Clos du Temple Rosé: A Wine of Terroir, Time, Transcendence

Rosé is clearly “in season”. In every wine shop, the rosé section is featured prominently with wines typically around $20. Recently I tried first vintage of the newly released Clos du Temple 2018 Rosé, Cabrières from the Languedoc. From the packaging to the wine, the wine has a story, which you can read about in my column in the Napa Valley Register. And, with a retail price of $190, it is not a wine for everyone. But, for those who can afford it, it will be a wonderful addition to the wine cellar and can be laid down for a few years of aging.

With more than a dozen estates in the Languedoc region, Gérard Bertrand is the king of the south of France. He is the embodiment of lart de vivre (art of living) and with his newest wine, Clos du Temple, he is perpetuating this art with abundance.

Clos du Temple is an estate located in Cabrières, the birthplace of rosé. In fact, back in 1357, the rosé from Cabrières was served at the table of King Louis XIV. Located an hour from Château l’Hospitalet, the central estate of Gérard Bertrand, Clos du Temple sits at an elevation of 787 feet and is one hour from the Mediterranean Sea. The property consists of 20 acres, divided into seven small parcels. The soils consist of schist and limestone and the vineyard is farmed biodynamically.

Here at Clos du Temple, there are old vines of Cinsault, Grenache and Syrah, the three main grape varieties in the Cabrières appellation. Mourvedre and Viognier are also planted and together the five grapes are blended to make a single wine, Clos du Temple Rosé. This is not just another rosé from the south of France. It is a very special rosé.

To appreciate the specialness of the wine, start with the packaging. The glass bottle looks like most wine bottles. But if you look closely, you will note that it features a square base, a cylindrical body and a pyramid-shaped punt. Following the principles of biodynamics, the square shape represents humanity, or the earthly dimension, and the cylindrical shape represents divinity, or the cosmic dimension.

The shoulders of the bottle form a perfect circle, like a dome, and golden lines representing the hillsides surrounding the Clos are reminiscent of the historically gold-covered dome designed to guide pilgrims. The foil around the top of the bottle is blue, which represents the universe, with a gold strip, which represents light.

Inside the bottle, the wine is a light pink with gold highlights. Each grape in the blend plays an important role in the final product. Gérard Bertrand described it most eloquently: the Grenache is the foundation of the wine; the Cinsault is the backbone; the Syrah is the walls, the Mourvedre is the architecture; the Viognier is the roof.

2018 is the first vintage of Clos du Temple Rosé. The grapes are picked by hand and the best free-run juices are selected. The juice is fermented at a low temperature and the wine is aged in new barrels for six months on the lees. The resulting wine is balanced with fresh aromas of strawberry, peach, orange cream and flowers, as well as a hint of spice and tobacco. On the palate the wine has elegant texture and the acidity coats the tongue, and the wine finishes with mineral notes.

Gérard Bertrand has created this wine with the idea for it to age. It is drinkable now, but the structure of the wine implies it has the potential to age. Bertrand said that after three to seven years, the wine will hit its peak, but he also says after 10 or more years, the wine may show its complexity.

A lot of thought and care has gone into the making of this special wine. At $190 retail, a bottle of Clos du Temple 2018 Rosé, Cabrières is not the rosé you will buy for everyday drinking. This is a rosé that should join the Burgundy and Bordeaux wines in the cellar. And, over time, this wine of the terroir will be transcendent.

Read the original story in the Napa Valley Register.