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When the occasion calls for something special, think pink.

New Year’s Eve, birthdays, weddings, anniversaries and more–what do these momentous occasions have in common? They all call for popping bottles of Champagne and memorable toasts. But here’s something to consider: why do we choose Champagne as a celebratory drink when there are other options that are just as–if not more–sophisticated?

Instead, imagine popping bottles of rosé on joyous occasions. A blend that’s elegantly crafted and celebrates life. It’s called Clos du Temple.

This is the vision of Gérard Bertrand, a man who grew up in the South of France balancing a professional rugby career while helping manage his father’s wine business. Now, Bertrand is the largest biodynamic wine producer in the world with 15 family-owned estates and is the second-largest importer of French wines into the United States.

“My father used to say that wine is made from a thousand and one details,” Bertrand told writer Katherine Cole in a book entitled “Rosé All Day.”

He added, “If you want to make the best wine possible, you need to have the best grapes. You need a balanced, healthy vineyard. You need to respect nature. You need to reinforce the vitality of the vine.”

This is where biodynamics come into play. What does that mean? Well, for experts and sommeliers it’s not just about the wine, but rather the earth and environment. Under Bertrand’s practices, it became apparent that biodynamic farming produces a higher quality product as well as reinforces the terroir.

The release of Clos du Temple, Bertrand’s ground-breaking wine from the Cabrières appellation in the South of France, is his assertion that rosé can be as sophisticated as the finest whites and reds.

Why Cabrières? Well, careful research of the history of Languedoc wine-making led Bertrand to Cabrières. It is one of the region’s smallest appellations and in the 17th century supplied the favored rosé wines for the Sun King, Louis XIV.

You could say Bertrand was ahead of the rosé trends. The brawny former rugby player has embraced the pink drink and broken the stigma that rosé is a lady’s delight. In fact, with a suggested retail price of $190, and already awarded the highest score for a still rosé from Decanter Magazine in Britain, he’s raising the status of rosé.

And remember when we mentioned this rosé is a celebration of life? Not only does Gérard Bertrand carefully craft the contents of the inside of the bottle, but also the bottle itself.

At first glance it may look like your ordinary bottle, but with its square base and pyramidical punt rising to a circular shoulder, the bottle itself symbolizes the cosmos and the principles of biodynamics. Making Clos du Temple “the most iconic rosé on earth.”

By Loren Gutentag, Contributing Writer

Try your hand at these summery sips…

Miami Beach St-Germain
From Lobster Bar Sea Grille

In a glass, combine 1-1/2 ounces St-Germain and 2 ounces Champagne. Then top it off with 2 ounces soda water and stir with a barspoon. Garnish with a lemon twist.

Jazz Fest
From Gérard Bertrand

In a pot over low heat, pour a bottle of Gérard Bertrand Rivesaltes Ambré and reduce by 1/3. While simmering, infuse a few thyme leaves for about 12 minutes. Once reduction is made, add 7 ounces of crushed strawberries, then put it in the fridge for 12 hours to allow the strawberries to infuse. After 12 hours, filter the concoction. In a red wine glass with ice, add 1 ounce of Gérard Bertrand Elixir de Cigalus, 1/2 ounce of Gérard Bertrand Code Rouge, and the reduction mixture until the glass is filled. Finish with lemon zest and garnish with thyme.

24 Karrots
From Hakkasan

In a shaker, combine 1 ounce carrot juice, 1 ounce cinnamon syrup, 3/4 ounce lime juice, and 1-1/2 ounce Zunte mezcal. Add ice and shake. Double strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with a lime wheel.

Framboise Smash
From BLT Prime

In a tin shaker, muddle 5 raspberries, then add 2 ounces Woodford Reserve bourbon, 1 ounce lime juice, and 1/2 ounce simple syrup. Give it four good shakes, then strain it over ice in a collins glass. Garnish with rosemary and one raspberry.

By DiningOut Staff

Gerard Betrand Wine

On the eve of 1975—when New World winemaking was still inchoate— native-born Frenchman Gérard Bertrand was introduced to winemaking at age 10.

The next 10 years were filled mostly with school, wine production, and forays into professional rugby—a passion that Bertrand never lost. But when his father passed away in 1987, the scion returned to continue the family winemaking tradition. In 1992, he formed the Gérard Bertrand wine company, and over the next 25 years, would champion modern winemaking techniques and achieve eminent success and widespread popularity.

DiningOut caught up with Bertrand recently to discuss his winemaking philosophy, and to find out which southern French wines are in vogue this season.

DiningOut: Given your 10-year professional career in rugby, did you intend ultimately to end up in the winemaking profession?
Gérard Bertrand: My father was a visionary wine professional, but he was also a rugby referee. He taught me the art of both, so I decided to try my hand at both. For eight years, I lived a double life as a sportsman and a wine professional. Only later, in 1992, did I make the choice to dedicate myself to the winery.

What was the biggest secret to winemaking passed down to you from your father, Georges Bertrand?
To take care of the thousands of details in the winemaking process. These make the difference.

Since the early ‘90s, you’ve acquired several domaines and chateaux, and expanded your own wine portfolio. How has the winemaking industry changed since you first launched Gérard Bertrand wines?
Thirty years ago, we had to reveal the potential of Languedoc-Roussillon wines to the world. Even if our region had more than 24 centuries of wine history behind it, the reputation of the wines wasn’t good at the time. So, we had to put southern French wines on the map. Since those early days, the quality, richness, and singularity of our terroir have been recognized. People are curious about the diversity of our grapes and the types of wines we make. I’ve also found that wine lovers are increasingly fond of organic, biodynamic, and sulfite-free wines. Women, in particularly have revolutionized the consumption of rosé wines, which has become one of our specialties. Now, our region has strong wines that compete on the international market.

You mentioned a focus on biodynamic wines. Why is this so important?
For three reasons. First, quality—I am convinced that the biodynamic process is the best way to craft great wines that reflect the identity of their terroir. Second, responsibility—we grow the vines for our children and our responsibility is to preserve the biodiversity of our environment. Treating both man and nature with respect is the least we can do. And third, spirituality— biodynamic principles transcend simple cultural methods and force me to consider people and places outside my immediate world.

It’s almost the season for warm-weather wines, and we hear you make an excellent rosé. Can you tell us about it?
The diversity of grape varieties in the south of France allows us to make different kinds of rosés. The latest in our portfolio is called La Villa. It’s made at our Château La Sauvageonne property and it’s a blend of four different grape varieties: Grenache and Mourvèdre (red grapes) and Vermentino and Viognier (white grapes). Made using co-fermentation (red and white grapes fermented together) and matured in barrels, this cuvée is quite unique. I love this wine. It’s built on tension and stamped with a brilliant minerality.

What are some other capstone wines of which you are particularly proud?
Le Clos d’Ora is probably the wine I feel the most connected to—maybe because it took me 17 years to get it from concept to first vintage. The source vineyard is located in Minervois la Livinière, a place we carefully cultivate using biodynamic methods. But we also take care of each vine as a unique individual and work the soil only with horses. This wine is very special to me and offers a message of peace, love, and harmony.

Here’s a hypothetical: You’re sitting on the Côte d’Azur in France on a beautiful summer day. What are you drinking?
A glass of Code Rouge, our sparkling wine made in Limoux.

—Interview by Jeffrey Steen