The wines of the estate
Revealed to Gérard Bertrand by a ray of sunshine crossing the bell tower of La Livinière, as if drawn by a luminous brushstroke on a Midsummer's Day morning, the Viala plot invites the three grape varieties of the appellation Minervois La Livinière (Syrah, Grenache, Carignan) at an altitude of 250 metres. This parcel is located in a world of dry stone walls and capitelles, a Minervois landscape par excellence, which forms a causse on a balcony overlooking the Aude valley: Cella Vinaria was already a major centre of wine production in Languedoc in ancient times.
Gérard Bertrand acquired Château Laville-Bertrou in 1997, two years before the village of La Livinière was transferred to the AOC Minervois. Already recognized by the Romans who called it "Cella Vinaria", wine cellar, La Livinière is the sunshine capital of an appellation already among the warmest in France. Reference of the appellation, Laville-Bertrou produces wines that express the quintessence of this atypical terroir. The 75 hectares of vineyards of Château Laville Bertrou are made up of very fragmented plots, separated by stone walls built in clavage (on the edge, to limit erosion) and sowed with capitelles (shelters for the winegrowers and their tools). These stone walls are characteristic of the property. The dry sandstone stones come from the plots of land, their extraction and then the assembly of the walls represent a long and patient work that requires a real know-how.
Character & Nature
Laville-Bertrou owes the depth and complexity of its wines to the unexpected combination of one of the sunniest and warmest climates in France and a limestone subsoil containing a significant amount of water. The vines have to bury their roots deep to reach it through a mosaic of stripped marl, combined with calcareous sandstone and compact limestone dating from the Eocene (Tertiary era). The altitude, up to 230 metres, still brings freshness and thermal amplitude, a promise of aromatic precision in the wines. The feeling of peaceful serenity that emanates from the vineyard on sunny terraces, surrounded by garrigue under the song of cicadas, would almost make you forget the titanic work represented by the dry stone walls that support them. The fragmentation of the numerous plots of Syrah, Grenache Noir, Mourvèdre and old Carignan vines makes working the vines a daily exercise in rigour and patience. Behind the sunny generosity of Laville-Bertrou's wines lies a long and hard work, coupled with a miracle of nature in the subsoil. The grapes come from sustainable agriculture, in accordance with the Terra Vitis approach, which guarantees the traceability of cultivation practices verified by an independent body.
After the manual harvest, the grape varieties are vinified separately: Carignan and Syrah are vatted in whole bunches and undergo carbonic maceration followed by alcoholic fermentation at low temperature which preserves their fresh and crisp fruit aromas. The Grenache and Mourvèdre are destemmed and undergo a traditional maceration. The wines are racked at the end of the alcoholic and malolactic fermentation, blended and then put into 225-litre Bordeaux barrels for a maturing period of 10 to 12 months depending on the vintage. A blend of Mediterranean wisdom and the mad passion of hard work, the Laville-Bertrou wine speaks, serenely and effortlessly, of the garrigue that surrounds the vines and the sun that has cradled it. Between genius and madness, it draws a delicious line that passes through precise points: in A. the crunch of very fresh black and red fruit, in B. the present but melted tannins, in C. the long and delicately toasted finish.
Château Laville-Bertrou, "De Travail et de Miracle" (Of Work and Miracle)
occitan: The Villa Bertrou, from the germanic berhauthari, from berhaut - famous and hari - military: the house of the famous warrior): domain where the miraculous gifts of nature are appreciated in serenity but are conquered with great struggle.