Les Bertrand Wines

Though third-generation winemaker Yann Bertrand was raised on his family’s vineyards in Fleurie, he never aspired to work in wine. Fate, of course, had other plans. After gallivanting around the Alps and working in and around wine bars and retailers, he returned to the domaine and has gone on to establish himself as something of a young high-flyer in Beaujolais.
Much of his know-how has been shaped by the area’s bigwigs, including Jean Foillard and Yvon Metras, but he’s also been blessed with a pretty splendid patch of grass to work with: a 7.5-hectare block of organically certified vineyards, some more than a century old. Wines are made in the region’s time-honoured fashion using cold carbonic maceration, and no sulphur is added whatsoever. As natural as natural gets, in other words.

It’s quite a line-up this year, and it kicks off with the 2022 Oh!…Beaujolais Supérieur – a light-footed expression from 40-70-year-old vines that’s slurpy, crunchy and high-toned with licks of smashed raspberries, white pepper and alpine herbs. You’ll find more length and definition in the 2021 Cuvée du Chaos, which draws concentrated red and blue fruit character and smoky-mineral depth from the estate’s oldest vines. Elegant and pure the watchwords, nothing chaotic about it.

Gamay’s more shapely, powerful side comes through in the 2021 Coup de Foudre, a plush and more savoury style where salted plums, crushed rocks and cherry cola are framed by fine tannin and lifted with blood-orange tang. And if the name weren’t quite enough to sell it, the 2021 Dynamite is every bit as lit as it sounds, a muscular cuvée with ebb and flow and jolts of kirsch and rhubarb, herbes de Provence and the tug of tea-like tannin. 

As a result of catastrophic 2016 and 2017 vintages that all but wiped out the vineyards with hail, Yann has also produced some negociant wines from nearby growers who farm with similar seriousness. There’s a more defined sense of earthiness in the 2022 Juliénas…100%, the 50-plus-year-old vines and appellation’s white-clay soils giving rise to a pronounced mulberry forwardness and hints of violet, beetroot and wild fennel. The 2022 Lantignié, meanwhile, is a stylistic iteration of the Village wine – bright, silky on the palate and high-toned in its sweet-berry compote presence and herbaceous edges. The man does not put a foot wrong. 
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