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7th April 2020

Time to drink the good stuff like there’s no tomorrow* #13

Domaine de la Bégude 2013
Bandol, France 13.5%

This is almost all Mourvèdre (90%) and is a characteristic example of the grape. Well, characteristic in all but one respect. It is deep and meaty with plum, liquorice and intense biltong savouriness and spice. But there is none - absolutely none - of the sweaty ‘horseiness’ that seems to descend on Mourvèdre/Mataro wines irrespective of their provenance. This flavour is due to the spoilage yeast - Brettanomyces - to which some people are more sensitive than others. Among indigenous Roseworthy-trained Australian winemakers for example, even a stray molecule can be a fault. Whereas in parts of France’s Rhône valley, no wine can have complexity without it. I find myself somewhere in the middle. A little savoury leatheriness is good, as long as the fruit is stil there. I also find my own sensitivity to ‘Brett’ to be at the more European, lower end of the spectrum.

I’d be surprised however if this wine - subjected to a scrupulous chemical analysis - showed any Brett in its makeup. It is rich and spicy with plum pudding and kirsch-soaked cherry flavours, palate coating raspy tannins, tarragon and garrigue flavours and a coffee-edged note to the finish. Exactly what good Bandol should be.

Domaine de la Bégude is one of the great properties in Bandol, given new life by the Tari family in the 1990s, so one to watch.

*There might be no tomorrow.


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