From the Rhone and Med. Two Outstanding Reds For You. Beaujolais Soirée at On The Pig's Back.

 From the Rhone and Med. 

Two Outstanding Reds For You.

Beaujolais Soirée at On The Pig's Back.

Famille Tari IGP Méditerranée Cadet de la Bégude (IGP Méditerranée) 2020, 14% ABV 

RRP €26.99 Neighbourhood Wines; Green Man Wines; Terroirs; The Corkscrew; Pinto Wines; Myles Creek;; MacCurtain Wine Cellar, Cork

This red is a blend of three grapes associated with the Mediterranean: Grenache 35%, Mourvèdre 35%, and Cinsault 30%. It is classed as a IGP Méditerranée, a wide-ranging appellation that covers most of Provence and more. Wine Searcher tells us that this Cadet de la Begude has been ratedas one of the top 5 IGP Mediterranée wines” even though it is also regarded “like a second wine for the estate”. 

Colour is mid to dark ruby. Aromas are quite intense, darker fruit, mostly cherry. And that cherry edge continues on the palate. The balances comes from a fresh acidity and you also get fine-grained tannins, plus a spicy finish. Very Highly Recommended.

I’m not the only one happy with it. The producers are ecstatic, if the almost poetic label is anything to go by: A noble terroir and the signature of the Tart family 7th generation of winegrowers, give birth to this valiant Cadet. A selection with a fragrance of freedom, respectful of its environment, carried by the Mistral wind and the light of the Mediterranean Sea.


Domaine de la Bégude was purchased in 1996 by seventh-generation winemaker Guillaume Tari, Once a stopover for travellers seeking shelter and sustenance – ‘beguda’ means ‘drink’ or ‘the place to drink’ in Provençal – the estate was abandoned and overgrown when Guillaume discovered it. He and his wife set about replanting the old terraces and restoring the buildings. Certified organic since 2006, the vineyards are located at 400m altitude above sea level at the highest point in the Bandol.

Guillaume’s focus now is on producing wines that truly reflect their origins. All the grapes are harvested manually, sorted twice, destemmed and fermented with natural yeasts. The Cadet rouge and rosé are an equal blend of Mourvèdre, Grenache and Cinsault and are produced from the youngest vines at the estate, which have an average age of 10 years. As the vines are not old enough, the range is classified as IGP Méditerranée instead of Bandol AOC.


Top Wines 2022. With Reviews & Irish Stockists. 


Maison Les Alexandrins Crozes-Hermitage Rouge (AOC) 2020, 13% ABV
RRP €34.99 Michael's Mount Merrion, Pinto Wines, McHugh’s Off Licence - Malahide Road,

“Of all the wines produced in France, none offer more excitingly spicy flavours than those of the Rhone Valley.”*

And that is where our wine comes from. Colour of this 100% Shiraz is a deep purple with a sustained bright hue. It is fragrant with ripe cherry, small red fruit and spicy of course! On the palate it is well-structured, juicy, intensely fruity, spicy also, and fresh, with a wonderful balance, finishing long with velvety tannins. Very Highly Recommended.

The fruit for the Domaine Les Alexandrins wines comes entirely from estate-owned vineyards in Saint Joseph and Crozes-Hermitage. The Crozes-Hermitage Rouge is aged in large 55 – 80 hectolitre wooden vats for 10 months, followed by six months in stainless steel, softening the tannins and maintaining freshness.

The label indicates that the soil here - pebbles* and clay - has been made for Syrah. "Aged in wood for 12 months, our Crozes-Hermitage can be enjoyed young but will also age wonderfully.”

Crozes-Hermitage is the largest of the Northern Rhône appellations, about ten times larger than the neighbouring Hermitage, whose famous hill spreads out behind the town of Tain l'Hermitage 

Both wines are produced from Syrah and, while there are many similarities between the adjacent appellations, Hermitage scores where it counts even if you have to be patient with it as it “needs to be laid down for five, ten, even twenty years to fully open up”. Only some vintages of Croze can be laid down for long periods.  

The writer Alexandre Dumas is the famous patron of Hermitage while the best Croze-Hermitage can come up with is a bandit called Mandrin. I suspect that many of you, like myself, are glad that the less expensive Croze-Hermitage usually represents much better value. After all, some of its best vineyards are situated just behind that famous hill. You don’t have to be a bandit to enjoy.

And speaking of taking things for free….

Pebbles, brought in by the river from Switzerland in the quad-centenary period, is a bit of a misnomer here as the generally flat stones are quite large. Winemakers have to keep an eye on them: “People steal them to finish a calade (stone path) or build a pool wall. They are stealing our terroir!” More here


* from French Wines by Robert Joseph.


Best Value Wines 2022. With Reviews & Irish Stockists.