Fitou is the very first granted appellation in the southern French region of Languedoc. It consists of two small enclaves within Corbières: Fitou Maritime, a clay-limestone band around the saltwater lagoons on the coast, and Fitou Montagneux, a patch of mountainous schist fifteen miles inland. It’s in the latter terrain, near the tiny village of Paziols, where Jérôme and Sabine Bertrand have been steadily improving the reputation of Fitou through the excellence of their own wines.
The domaine’s history can be traced back over a century when Jérôme’s great-grandfather, Jean Sirven, won plaudits for his wines at the 1900 World’s Fair in Paris. But the modern era for Bertrand-Bergé started in 1993, when the couple took the winemaking back into their own hands after a few decades of supplying grapes to the local co-operative.
Today, the estate is comprised of many old-vine parcels that cover an area of 84 acres dotted around the hilly countryside of Paziols, the air fragrant with the scent of wild juniper, thyme, rosemary and lavender of the local garrigue shrubland. The estate is cultivated entirely using organic techniques. Of the wide range of soils that are found in the region, the pudding stones found around Paziols contribute much to the high quality of the wines of Bertrand-Bergé by retaining daytime heat. But of course it’s the tireless effort of Jérôme Bertrand that can translate the unique charm of this place into world-class wines.
All prices based on the purchase of six or more bottles, mix & match.
~$21 “Origines” (Fitou 2014)
The Bertrand’s offer the affordable cuvée “Origines” as a starting point to enjoying the terroir of Fitou. A blend of 60% Carignan and 40% Grenache aged for 18 months in concrete, “Origines” delivers juicy ripe black fruits accented by clean earth.
~$37 “La Boulière” (Fitou 2014)
A deep, sappy blend of 50% Mourvèdre, 25% Carignan and 25% Grenache aged for 18 months in oak barrels. A grocery cart of aromatics like black raspberry, blueberry, smoked meat and earthy herbs precede a full-bodied, layered and elegant palate balanced by a muscular underlying structure. This wine should drink well over the course of a decade.
~$71 “Cuvée Jean Sirven” (Fitou 2013)
Extremely low yields produce the estate’s crown jewel named after Jérôme’s great-grandfather. A blend of 45% Carignan, 45% Syrah and 10% Grenache aged for 18-20 months in new French oak barrels results in a heady and concentrated wine loaded with fruit and capable of developing for over a decade if you can keep it out of your glass now.