These are the roughest wines in France.”? I can’t remember, but that was 30 or 40 years ago, and, as Bob Dylan put it so perfectly: Times have changed. But I still think Languedoc and Roussillion are the *roughest wines in France*.

Black, black ruby in the glass, with perhaps a hint of garnet at the edge. Fairly flaccid nose, chubby and scorched, a dark berry headed Zinfandel and prune but on steely clean wings. It’s a bit rustic-smelling, but no barnyard, vegetal or brett, just chubby and warm. Dark but simple, a tiny bit of spice and briar livening things up–but barely.

Things improve a bit on the palate, as searing acid and unresolved heat punctuate the ripe–but thin–fruit. Cherry and bitter pepper provide balance to the murky leather and tar of Mourvedre, while the Syrah feels stupidly young. The whole package–while good–provides a wine drinking well beyond its price-point, but lacking in substance. Hard to put my finger on, but it feels thin over here and toasty over there and obtuse in some areas while startlingly acute in others. I will NOT say–as I do often with GSM–the character has been blended out, and I think this wine could easily go 10, but the fruit will suffer. There’s no finish. It’s just chalky dry rasp masquerading as tannin without a fortification of fruit. This is not a Grand Terroir contender, merely a uninteresting “food-wine” with an arguable amount of charm. And that *charm* takes searching.

2016 GERARD BERTRAND Grand Terroir ‘Les Aspres’ GSM Cotes du Roussillon Sud France 14.0


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