About Nicolas Galy
With wine in his blood (he was raised in his family’s vineyard in Languedoc and has worked for producers around the world) , a remarkable background in education and business, a long history of playing professional rugby (like his current employer Gérard) and a love for cooking, it’s no surprise that Nicolas is one enthusiastic guy about what he does. Which is why we are super stoked to have him as our next Meet Your Maker guest, representing the prestigious wines of Gérard Bertrand. To learn more about Nicolas, click here.
About Gérard Bertrand
With 15 estates & exemplary terroirs, Gérard Bertrand is the ambassador of fine wines of Languedoc-Roussillon around the world. He has defended the wealth of his land with passion and enthusiasm for over 30 years.
Gérard Bertrand first joined in a wine harvest and discovered his passion for wine in 1975, in the vineyards of the Villemajou Estate in Corbières. He went on to learn more about wine for 12 years alongside his father, Georges Bertrand.
Attaching great importance to values such as performance and excellence honed on the rugby pitch, Gérard Bertrand continued his quest to bring out the best in terroirs from his region and promote them worldwide.
With that in mind, he decided to take on the running of the family's Villemajou Estate after his father died in an accident in 1987. Five years later, he created the Gérard Bertrand wine company to develop a range of products from the South of France.
What Nicolas Is Pouring
2017 Domaine de Cigalus Rouge
3oz $12, 5oz $20
2016 Château la Sauvageonne Grand Vin Blanc
3oz $12, 5oz $20
2016 Château la Sauvageonne Grand Vin Rouge
3oz $12, 5oz $20
2013 Château la Sauvageonne Volcanic Rosé
3oz $9, 5oz $14
FLIGHT: 4 X 3oz $40
Château la Sauvageonne
The Château la Sauvageonne is a legendary winemaking estate, where optimal sun exposure, perfect location and an exceptional terroir combine to produce wines of distinctive character. The vines are planted in the northern reaches of the Hérault département, in the shadow of the Causse du Larzac limestone plateau. This region has its own unique micro-climate, with substantial temperature variations: the distance from the sea and proximity of the Causse provide a touch of freshness on summer nights, allowing the grapes to mature slowly and gradually.
La Sauvageonne climate is one of extremes, with days scorched by the sun and nights cooled by the effects of altitude (between 150 and 350 meters), and currents of cool air that descend from the Larzac plateau.
The landscape is marked by the area’s volcanic past that surroundsthe Lac du Salagou, rich with basalt columns, swathes of schist and red soils known as ‘ruffes’. These are emblematic of the appellation, Terrasses du Larzac, and particularly pronounced at La Sauvageonne.
Nature at La Sauvageonne is as wild as it is generous. The biodiversity of the area makes it the kingdom of wild boars, but also a land of olive trees, including the regional Lucques du Languedoc, and of course, of vines.
Great diurnal amplitude in summer slows grape ripening, ensuring remarkable aromatic precision in the wines. The diversity of the soil made it possible for each variety to be planted in the most suitable terroir, where they would achieve their most beautiful expression. Owned by Gérard Bertrand since 2011, Chateau La Sauvageonne has been farmed biodynamically since 2012. The wines have been certified by Demeter. La Sauvageonne offers truly telluric wines, with a quality of tannin and mouth feel that reflect their volcanic origin. As a whole, the wines of La Sauvageonne are disarming through their sensuality and elegance.
Château la Sauvageonne Grand Vin Blanc
Appellation: AOP Languedoc
Grape Varieties: Grenache Blanc, Vermentino, Viognier
Vinification and aging:
The grapes are harvested by hand, with each variety brought in separately and only when the fruit has reached its peak maturity. The vinification process is tailored to respect the unique characteristics of each grape variety, and to capture the essence of our terroir. The grapes are de-stemmed and chilled to 8°C, then lightly pressed to extract only the finest juices. The must is then allowed to settle at a controlled temperature, with the duration of this settling process decided by the aromatic properties we are looking for. Fermentation also takes place at strictly controlled temperatures, lasting for anywhere between 2 weeks and a month depending on the clarity. Half-way through fermentation, a certain proportion of the must is transferred to for 6 months of maturing in 225-litre oak barrels. The wine is left to mature over fine lees, and stirred regularly. After a gentle fining process, the wine is bottled relatively early in order to preserve its fresh, fruity character.
Château la Sauvageonne Grand Vin Rouge
Appellation: AOP Terrasses du Larzac
Grape Varieties: Syrah, Grenache
Vinification and aging:
The harvest dates are determined on the basis of regular ripeness tests, with analysis of the polyphenol content of the grape skins and daily tasting of the fruit as the maturing process advances. All of the grapes are harvested by hand, placed in special bins and transferred to the winery, where they undergo rigorous sorting. Each variety and each individual plot of vines is dealt with separately. Some of the Syrah grapes are added to the vats in whole bunches, for carbonic maceration. The rest of the Syrah and the Grenache are de-stemmed and vinified in the traditional manner. Once malolactic fermentation is complete the wines are transferred to barrels, with each variety kept separate. The final blend is determined only after 12 months of ageing in the barrels. The wine is gently fined before bottling.
Château la Sauvageonne Volcanic Rosé
Appellation: AOP Languedoc
Grape Varieties: Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah
Vinification and aging:
A vineyard designed for an exceptional wine and committed to biodynamics. The care and attention put into the vineyard aims to produce a healthy harvest with a moderate yield, enabling the winemakers to extract the quintessence of these grapes' quality potential. The different grape varieties are therefore harvested separately and by hand when each reaches maximum ripeness. Vinification is regulated to respect the specific characteristics of the varieties and the capacities of their terroirs. The grapes are de-stemmed, cooled to 8°C and sent to the press to extract the rosé must. Particular attention is paid to pressing to ensure that the highest-quality juices are retained. The juices are then clarified to a greater or lesser extent according to the desired aromatic profile. The fermentation process lasts for 15 to 30 days depending on the level of clarification and the temperature applied. Mid-fermentation, some of the must is placed in 225l barrels where it will be aged on the lees with yeast stirring for approximately six months. Finally, after light fining, the wines are bottled relatively early to retain their fresh and fruity character.
Domaine de Cigalus
Gérard Bertrand purchased the estate in 1995. For years he had been treating himself using only homeopathy and eventually he decided to apply similar solutions to his vineyards, through biodynamics. This method of farming focuses on restoring the energy of the soil, using composts and biodynamic mixtures that are diluted in activated water.
The biodynamic approach involves all the natural elements surrounding the vineyard and work in the vineyard and cellar is done according to a calendar based on the cycles of the Sun and the Moon.
On a personal level, anewly-wed Gérard Bertrand made Cigalus his family-home. Upon the birth of his children, his appeal for biodynamic farming turned a new leaf, with him wanting to create and sustain a healthy environment for his family: “To live in harmony with the earth, and respect it, is the very least that we can do. Our quality of life depends on it, it is my guide, my motivation. Here the climate is drier, the contact with the earth, that has been battered by the winds and scorched by the sun, is almost carnal… At Cigalus we are in communion with the Earth, drawing our energy from it. ˮ
In 2002, Gérard Bertrand started practising biodynamics on a couple of hectares at Cigalus, with his expert team members, Gilles de Baudus and Richard Planas. The estate as a whole underwent a gradual but unstoppable conversion process, leading to Cigalus becoming Demeter certified in 2010.
Cradled in a secluded valley of the Corbières, in the terroir of Fontfroide (or “cold springs”), Domaine de Cigalus benefits from their tempering influences on its hot and sunny, semi-arid Mediterranean climate. The presence of numerous reeds on the property indicate the abundant water supply. The terroir could be considered too fertile for vines and the vigorof the vine has to be kept on a tight leash.
The climate is also offset by very deep soils (sediments deposited by the Aussou, a stream at the edge of the estate) which store the winter rains, but are less fertile due to the presence of a bedrock of sandstone from the secondary era. On top of it, the soil of sand and clay benefits from the complementary water draining and retaining qualities of each component.
This environment allows for a vast array of grapes to be selected, from the most precocious to the late maturing varieties. Cigalus lies in a non-AOC area and therefore knows no constraints on the matter. Gérard Bertrand has opted to maintain the previous owner’s preference for a diverse selection of varieties, including Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Caladoc, Syrah, Mourvèdre, and Carignan in red, and Chardonnay, Viognier and Sauvignon Blanc in white.
The combination of the quality of terroir and human choices made at Cigalus result in exceptional wines, in the sense that they are both of outstanding qualityand resolutely individualistic.
ABOUT MEET YOUR MAKER
Meet Your Maker is a continuing series of evenings spent with some of our favourite winemakers. Designed to buck the trend of formal winemaker dinners, MYM is a way to provide our customers with a casual and fun way to meet the winemaker while they themselves hang out at Midfield, eating and drinking, pouring their wines and chatting with anyone who cares to chat with them. MYM is a non-ticketed event; come for dinner, come for a snack or just drop by for a drink. While this is a non-ticketed event, space is usually limited so we recommend making reservations if you are coming in for dinner. Cheers!