Yann Bertrand, The One and Only
Although Fleurie-born Yann Bertrand never planned on making wine, he now produces some of the most dynamic and exciting wines in all of Beaujolais. Inspired by the giants of Beaujolais’ renaissance he is the brightest star in a constellation of exceptional young producers who are continuing to burnish Beaujolais’ already stellar reputation.
Yann was specifically inspired by natural superstars like Jean Foillard, Yvon Mertas and of course the granddaddy of them all Jules Chauvet. With Foillard and Metras as his mentors, Yann turned his family's grape-growing business (converted to organic in the '90s by his parents) into an estate with a cult following. Only indigenous yeast is used, no pesticides or insecticides are used, and nearly all cuvées are produced without any added SO2.
Yann endeavors to show off the beauty of Gamay, and the unique terroir of each individual parcel, and sees no reason to manipulate or add anything to his cuvées. The wines are undeniably alive, vibrant and fresh; they exude buvabilité, the French word for "drinkability" that really means something more like "these wines will compel you to continue drinking them".
I met Yann over six years ago at the beginning of his meteoric ascension into Beaujolais superstardom. So it was wonderful to find him last January in Fleurie, before the worldwide shutdown, with his humility fully intact. In fact he gets mercilessly teased by the likes of Pierre Cotton and his other buddies for being a wine celebrity. Joyous and endlessly fascinating as ever, now a young father, Yann’s already beyond-his-years maturity and confidence have only increased. It’s been exhilarating to watch him become a master of his craft at such a young age.
All of Yann's cuvées are produced in minuscule quantities, something that will never change. This particular Cuvee has a special meaning for us as it made its US debut at our shop. He brought the bottles in his suitcase adorned with some skillfully crafted homemade labels.
In regular times, this would have disappeared long ago as this is the wine that restaurants most clamour for. Because this is not regular times, his importer had a couple of cases left and sold the rest to us. This is the last of the phenomenal 2019 vintage and like all great Beaujolais, drinks beautifully young. But Yann’s wines have crazy aging potential so do yourself a favor and buy enough to lay some down. The patience will be rewarded!
Yann's style is one of elegance, silken texture and is laser-focused on expressing each unique terroir in the Famille Bertrand stable. Phenix comes from Fleurie’s best sites: Poncié, La Madone, and Les Déduits. The higher altitude parcels comprise sandy granite, while the lower slopes are sandy clay with pink granite and are the secret to Fleurie’s reputation as Beaujolais’ most delicate and elegant wines. On the nose, pepper, leather, violet and wet stone. On the palate, loads of cherry, tomato stem, hay and a touch of wet soil. Light, juicy and smooth with an elegance that never fails to impress.