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Strong, full-bodied and richly flavoured Fitou, and from one of the top producers in this appellation in the deep south of France, with a reputation for making wines with finesse.
Product Code: FC40271
View all products by Domaine Bertrand-Bergé
Jérôme and Sabine Bertrand having been making wine near the tiny village of Paziol since 1993 but six generations of Jérôme’s family have preceded them, right back to his great-grandfather Jean Sirven, who won plaudits for his wines at the 1900 World’s Fair in Paris. They continued to make wine until the 1960s when the decision was taken to supply grapes to the local co-operative. 1993 was the year when Jérôme and Sabine took winemaking back into their own hands. The decision has proved to be farsighted and they have earned a reputation as one of the best domains in Fitou. They now oversee 33 hectares of organically farmed vines, planted with grenache, syrah and carignan with an average age of 60 years. The wines are matured in concrete rather than new oak for the simple reason that Jérome and Sabine have no room for barrels, though they have their eyes on converting an old stable for the purpose.
Where do we start in a region so huge? With production nearly three times that of Bordeaux, or more than the whole of Australia, the Languedoc-Roussillon accounts for about a third of all French wine made. The sheer scale of production and the intense competition to channel such volumes through to the market means that in most years supply is greater than demand so prices are kept in check. It is not for nothing that wines from the South of France offer such great value for money. Here you get what you pay for. The trick is to get beyond the gain line and tap into a rich vein of almost endless vinous pleasure. Appellation Contrôlée and Vin de Pays (also known as IGP – Indication Geographique Protegée) - officially, these are two quite different wine worlds that live side by side almost, seemingly, in complete ignorance of each other's existence. Luckily, reality is different and most producers see no conflict between the two and many produce wines under both codes. Nor is one necessarily better than the other. Indeed many of Languedoc's most iconic wines, such as Mas de Daumas Gassac and Grange des Pères, are Vin de Pays. So why the difference? The status of Appellation Contrôlée was gradually conferred to the historic heartlands of Languedoc-Roussillon, in other words those sites in the foothills of the Massif Central and Pyrenees where viticulture has existed since the Romans. Appellation status is also about taste and about wine made from a narrow selection of mostly Mediterranean grape varieties.Vin de Pays (IGP) was introduced to improve the quality of what was then the mass of 'vins ordinaries'. It confers an identity to wines coming from those areas that were planted during the big periods of expansion, mostly in the plain between Narbonne and Pézenas. It allows for higher yields than AC, and, more importantly, allows a much wider palette of grape varieties for the growers to choose from.In terms of grape varieties Languedoc-Roussillon is France's answer to the New World. In the duality of Appellation Contrôlée and Vin de Pays, the conformism of Parisian bureaucracy goes hand in hand with the creative spirit of pure liberalism. So in terms of grape variety, almost anything goes! Native Languedoc and Roussillon varieties are at the heart of all appellation wines. With a changing climate and a tendency to extremes of weather, these ancient varieties are gaining favour.Carignan is the workhorse of Languedoc especially in the drier west. At its best, it produces a wine that is deeply coloured, quite tannic, sappy with brambly fruit. Many producers have woken up to the qualities of carignan if it is treated with respect and low yields are achieved.Grenache produces round tasting wines, often with low tannin and high alcohol and is rarely to be found on its own except in the fortified reds of Roussillon.Cinsault belongs in the heat of North Africa. In the South of France, it is widely grown and can add fragrance and lightness of touch to big brawny reds, but more often it is made into rosé.Like carignan, the native whites are more obviously associated with high production but with careful handling can produce wines of real interest. There is maccabeu and grenache blanc, grown mostly in Corbières and Roussillon. Clairette, grown mostly in the east, closer to the Rhône. Terret is grown extensively around Marsseillan, home of French vermouth. Maybe the best of all is the piquepoul which east of Beziers produces good quaffing dry picpoul de Pinet. Muscat used to be grown exclusively for vin doux naturel such as Saint Jean de Minervois and Rivesaltes but also produces full-flavoured dry wines of some interest.The biggest change in the South of France was the introduction of other grape varieties to help boost quality. For the reds, syrah was the most obvious import and is now widely planted and is usually part of a blend with grenache and/or carignan. Syrah is at its best where there is a little humidity such as in the east around Pic Saint Loup. Mourvèdre is much more complicated to grow but has a real future in areas close to the sea such as in parts of Fitou and Corbières.For the whites, roussanne and marsanne have also journeyed south from the Rhône to add finesse and flavour to Mediterranean blends. Increasingly, the Corsican vermentino, also known as rolle, can be found in blends where it often has a positive influence.Bordeaux has for long been an important connection for the Languedoc with the Canal du Midi there to prove the link. Not surprisingly, Languedoc producers were quick to introduce Bordeaux varieties in their vineyards. Merlot is the most widely planted and in some years has been very profitably exported in bulk to California or back to Bordeaux. The later ripening cabernets are probably better suited to the climate of the south and have great potential.Another revolution across the South of France has been in the quality of the whites. Before new standards of cellar hygiene and refrigeration were introduced, the concept of a fresh, dry and fruity Languedoc-Roussillon white wine was nigh impossible. Growers like Pierre Bésinet at Domaine du Bosc and Louis-Marie Teisserenc at Domaine de l'Arjolle were quick to spot the potential and successfully plant chardonnay, sauvignon and even the mysterious viognier.Regional StylesLanguedoc-Roussillon is such a large region that it is impossible to generalise about the entirety. It helps to divide it into three main sections: Eastern Languedoc, Western Languedoc, and Southern Lanuedoc. The east includes excellent appellations like Faugères, Côteaux du Languedoc, Pic saint Loup and Montpeyroux. The style of wine produced here is often Rhône-like: generous, thickly textured and often high in alcohol. Syrah is the outstanding grape variety and it blends well with grenache and sometimes mourvèdre. Nothing remains static in Languedoc and the old Côteaux du Languedoc is about to be replaced by a new appellation called simply Languedoc. Western Languedoc is more dramatic, mountainous, and much drier than the east, but it's also colder and the austerity of its climate and topography can be tasted in its wines. The carignan grape is often an essential element in many of the reds. Look out for saint-Chinian, Minervois and Saint Jean de Minervois (the latter for muscat based sweet vin doux naturel), Cabardès, Limoux (especially sparkling Crémant de Limoux).The south incorporates Corbières, Fitou and Roussillon. These are dry, hot regions surrounded by mountains which provide a majestic backdrop. Fitou is the oldest Appellation and confusingly comes in two parts. The best wines though come from in between in what is actually southern Corbières. Corbières is the largest single appellation in Languedoc, with myriad different styles from different soils and microclimates. This veritable chaos of crags, gorges, strewn with castles, wild herbs and abandoned abbeys encapsulates the heart of the Midi. The wines all have a little of that wildness and wonder.In Roussillon black schists on the north bank of the Agly make the best reds. These are typically fine and spicy with grenache and syrah. Traditionally the best-exposed sights near the village of Maury have produced sweet fortified wine. High mountains provide the opportunity to plant vines at higher altitudes and make fresher wines. Finally, this vast region ends in a narrow strip of land between mountain and the sea and with Spain on two sides. Twisting lanes and vertiginous vine terraces link the little ports of Collioure, Banyuls and Cerbère. The fortified wines are sold as Banyuls and are mostly Grenache-based with a little carignan. The Collioure appellation is for expressive, full-bodied and refined table wine which can be made from several grape varieties: carignan, syrah, grenache, mourvèdre and counoise for the reds and grenache, roussanne and vermentino for the whites.
The 2019 vintage was truly born under the sign of fire. Officially, a little over 46C was recorded during the growing season. Off the record, many thermometers went off the scale at 50. This sudden spike left its mark especially in the eastern part of the Languedoc. There were fires in some places, especially around Nîmes. And there were lots of dead, shrivelled grapes. But essentially the south of France produced excellent wines in 2019.
"I like full-bodied wines. In fact that’s my preferred style. But this one is a bit full on. "
"The proverbial beaker full of the warm South, this has vanilla on the nose and is peppery and intense in the mouth, dry but smooth and very full-bodied. Exactly what a Fitou should be. "
I would recommend this wine
"I like full-bodied wines. In fact that’s my preferred style. But this one is a bit full on. "
"Nothing wrong with this soft French red and nothing amazing either. The sort of wine you might have drunk as a student with a stick of French bread at a bar lunch in Paris."
There are no press reviews for this product.
"Big powerful wine. Ripe bramble fruit with plenty of spice. Good value. "
Mr Tom Rodger (05-Jun-2021)
"This is fantastic wine. Lots of blackcurrant, bramble, spice and a touch of honey. Really smooth. This is French wine in a South Australia mould. Hopefully the Society will source the next vintage and we'll definitely be getting some if they do. "
Dr Andre Gilburn (29-May-2021)
"This wine has a deep, inky purple colour and is brimming with juicy, sappy fruit which to me is reminiscent of many Australian wines and probably not a comparison the producers would look upon very favourably! It is certainly powerful and I would agree with other reviewers, better suited to drinking with well flavoured food than on its own. To me the finish is disappointing as it seems to simply fizzle out, lacking length. "
Mr Barry Cottam (07-Apr-2021)
"WAsn't as impressed with this quite as much as the other reviewers. Nice spicy nose to this but the initial taste was a bit acidic although there was nice length. This settled down after a couple of days though, when a lot of the acid had gone, to give a nice smooth taste with a bit of spice, almost like a mulled wine. If I could have given half a star it would have got 3.5 but erred on the generous side. I drank it on its own but it's probably better with food. Someone suggested it'd go nice with a rich beef stew and that sounds about right. "
Mr Colin Savage (06-Apr-2021)
"Very good. Benchmark Fitou but in a more elegant style. There’s a floral quality to the black fruit and decent spiced complexity given the modest price tag. This is the entry level from the Domaine and I wish you’d stock one or two of the more premium wines from this address. "
Mr Liam Tait (04-Apr-2021)
"Yes, yes, YES! I completely agree. Spice, mulberries and dark fruits. Very round in the mouth with good length. No harsh tannins but enough to hold everything together. Delicious with a rich red wine beef hash but frankly we can easily drink this on its own. I guess you should be fans of the SW (France), but honestly how could you not be with a wine like this? Great value from the WS again."
Mrs Jacqueline Davies (02-Apr-2021)
"Lovely dark almost black colour, spicy nose with dark berries and a full mouth taste, quite simple but good quality drink, good value for money and a good example of what can be done with these southern French blends."
Mr John Wigglesworth (20-Mar-2021)
"Completely agree with the other reviews. This is a wine with heft. Excellent with mature cheddar. Full bodied, some spice and tannin. But, still quite soft. Nicely balanced.
Would I describe this as easy drinking? No.
Would I recommend this with food (or after a large meal)? Absolutely.
If you enjoy drinking reds with oomph, this is a definite buy.
Mr Steven Naylor (11-Mar-2021)
"This has real character, with a rich dark flavour and a slightly unfiltered feel. Recommended."
Professor Stephen Babbage (21-Feb-2021)
"Spicy, dark and powerful yet somehow smooth and easy to drink (with a ratatoullie at least; it would over-power lighter meals). Delicious and great value if you enjoy the punch from this region."
Dr Paul Walker (02-Jan-2021)
"So typical of this region. Gorgeous, rich, spicy red. Way beyond the harsher Fitou of the past. Shame it’s currently out of stock, definite On the buy more List."
Mr Terry Deamer (18-Oct-2020)
"Not for the faint hearted.
Full bodied Fitou with a capital Ooh!"
Mr Andrei Bgatov (15-Oct-2020)
"Sadly this bottle did not reflect previous members' comments - maybe a duff bottle? The high alcohol was very apparent and the flavour mainly "jammy", no distinct flavours I'd associate with previous tastings of Fitou."
Mr Jonathan Reed (12-Oct-2020)
"Well worth the price. Really well made and enjoyable. Good with food or just sipped on its own."
Mr Mark Jones (07-Aug-2020)
"Smooth, rich, full flavoured. Thoroughly enjoyable especially at this price. Cut above most Languedoc reds. Would recommend."
Mr Iain Robertson (14-Mar-2020)
"I wish I’d have bought a case of this. It’s now out of stock - ahhh. Absolutely fantastic. It’s so full bodied and beautiful that I’m now sipping it over time to make the only bottle last longer. "
Mr Chris Moore (05-Feb-2020)
"This is a very satisfying Fitou. Dark and full of flavour. Was able to taste-test it against a posh supermarket's offering which cost 3 quid more. The Origines beat it hands down. Great wine for the price! Enjoying it now with roast lamb. Salut! "
Mr David P Gardner (17-Nov-2019)
"Rich and rounded, very good value as it came in a case of 'surprise wines' costing £60. Must get more."
Mr C Paul Taylor (09-Oct-2019)
"Visitors always remark on how good this is. I agree "
Mr Gerald L Cooper (01-Mar-2019)
"Very muted upon opening. This was the case despite extended decanting. I would avoid this. On the palate nothing exciting, flat, much better wines on TWS to be found at this price point. "
Mr Ming Yao Chong (02-Nov-2018)
"Almost black in colour, brambley fruit, a vein of garrigue herbs with a licorice finish. I especially love the smooth explosion of black pepper immediately after the swallow..."
Mr Alan E Sullivan (14-Mar-2018)
"Well, that's interesting. I'm the user who left the "meh" review last year. We'd bought 2. My wife and I just had the second. Gorgeous. Everything you expect from a decent Carignan. So what was wrong with that other bottle?
I see that the '15 has now replaced the '14 in stock, but it's definitely going back on the wish list."
Mr Peter Wood (10-Aug-2018)
"I'm in the fan club for this (2014). Not high brow but confident: herby, opening dryness but smooth. Bit of spice with the 14.5% adding a slight (nice) tingle. As another member said: chewy, but not heavy going. Decent finish: clean, fresh with fruity notes. Am also reminded that the same wine can deliver different sensations to the same person at different times: hence perhaps the "meh" review?"
Mr David Hawkins (18-Sep-2017)
"Whilst I hate to disagree with my fellow reviewers, I really feel that I must. I gave it time in the decanter and time in the glass. I got little on the nose, a rather jammy texture and very little length to the finish. It's hard to believe this was the same wine that others are discussing. I don't think our bottle was off, just .... meh!
Torn between 1 and 2 stars here. Definitely wouldn't re-order, and - with regard to the price differential - would much rather have half a bottle of Jones Fitou than a full bottle of this one."
Mr Peter Wood (30-Aug-2017)
"I bought this wine 'on the rebound' from another wine that was 'ex stock'. My purchase was based in large measure on Jancis Robinson's review. In short I was very pleasantly surprised. While this is no Grand Vin, to be fair, it doesn't ever pretend to be. It is, however, an excellent value very versatile red that can be drunk both with food or on its own. It benefits greatly from giving it an hour or so to breathe & unfold from the bottle. I will be buying this one again (if any remains from those enticed to buy following glowing reviews!)"
Mr Peter Clayton (28-Aug-2017)
"Really enjoyed this. Rich. Chewy. Lovely. Will definitely order again."
Dr Paul Fernandes (13-Jun-2017)
Mr Alex Downham (05-May-2017)
Mr Alex Downham (28-Mar-2017)
"Very good. Would order again."
Mr Jason Mossman (21-Jan-2017)
"This gets a 'wow' from me - really delicious - and as Jancis Robinson comments, it's 'round and very fruity' but it's also seriously deep…hopefully TWS will ignore the comment about being ridiculously underpriced! A definite case for re-order as this is one of the best buys we've enjoyed from WS"
Mr Christopher M Wall (16-Aug-2016)
The Guardian (15th Oct 2016)
Ballsy. - Fiona Beckett
JancisRobinson.com (22nd Jun 2016)
and very fruity. Lots of spice. Good structure. Ridiculously underpriced.
Very good value.
- Jancis Robinson
"Very lovely wine - a new favourite! It is gentle and soft, yet full of ripe dark fruit - reminded me of blackcurrant pie when I initially poured the first glass. Will order again!"
Ms Anastasia Tataryn (17-May-2016)
"Herbaceous but very dry. We were a little underwhelmed. There's better available at the same price, or for less."
Mr Colin Hewson (29-Mar-2015)
simonwoods.com (5th Feb 2016)
"Gentle herby ripe
berry and plum, tangy and lifted flavours, very easy to drink, but with some
earthy complexity too. - Simon Woods"
"This one is a little cracker. Full bodied and ripe. I'll be back for more!"
Mr Gregory J Wright (29-Nov-2014)
"Now this wine has settled down after a few weeks it does indeed seem to be 'full-bodied' > 'very full-bodied'. In its present state it is very rich and satisfying and the carignan, spicy and acidic, forestalls any gloopiness. Excellent and excellent value."
Professor John L Moles (24-Oct-2014)
"Working through case (someone has to do it), three bottles so far. Second was a bit dead and too quickly dry (though guests were happier than I was). Very intense nose and palate. The carignan bristles with personality. Doesn't 'feel' 'very full-bodied': carries its 15% not lightly exactly but certainly with poise. Shaping up to be very good indeed (but we'll probably drink it sooner)."
Professor John L Moles (26-Sep-2014)
Western Mail (26th Jul 2014)
Blended from carignan and grenache and has a
raunchy, robust nose of hedgerow fruits. On the palate the full-blooded black
fruits hold themselves above the strident tannic structure and tarry notes through
the mid-palate. Dries off dramatically on the finish and beware of the 14.5%
alcohol which is hidden deep within this tasty red.
- Neil Cammies
Sheffield Profile (21st Dec 2013)
"Rich, jammy and
spicey wine which has long-lasting flavours of cherries, damsons, biter
chocolate and vanilla. A strong wine but smooth. Made using decades of
experience at a family-run vineyard. - Richard Marsden"
The Lady (15th Nov 2013)
"This South of France
wine is meatier and drier than the others but still hugely generous with fruit.
At 15% it’s also generous with the alcohol but you don’t notice until you try
to stand up. - Henry Jeffreys"
Sunday Life (10th Nov 2013)
Full bodied fruit-ripe wine, a real winter warming
red with lots of rich, ripe fruit and a lingering aftertaste - perfect with
comforting winter foods, rich roasts and a warm fire.
- Paula Gracey
Belfast News Letter Group (12th Oct 2013)
… robust, rustic and full bodied … Despite a
meaty 15% alcohol content, this dark garnet-coloured red is quite complex and
sophisticated. It boasts a wonderfully expressive bouquet full of fresh
forest fruits while damsons and cherries enrich its sumptuous, tangy palate
before a tiny hint of black pepper and lick-your-lips liquorice perk up its
- Raymond Gleugh
Hampstead & Highgate Express (10th Oct 2013)
… bursts out with the
herby fruit so characteristic of this part of France.
- Liz Sagues
JancisRobinson.com (3rd Jul 2013)
"Flashy ruby. A little suppressed on the nose with just a faint hint of herbs and jam. Not much in the way of tannin, just a gentle tug and rub. No sign of jam on the palate. Lovely little fist of bright acidity and sharp fruit along a firm herbal spine. So fresh. There is absolutely no sign of that hefty 15% alcohol. Really very well balanced. Good Value –Tamlyn Curran"
"I can only echo the previous 2 reviewers. What a find, more please! Earthy, savoury, long and yummy. What more could you ask for?"
Mr Daniel Harrison (08-Jun-2012)
"AGREE FULLY WITH THE PREVIOUS POST. GOOD ON THE NOSE, FULL AND LASTING IN THE MOUTH, SMOOTH FROM SIP TO GULP. VERY GOOD."
Mr Norman Knight (07-Jun-2012)
"Well done Mr Orford Williams, you have unearthed a treasure! This is the best Fitou I've tasted in years. It's a strong wine (14.5%), but it is smooth and subtle with a lingering finish. It hails from the little village of Paziols, most of whose grapes end up at the Mont Tauch co-op next door, but Bertrand Berge's Fitou really shows what the terroir is capable of. Brilliant stuff!"
Dr David Kiernan (31-May-2012)
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