The Bernatas estate
A special story for these two brothers, Jérôme and Stéphane Bernatas who launched their estate on the soil of Limoux in 2018. Jérôme was a journalist at Le Parisien and Stéphane at the head of a newspaper and press distribution company. They immediately adopted biodynamics with the aim of respecting and maintaining the environment for which they are responsible. But also to let the soil speak for itself through Mauzac, Chenin and Chardonnay in particular. Wines with a crazy personality, both rich, fresh and precise. An already successful conversion! Well done.
From journalist to winemaker, the story of the Bernatas estate
Both from the world of the press, the Bernatas brothers, Stéphane and Jérôme have decided to convert to the world of wine. Concerning Stéphane Bernatas, after having studied commerce in Toulouse, he joined the family business of press distribution in Rodez in Aveyron, as a business manager. Jérôme, meanwhile, after studying international trade in Paris and Newcastle, offered himself a career in journalism at Le Parisien. Keen to travel, and particularly passionate about Argentina, the Bernatas brothers then developed a completely different curiosity about what surrounds them. It was then that Stéphane decided to sell the Maison de la presse and that Jérôme left his job at Le Parisien to start a new life thanks to their common passion: to become a winegrower. Together, they return to their native region, in Aude, at the foot of the Pyrenees.
Inspired by the wine culture reflected in Limoux, the two brothers decided to realize their dream through the vineyard. Trained by a recognized winegrower, Frédéric Palacios of my father's Mas, in Arzens, the two brothers learned a know-how around the culture of the vine and wine: pruning the vines, the alchemy of wine... Then, in 2018 , they bought the vines of Jean Cancian, 6.5 hectares, on the heights of Magrie and Castelreng. It was then that the Domaine Bernatas was born and their journey to the heart of their vineyard began.
The Limoux wine region
Located near Limoux in the Aude, more precisely in Digne-d'Amont, the vineyard covers 7 hectares and is located between 250 and 410 meters above sea level between Magrie, Castelreng and Digne-d'Amont. Most of the vineyards face north. They extend over six plots on hillsides, on clay-limestone soils and rolled pebbles revealing, for each plot, a marked personality that can be found in each of the bottles. In addition, the soils retain an exceptional freshness giving the wines a remarkable tension.
Limoux is part of one of the oldest vineyards in France, the culture of the vine is therefore very old. From a weather point of view, Limoux enjoys both good sunshine and a sufficiently well-distributed quantity of rain.
The Limoux appellation therefore naturally excels in the production of white wine in particular. For the record, the first sparkling wine in history was made in Limoux.
For Domaine Bernatas, there are typical Limoux grape varieties such as Chenin, Mauzac, an emblematic grape variety, and Chardonnay for white wines, and Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Aramon for red wines. The wines offered are mainly white wines with a protected designation of origin of Limoux.
It is therefore at the foot of the mountains that Stéphane and Jérôme decided to create the Domaine Bernatas. It is with the desire to harvest and vinify the grapes as naturally as possible that the Domaine Bernatas offers wines whose character and aromas typically reveal the soil of Limoux.
Biodynamics at the heart of the Bernatas estate
In 2019, Jérôme Bernatas obtained the professional certificate in charge of agricultural business at the CFPPA in Beaune, which he describes as a great place to meet and learn. This diploma will have enabled him to learn and discover a completely different approach to working in the vineyard.
“Let nature do the work” is the motto of the Bernatas brothers. Indeed, biodynamics has become an essential method for Domaine Bernatas. Biodynamic farming is to guarantee the health of soils and plants to provide healthy food. It gives great influence to the rhythms of nature, lunar cycles and the influence of the stars.
At the Bernatas estate, in order for the vines to flourish as best as they can, they grow on living soil, hence the use of compost, medicinal plants, cow dung and silica. Allowing to improve soil fertility and biodiversity. The work is done by hand and influenced by the lunar and solar cycles for each plot as in the cellar.
Guided by biodynamics, Stéphane and Jérôme adapt to their environment for a better selection of natural wine: no pesticides, no addition (or little) of sulfites, no chemical inputs and use of indigenous yeasts. This method makes it possible to best express and preserve the typicity and flavors of the soil.
Wines from the Bernatas estate
The Bernatas estate mainly produces natural white wines with a protected designation of origin with grape varieties typical of the Limoux soil, but also natural red wine. Jérôme and Stéphane offer wines that express a soil, straight and close to nature. Among the white wines of Domaine Bernatas, we find the La Petite Cordillère 2020 bottle, in reference to the mountain range in the Pyrenees which is a 100% Chenin. It highlights a perfect balance between its aromatic power and its undeniable freshness that Stéphane and Jérôme Bernatas manage to bring. Also available in Magnum!
L'Outre Blanc 2020, a 100% Chardonnay natural white wine in AOP Limoux, from the Peilhagon plot located in Digne-d'Amont. Located at an altitude of 260 meters, this wine reveals an incredible freshness. Also to be enjoyed in Magnum.
Made from 100% Mauzac, the emblematic grape variety of Limoux, the M et Nous 2019 bottle undergoes a light maceration giving it a perfectly balanced complexity and richness (without heaviness). Indeed, by vinifying the grapes from the Pla plot as a red wine, the M et Nous bottle was thus created, which made this orange wine atypical.
Regarding red wines, the Religare 2019 vintage is a blend of several grape varieties: Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Aramon. A fresh and crunchy blend, endowed with a nice dynamic. Still in natural red wine, the Regarde le Silence 2020 bottle, a 100% Merlot from the Fount Auly plot in Magrie, brings a lot of energy and freshness.
Natural wines as we like them which perfectly express their soil, and whose character comes directly from its environment. The Domaine Bernatas, to be found without further delay on the epi-curieux.com website.