Award-winning winemaker Gérard Bertrand owns numerous estates among the most prestigious crus of Languedoc-Roussillon. Gérard’s vision for Clos du Temple is to create a Grand Cru rosé from the Languedoc. Located in the heart of the region, Clos du Temple is crafted from the historic terroir of Cabrières, where eight hectares of vines are divided into a mosaic of seven small plots, farmed following biodynamic principles. Very old Cinsault, Grenache Noir and Syrah vines are perfectly suited to the well-draining, well exposed schist soils, while Viognier and Mourvèdre add complexity to the wine. This unique blend is designed to mirror a temple: Grenache acts as the foundations, old vine Cinsault and Syrah add columns and walls with sublime touches of Mourvèdre and Viognier as the dome.
2019 marks a return to a more Mediterranean profile than the previous year. There was less rain than in 2018; the rain fell mainly in autumn and winter, with a marked absence during the summer which experienced a series of heatwaves. Managing the water levels was a key issue in the vineyards. Mild temperatures in winter and spring resulted in early budding, which required protection from frost using special candles. Timely spring showers guaranteed a good supply of minerals essential for the growth and development of the leaf canopy. Flowering, véraison and ripening were all delayed by seven to 10 days compared to 2018. The vines were in excellent health at harvest and the grapes reached good levels of maturity.
The terroir draws its singularity from its geology: schist and limestone soils have combined with the hilly terrain to create a complex subterranean water network that provides an exceptionally natural and pure water supply to nourish the vines. The vineyard’s altitude of 240 metres provides balancing freshness to the southern/southwestern exposure which leads to good fruit concentration. Following biodynamic principles, horses and mules are used to strengthen the connection between minerals, plants, animals and humans. Each plot of vines, including old vine Syrah and Grenache (30 years) and Cinsault (50 years), is manually harvested at optimal maturity. The grapes are picked at sunrise taking advantage of lower temperatures, thus reducing oxidation. They are immediately transported to the winery which is in the heart of the vineyard to retain the high quality of the fruit.
The small bunches from each plot were cold pressed separately at 5°C to preserve the freshness, flavour and aromas and to obtain the delicate pale colour. Only the finest, free-run juice was selected, which underwent a 24 hour cold settling at 8 to 10°C without the addition of sulphur. Fermentation took place with selected yeasts. The wine was matured for six to eight months on the fine lees in new French oak barrels from the Tronçais forest and Jupilles, with bâtonnage adding texture and complexity. The wines were then blended on a ‘fruit day’ according to the biodynamic calendar.
A truly exquisite rosé, with precise aromas of ripe apricot, peach, delicate floral notes, spice and hints of mild tobacco. Perfectly balanced with extraordinary aromatic freshness, the creamy texture is stylishly interwoven with minerality through to a long, elegant finish.
Cinsault 40%, Grenache 35%, Syrah 15%, Viognier 10%.
• 93 Points, Robert Parker, 2021