Cigalus, "The Intuition"
n.m. (latin cicada-ae) : estate where intuition spawns the intention, as self-evident as the song of the cicada in the summer sun.
THE POWER OF INTENTION
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.
THE CHEMISTRY OF SAND AND CLAY
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 retainingqualities of each component.
This environment allows for a vast array of grapes to be selected, from the most precocious to the latematuring 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.
OF EARTH AND SKY
The wines of Cigalus rest on iconoclastic blends. Each variety is harvested and vinified separately before ageing.
For the red, the Syrah and Carignan undergo whole-bunch fermentation to extract deeper color and softer tannins. The other varieties (Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon, Caladoc and Mourvèdre) are de-stemmed and go through traditional fermentation. Once the fermentation is completed, the varieties are blended and placed in new French barriques for 12 months. The wine is bottled unfiltered and matured for another year before release.
The Cigalus red offers a subtile balance and unique personality. The result is an outstanding wine with silky tannins, rich texture and a complex unique aromatic bouquet of floral, fruity and spicy fragrances, combining peony, blackberry and cedar.
For the white, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Viognier are harvested by hand. Two thirds of the musts undergo alcoholic fermentation in new French barriques while the remaining third goes into stainless steel vats. The wines are then blended and aged in barrels until the spring equinox, with regular lees stirring. After a light fining,the wine is bottled.
Deeply Mediterranean in soul, the Cigalus white offers a rich complexity. Its structure is created by Chardonnay, its aromatic dimensions by Viognier and its freshness by Sauvignon Blanc. The wine is immediately captivating, as harmonious as it is diverse, poisedbetween lavender, pink grapefruit and flint.