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Sunday 16 September 2012

Two Wines From Domaine Begude‏

These two wines from Domaine Begude were hand-delivered to Cambridge via a somewhat circuitous route that does not bear re-telling.

Of more interest is that the domaine, run by James and Catherine Kinglake (pictured above), is based in the Pyrenean foothills near Limoux and makes use of altitude to grow grape varieties that are rather atypical for the region - including Pinot Noir and a personal favourite, Austria's signature Grüner Veltliner.

According to the winery's website, Domaine Begude is a 29 hectare family-owned, historic estate set high at 320m altitude in the foothills of the Pyrénées in the Limoux region of the South of France. The vineyard was established in the late 16th century and has always enjoyed a reputation for excellence, producing elegant cool climate wines from this wonderful terroir.

Begude fruit is of the very highest natural quality thanks to our long growing season and our belief in a healthy, sustainable environment through organic farming- we are currently "in conversion" to Ecocert and NOP certification- full certification due July 2013.

The style of these two wines can be summarised as cool-climate with modern techniques - think New Zealand; technically well-made with good, pure fruit expression - rather than, say, traditionally rustic French.

L'Exotique 2011

Made from an blend of Grüner and Chardie, this is a golden sandy colour in the glass; the nose is quite restrained with just some hints of minerally white pepper, a touch of lime zest and puy lentils.

The palate is citrussy, rounded and mouthfilling, with a lively, tropical, almost spritzy acidity and good savoury underpinnings, plus hints of grapefruit, celery and lime zest.

Good length and a persistent, mineral finish with just a touch of smokiness.

Well-structured and focused with good purity of expression; very enjoyable.

A very versatile food wine, this will match with meaty fish or creamy dishes, such as salmon with risotto; also with roast chicken or pork and apple sauce.

Austrian winemaker Markus Huber assisted James with this wine.

Pinot Noir 2011
Ruby-red in the glass, on the nose there is strawberry and red cherry fruit with a hint of mushroominess and spice.

More juicy red fruit and spice on the palate, but the real interest here is the acidity - prominent, slightly rasping and yet rounded - with savoury underpinnings, good length and pleasant, firm finish.

It feels well-made, balanced and food-friendly.

Match with typical Pinot food, such as darker game; also steak or, as we did, beef with sour cream; best served gently chilled.

Neither of these wines are available at the multiples - the only stockist in UK is Stone, Vine & Sun- www.stonevine.co.uk

Domaine Begude - website, twitter

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