Roussillon Southern France
The Bergasse brothers are generally described as the pin up boys of Languedoc-Roussillon in the South of France. Charming and articulate, they exude French charm and are known to behave with the enthusiasm of boisterous teenagers. They are however very serious about their wines and their 400 year old family estate in the St Chinian sub-region. This is considered the oldest winemaking area in this region of France, with vineyards being cultivated since ancient Roman times.
The AOC rules of St Chinian require the wines to be a blend of different grapes, so in a strange twist of logic, a 100% varietal wine can only be given a humble Vin de Pays classification. However this does not do “Aromes Sauvages” justice. For starters, the fruit is sourced from a vineyard planted in 1939 and the only reason a vineyard lasts this long, is if it produces amazing fruit and wine.
This wine is made from the pretty obscure grape variety called Alicante Bouschet. This is a French grape variety that was made in 1855 by Henri Boushet in Montepellier. It is actually not that unusual for scientists to crossand create new grape varieties last century. This grape was a crossing of the Petit Bouschet (itself a cross) with Grenache. It is a very thick skinned grape and makes wines of amazing colour and concentration. For this reason it was very popular during the early part of the 20th century, where it could be blended with lighter and cheaper wines to make the producers more money. Today it is mainly found in small areas of the Languedoc and in Portugal where it is used in single varietals. Only the best vineyards have survived the years, and this is what the Bergesse brothers have with their vineyard planted in 1939.
The fruit was handpicked, and then underwent a long maceration period to really develop that rich dark colour. Maturation is carried out in stainless steel and concrete tanks only, as oak characters are not considered necessary or complimentary with this variety.
The most amazing thing about this wine when it is poured into the glass is the colour. Inky midnight black. Then these amazing aromas gush out of the glass – pepper, black fruits (plums/ cherries) framed by these gamey, wild forest like flavours. The palate is surprising for its soft and fleshy nature. The palate is mid weight and the tannins are soft and approachable. This is just a joy to drink.