Acclaimed vintner Gérard Bertrand again hosts his annual celebration at his French château
Each July, Debonair French winemaker Gérard Bertrand invites guests to his estate Château l’Hospitalet for a six-day celebration of jazz, food and, of course, drink. Perched on a limestone hillscape overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, the property—which includes a three-star hotel, fine restaurant and tasting cellar—produces namesake reds and whites that repeatedly have ranked among the world’s best at international competitions.
A former rugby star who took over the family winery after his father’s death, Bertrand was studying homeopathic medicine when he discovered the work of Rudolf Steiner, considered the father of biodynamic farming. This holistic sustainable philosophy, which follows lunar and star charts as well as ancient pagan rituals, focuses on terroir and the soil’s health, bringing farmers closer to nature. The doctrine now informs both Bertrand’s production and his wines.
First presented in 2004, the jazz festival gathers the world’s top musicians and gourmands for a bacchanalian experience among the vines. This year’s color code: orange, gold, white, red, floral and pink.
Attendees can expect endless pours from all of Bertrand’s biodynamic wines as well as sumptuous seated dinners prepared by chef Laurent Chabert using purely local and organic ingredients. I well remember the freshly shucked oysters on gigantic seafood platters; flambéed tart of seasonal mushrooms, chorizo and aestivum summer truffle; and slow-cooked black hake with zucchini, celery branch, heirloom cherry tomatoes and Taggiasca olives.
Over the years, Bertrand’s friend and festival artistic director, Dominique Rieux, has brought musicians from George Benson and Diana Krall to Boy George and Earth, Wind & Fire to the festival. This year, Brazilian Gilberto Gil and his family open the series on July 18, followed by American vocalist Melody Gardot, French newcomer Juliette Armanet and Scottish band Simple Minds. On the weekend, Nile Rodgers & Chic will set the stage on fire with the band’s 1979 hit “Good Times,” with Dutch jazz saxophonist Candy Dulfer closing out the festivities.