Head South For This Smashing Pair, One White, One Red. Or Just Head to O'Brien's



Head South For This Smashing Pair,
 One White, One Red.
Or Just Head to O'Brien's!


Domaine Begude “Etoile” Chardonnay Limoux (AOC) 2018, 13.5%, €18.95 (21.95)

Beautiful mid-gold colour. The aromatics are quite complex, regular fruit (such as apple and pear) along with the exotic (mango) in the mix. It is certainly more of the exotic on the rich palate, quite a rounded almost creamy mouthfeel, more complex than most French Chardonnays (not that there is such a thing as a typical Chardonnay as the chameleon grape makes itself at home wherever it finds itself), good acidity too though, so the long finish is harmonious.

This Highly Recommended wine should be fine with salmon and trout, with roast chicken (even roast turkey!). The winery also says it is “heavenly with Comté & other hard cheese”. Worth a try so with Hegarty’s Templegall though I know cheesemaker Jean-Baptise may prefer a Saint-Emilion.

This certified organic wine, full-bodied and smooth, is crafted from Chardonnay grapes high in the cool climate region (hot summer days and cool nights) of Limoux. Fertilised using only natural manures and cultivated with the utmost respect for the environment, this wine is vinified and matured in the very best French oak to bring you “our finest cuvée, Etoile”.

Colour is a dark red. Intense nose of dark fruits, notes of spice, perhaps a hint of the garrigue, the scrub that thrives around here. I once stayed in a gite in Languedoc owned by a Madam Garrigue. Like the senior citizen Madame, this wine is amazingly smooth (the madame used tidy up the pool in her bikini every evening). Must say that gite was great value for money and I can indeed say the same about this Prestige, fresh, and full of fruit, enhanced by nine months in oak. No pesticides, no herbicides, just excellent value (more so with the current reduction). 

Garrigue, by the way, is a feminine noun. And since I’m on gender, the French language version of the label indicates that Syrah is feminine while Carignan and Mourvedre, the other two in this blend, are masculine!

O’Brien’s tell us that Caraguilhes is completely organic, “this estate was using organic techniques when it was virtually unheard of anywhere else”. The Prestige is their oak-aged Reserve wine and is a seriously stylish wine. 

As regards keeping the wine, the winery advices that while it has potential of 6 or 7 years, it can be drunk today. Decant one hour in advance and serve at around 15 degrees. Food pairings: Provencal lamb (if you don’t have Herbes de Provence, try thyme, sage and rosemary), roast grilled beef with olives, quail in truffle sauce. Enjoy.


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