I am way behind. Dozens of great pictures on my camera to download. So many wine adventures to recount, that things are getting away from me. And they all need to be told. I have met so many wonderful wine people this year and we are only into July!
Let’s get on with it then as I recap a recent visit to Domaine Begude in France’s Languedoc wine region. Located about 30 minutes from the medieval city of Carcassonne, Domaine Begude is owned by James and Catherine Kinglake. Back in 2003, this British couple was looking for a new life adventure, removed from the hustle and bustle of city life in London.
After searching for many months, and visiting dozens of estates throughout the south of France, they found Begude. Here they settled down and embarked upon a life with clean fresh air amongst the vines. Not long thereafter came daughter Millie. Talk about life changes.
With a magnificent view of the Pyrenees, the domaine spans approximately 25 hectares and 320-370m above sea level in the cool climate growing appellation of Limoux. If you think that the Languedoc only produces big, bold Rhone inspired reds, think again. In Limoux varietals like chardonnay, chenin blanc, sauvignon blanc, mauzac, pinot noir and merlot excel.
At Begude sustainability and ecological responsibility are key. Towards this end, the vineyards are farmed using only organic cow and sheep manure. Weed killing is also done mechanically and without the use of chemical pesticides.
Kinglake works with a small but very dedicated group of individuals. Laurent Girault, who was born into a family of winemakers, is the vineyard manager/winemaker. Quiet, dedicated, but with a twinkle in his eye, Laurent is passionate about the vine and wine.
Right hand men Vincent Boutin and Driss Yousfi are also integral to the quality and success of Domaine Begude.
“Our driving ambition is to make excellent wine from long established high-quality terroir with a modern twist; in effect we are bridging the gap between new world and old world, producing fresh, zesty, fruit wines often reminiscent of the new world, but with the elegance of the old world..” ~ James Kinglake
The domaine produces a modest range of white wines that I believe strongly affirm this ethos. Over the past several years K&L Wine Merchants has featured a range of wines from Domaine Begude. The following wines have been immensely popular with both our customers as well as our staff.
Brisk, bitey, crushed stones, minerals. Inspired more by the sauvignon blancs of Sancerre than the grass and gooseberry of Marlborough.
Crisp, with no oak or malo influence to detract from nuances of citrus, fuji apple and pear. 10% chenin rounds it out just a touch.
Dry, delicate strawberry fruits. Our guys and gals in K&L Hollywood sell this wine like a house on fire. Alas the 2009 is long gone, and we must wait patiently until next year.
This beautifully balanced white has made me take to chardonnay once again. A bit of oak, but not to much, along with cool climate acidity have me predicting that the classic will be a huge winner amongst casual drinkers and connoisseurs alike.
For additional photos of life at Domaine Begude click here.
NEXT: Domaine Begude Part II