2008 Gerard Bertrand Cotes du Roussillon Villages Tautavel Grand Terroir

"I cook with wine; sometimes I even add it to the food." ... W.C. Fields

It’s dark purple with brilliant edges on the glass. It really is beautiful to look at, but even better to smell:  aromas of raisin and dark chocolate covered plums. A little sweet (for my taste), yet as it airs in the glass this dissipitates and becomes balanced with a smooth-velvety texture and silky mouth feel. It softens like an exquisite Amararone  della Vallpolicela, but your taste buds will know the difference. What is this elixir, and could this possibly be available at the WineMizer price?

Happily, the answer is yes.  The wine is Tautavel, made by Gerard Bertrand (Wine Enthusiast’s “2011 European Winery of the Year”) and – from Wine Spectator – “Best Value Winery from France.”  Wine Spectator awards this delicious juice 90 points, and the Mizer awards it “4 glasses” based on its taste and affordability.

Tautavel begins its journey to you from the south of France, specifically the Languedoc, more specifically the SubRegion of Roussillon.  The wine is often referred to as Tautavel Grand Terroir because the location, climate and calcareous red clay and limestone boulder soil make for a great terroir. It carries the appellation “Cotes du Roussillon Villages Tautavel” because Tautavel is one of the four regions recognized within Roussillon as a source of particularly high quality wines.  With 800 acres planted (maximum yield 2.6 tons per acre) Gerard Bertrand represents 90% of the Tautavel appellation.

Inside the bottle is a blend of 50% Grenache, 35% Syrah (a.k.a. Shiraz) and 15% Carignan. Grapes are manually harvested and each grape varietal is vinified separately before blending. The juice is aged ten months in barrel before bottle aging.

O.K., let’s get to the results: A delicious balance of plum, mocha, and melted chocolate, the last part especially noted in the long finish.  The tannins will leave your mouth just a little dry but in a way asking for more.  And sip more you will happily, each taste leaving a finish of plum skins and chocolate and spice.  Is this an accident?  It seems not. Wine Spectator awarded this same wine 91 points in 2007. The wine holds up to moderate aging, and if you’re lucky you might find the 2007 vintage available at your local liquor merchant.

How about pairing this wine with slow braised short ribs in a marjoram infused tomato sauce reduction and Greek style baked potatoes? It would go great with stuffed peppers.  The wine will do well with most grilled meats and goes well too with another glass of itself.

Finally, let’s apply the Mizer qualifier:  This (2008) wine was priced at just over $14 at Mariano’s Fresh Market. Sometimes you just gotta love a global economy!
………………….. Jim

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