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September 2019

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The Languedoc winemaker’s biodynamic winery, Château l’Hospitalet, lands a prestigious place on Celebrated Living’s Platinum List 2019.

This summer has been legendary for France’s leader in biodynamic wine production, Gérard Bertrand. The acclaimed French winemaker’s biodynamic wine estate, Château l’Hospitalet, was honored on Celebrated Living’s “Platinum List 2019: Best Vineyard Experience.” American Airlines’s luxury publication (available in premium cabins) chose the charming Narbonne estate for its “multisensory experience,” which, as Bertrand says, allows guests to “see, smell and sense the energy of life here and understand what we do.”

 Nestled between France’s La Clape Mountains and the Mediterranean Sea, Château l’Hospitalet offers visitors a 360-degree immersive wine experience, from guided tours of the vineyard to winery tastings, a renowned annual jazz festival, and multi-course pairings at Michelin-recommended restaurant, L’Art de Vivre. Packages with the restaurant’s head chef, Laurent Chabert, take guests into the winery’s organic garden to pluck produce used in cooking courses. Offers include a stay at the recently renovated 38-room hotel, where guests can lounge in a heated pool overlooking the vines and the Mediterranean Sea, practice golf, or play tennis. The hotel also offers daily painting or sculpture workshops at the onsite artist “village” of shops.

Bertrand is on a roll this summer and was proud to earn another exciting award in July at the International Wine Challenge 2019. Gérard Bertrand's Château l’Hospitalet Grand Vin AOP La Clape 2017 was named World Champion Red Wine.

“Languedoc has emerged as a benchmark of quality both in France and in the world,” Bertrand says. “It’s an honor to see our hard work pay off and promote a concept we care so deeply about — showing respect to nature, from the vines to the bottle.”

See the Platinum List

Vintage 2019

Monday 02 September 2019

An overview of the 2019 vintage in the Gérard Bertrand vineyards

2019 marks a return to a more Mediterranean profile than the previous year. It is a vintage of many nuances that more clearly bring out the specificities of each terroir and the differences between them, from the first foothills of the Pyrenees (the Aigle Estate in AOC Limoux and Château la Soujeole in AOC Malepère) to the edges of the Larzac (Château La Sauvageonne in AOC Terrasses du Larzac), taking in the coastal region (the Châteaux of L’Hospitalet, Karantes and Tarailhan in AOC La Clape).  

The Climate:

-         There was less rain than in 2018, with most of it falling in the autumn and the beginning of winter and a marked absence in the summer.

-         We experienced a mild winter, irregular spring temperatures and a series of heatwaves in the summer.

-         Managing water levels is a key issue for vineyards.

-         Rainfall was rare in July and August, although more abundant in the west of the department of Aude (which has a transitional climate between the Mediterranean and the Atlantic) than in the coastal and eastern areas of the Languedoc. 

The growth cycle of the vines:

The vine buds started to open early as a result of mild temperatures at the end of winter. We were subsequently obliged to protect against frost in the more exposed zones, where the use of special "candles" to generate heat enabled us to avoid the risk of damage.    

Spring showers fell just at the right moment, picking up where the autumn and early winter rains had left off, guaranteeing a good supply of minerals essential for the growth and development of the leaf canopy (the “motor” of photosynthesis, necessary for ripening).  

Flowering was late and slow to develop this year, and this had a knock-on effect on the grapes changing colour and ripening, confirmed by the first maturity checks that indicated a lag of 7-10 days compared to 2018.  

Vineyard management:

Our respect for certain fundamental principles allows us to be very optimistic about the 2019 vintage:

·         Grape varieties adapted to the terroir

·         Employing (certified) biodynamic farming methods

·         Simple, traditional methods for tending the soil using techniques that encourage life and limit competition between vines and cover crops (the old saying “hoeing once is better than watering twice” is more pertinent than ever this year).

·         Stimulating nutrition by applying organic manure to the soil and biodynamic preparations on leaves (dung and horn silica, tisanes and essential oils).

·         Controlling and adjusting yields and foliage cover depending on the needs and potential of each grape variety/terroir pairing.

This year biodynamic preparations played a particularly important role in supporting harmonious growth and stimulating the vines’ natural defences in the face of frost, hail, hydric stress and pests.

They were applied depending on the season and the alignment of the planets: Maria Thun dung compost, cow-horn manure, horn silica, Valerian, Horsetail, Nettle, Oak bark …

Applications of biodynamic preparations (cow-horn manure and tisanes) helped stimulate the vitality of the foliage.  And during periods of heatwave we were careful to reduce the use of sulphur which can ‘burn’ the leaves when temperatures are high.

The vines are in excellent health, but we remain vigilant and attentive, as always, with daily inspections of each plot. Careful monitoring and precision work allow us to care for each individual vine in the very best conditions, right up to the moment of picking.

An excellent vintage:

Current conditions offer the promise of an excellent vintage, for what we are seeing is an ideal ratio between the number of bunches and leaf cover. The grapes are in excellent health, with a fully functioning leaf canopy (with no mineral deficiencies). We will take care, as we do every year, to ensure that good levels of maturity are attained on each plot, and we will exercise patience during the harvest which will most probably finish at the end of October.