Gérard Bertrand unveils a new ‘sanctuary’ for making his premium rosé

Wednesday July 07 2021 by Vitisphere

 The entire vineyard is farmed organically and biodynamically and tillage is handled by Banzaï, the property's Poitevin draft horse. The entire vineyard is farmed organically and biodynamically and tillage is handled by Banzaï, the property's Poitevin draft horse. - Photo credit : Michèle Trévoux

Credit where credit is due: Gérard Bertrand does nothing by half measures. To exemplify the near-mystical aspect of his Clos du Temple rosé in the Languedoc appellation of Cabrières, the head of the region’s namesake group has built a winery in the heart of this 12-hectare walled vineyard which is more akin to a temple than to conventional winemaking facilities.

The glass and concrete building, designed by Montpellier architect François Fontès, blends with the majestic features of the rolling hills in the Hérault hinterland thanks to the project’s choice of green cladding. The roof, an extensive concrete shell, is covered with 60 cm of soil where various local species grow. Sculpted limestone pillars draw vertical lines, both inside and out, as if to echo the verticality of the trunks in the neighbouring woodland. “We didn't want a site that would look like we were patting ourselves on the back, but rather somewhere sacred”, said Bertrand at the official opening visit with a clutch of journalists on June 29.

In the basement of this uncanny building, an alley of eleven black pyramid-shaped vats, capped with a golden pyramidion, adds to the strangeness. The stainless steel tanks, covered with bauxite, all have different capacities (from 20 to 70 hectolitres), and each is earmarked for the estate’s eleven vineyard blocks. The vat room opens onto the barrel cellar with its glass ceiling, which then leads to the reception room upstairs. Clos du Temple rosé is matured here for seven months in barrels or ‘demi-muids’, 50% of them new. Upstairs, a spacious reception room with huge walls of glass windows offers spectacular views over the vineyards and the surrounding hills.

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