I have known Bertrand since I've worked in PJWine.com, let's say at least for 5 or 6 years, may be more. During that time, I saw him evolved from fresh French salesman and brand manager representing Jaillance to constituting his own portfolio and now having his own distribution company.
He is not even 30 and has already embraced the New York city mantra: "If I can make it there, I can make it anywhere."
For the past two years, he put most of his efforts, time and more especially savings into that project. Traveling various regions of France during his spare time to find the right producers, and the most expressive, balanced, Terroir oriented wines with excellent quality / price ratio.
Tall, always put together and formally dress, Bertrand has a taste for quality, refinement and elegance, which is reflected in all of his wines and their labels that he even took pride to redesign himself, for better consistency, image and presentation. And it works pretty well, I must say. Even customer's comments and fee back regarding his wines and labels are full of praise.
Bertrand is now part of these small importers / distributors who have flourished over the last 4-5 years and enabled New York to become one of the greatest wine cities, or should I say "Vinocity, of the world, by offering more eclectic and esoteric wines from smaller, more artisanal, often Organic, Biodynamic, Lutte Raisonnee and / or sustainable producers and wineries, located in previously little known, poorly regarded or rarely mentioned as well as up-and-coming viticultural areas of both world.
He passed by the other day with 6 wines and I need to admit that I liked all of them. His portfolio is rather small for now, but the producers and their wines have been chosen very carefully for their balance, elegance, focus, complexity and Terroir characteristics. Moreover, they are all Natural wines (Bio or Organic or Lutte Raisonnée or Sustainable).
Here are a few of the wines that we tasted that day:
60% Cinsault and 40% Grenache. Biodynamic and vinification in cement tank. Clean, soft, unctuous, creamy, mouth coating yet bright and crisp due to refreshing acidity; excellent balance, long, mineral, a touch spicy on the finish. Beautiful texture and acidity and focus. Great quality / ratio wine from an appellation lesser known to the US market. Very nice. (more info at www.closdesaugustins.com)
80% Mourvedre, 10% Syrah & 10% Grenache. Lutte raisonnée, cuve beton (cement tank), from La Clape, which one of the best appellation of Languedoc, located east of Narbonne, regrouping about 20 wineries sharing the "Montagne de La Clape" directly facing the Mediterranean sea. The wine is produced by Eric Fabre, ex-Technical Director of Château Lafite Rothschild, which says it all. Light melon color, fragrant nose, the palate is textured, oily, mineral, long, lot of depth and complexity. Lovely well crafted wine. (more info at www.chateaudangles.com)
100% Sauvignon Blanc. Lutte raisonnée, produced by Vicent Guilbaud et Cyril Geffard, who learn some of their skills at Domaine Pierre Luneau-Papin. 18 hectares of vines. Very crisp, soft, light, good acidity, mouth coating, ample, excellent balance with a lot of character. limey, crispy finish. Lovely. (more info at www.domainedespierrettes.fr).
LeDom du Vin