Kirsty from our Stockport team has just returned from a short getaway to the South of France. The Languedoc is blessed with tremendous scenery, great weather and many fantastic wines to enjoy. We caught up with her to hear about one of the highlights.
My friends and I recently visited the South of France on holiday. We were staying in a town called Lavalette, near Carcassonne, and so we were in the heart of the Malpere wine region.
You may have heard us recommend the Begude Etoile to those of you after a great quality Chardonnay at sub-Burgundy price, so how could we resist a little jaunt to Domaine Begude, one of our favourite Sud de France producers, when staying so close by?
We arranged with James of Begude a suitable time to visit and hot footed our way there in our hired Fiat Panda. James and his fluffy companion Charlie greeted us and immediately walked us towards his Chardonnay vines. We’ve all studied vineyard management and pest control, but Begude are certified organic, and so seeing the small vials of pheromones hanging at the end of their vines warding off moths was definitely a point of interest- nothing better than learning about wine in situ!
We ambled up and down the undulating vineyards and enjoyed hearing about the trials of organic vineyard management – the family’s cherry tree had recently lost a limb in a fight with a canopy cutter! We looked across the vineyards where teams were weeding by hand in the scorching heat and didn’t envy them too much as we traipsed towards the shade of the press area.
As I say, we’ve studied wine making from a book, but to see the process in front of us clarified any murky points we couldn’t get our heads around. James was more than happy to answer our questions, then simplify the answers with four bewildered faces looking back at him!
We were very fortunate to then be led by James and Catherine (and Charlie and Louis, their shade-hunting dogs) to their tasting room, sampling some of their brilliant wines from cask, including their Terroir 11300 Chardonnay, an expression of their location in Cépie.
We’ll shortly be getting the Esprit de Begude, a lovely fruit driven Pinot Noir, arriving in store along with a little more Etoile. Look out for Etoile’s new medal of honour, it is very much deserved! This wine is definitely one to try! Top tip from the producers themselves: Some of these wines were only bottled as recently as last Thursday, so it may be worth keeping one or two back to try later in the year to enjoy the best characters of the wine
We are very grateful to James and Catherine for their hospitality and patience with our lengthy list of questions! I can imagine it would be rather odd to have to answer so much about your job and life, but what a lovely ideal they promote, earning a living from something so natural and enjoyable.
If you find yourselves holidaying close to Limoux, I would highly recommend getting in contact with Begude. James’s contact details are below. Visits are by appointment only, I’ll keep my fingers crossed you get to go!
Keep your eyes peeled and an ear to the ground – there are a fair few wines in the Domaine’s portfolio not currently available at Majestic. We really hope to see more of them here in the future!
You can arrange a visit to Domaine Begude in Limoux by getting in touch with James on +33 6 86 05 73 74 or by e-mail email@example.com.