Domaine de la Bégude is a paradisiacal jewel spanning 500 hectares, of which almost 30 hectares are dedicated to viticulture. It’s hard to imagine a better terroir than the one on which their vineyard is located: protected by the Mistral wind and benefitting from the sea influence, Mourvèdre, Cinsault, Grenache, Clairette, Rolle and other indigenous varieties dominate the region thanks to the high altitude. Guillaume Tari, owner of the vines of Château Giscours, succumbed to the beauty of La Bégude, and bought it in 1996. We spoke to him to find out how things have changed since then.
Guillaume Tari is the seventh generation of a family of passionate winemakers. He bought the domain in the late 1990s, and decided to “awake the sleeping beauty”, and began farming seven hectares organically (certification was obtained in 2003).
Guillaume Tari’s ambitions boil down to expressing the terroir and adapting each vintage to allow it to express the personality of the environment that surrounds it. Bandol benefits both from the sea influence and the protection afforded by Sainte-Baume. The domain spans almost 70 parcels with clay-limestone soils that are vinified separately before being blended. “By working with great precision, we can produce wines full of surprising freshness from this terroir”. Guillaume Tari harvests his grapes by hand (as dictated by Bandol’s cahier des charges), destems them, strictly selects his grapes (both in the vineyard and the cellar) before a slow vinification. Rosé and white wines alike are matured on lees, with some light batonnage to impart texture and flavor. The red wines are punched down manually before maturing for 18 months in a range of containers (barrel, demi-muid, casks).
To his mind, Bandol is one of France’s quintessential appellations (it was one of the first to be classed in the 1940s); Guillaume Tari thus recognized right away that he had come across a true gem, a gem whose authentic character he wanted to showcase, by producing a great wine. He spends a lot of time working among the vines and vinifies the wine himself. His golden rule is that “one should never try seek something that is incongruous with the wine”. Rather, he does his best with what nature gives.
When it comes to tasting, Guillaume Tari enjoys tasting wines at all ages, getting to know them young and seeing how they evolve. According to him, “to understand a wine, one must know them in their youth so as to ‘get them’ at maturity”. He recommends playing with the temperature at which you serve his rosés: the idea is to taste them at between 12 and 14°C, as you would a fine white wine. Their balance means you can enjoy them alone, with cheese or a desert.
Don’t miss out on the wines from Domaine de la Bégude, see the selection available on iDealwine!
A blend of Mourvèdre and Grenache grown organically on clay-limestone soils. The wine is produced in stainless-steel vats and matures on lees for two months. Its pretty coral robe reveals a charming aromatic bouquet of flowers and citrus fruits. Fresh, well-balanced and persistent.
A blend of predominantly Mourvèdre grapes with a touch of Grenache, this certified organic red Bandol sees a long maceration interspersed with regular manual pigeages (punching down) and matures for 18 months in oak demi-muids and barrels. This cuvée marries perfectly with grilled red meat or duck.
La Brûlade is a top single vineyard cuvée, coming from a parcel with extreme exposure both to the sun and the Mistral wind, but combined with the mild temperatures and cooler nights brought by the sea breeze. The Mourvèdre and Grenache grapes are grown organically on clay-limestone soils with an average yield of 25 hl/ha. The fruit is harvested by hand, sorted twice, completely de-stemmed and pressed with skin-contact maceration, regular punch-downs, alcoholic and complete malolactic fermentation in wood before maturing for 18 months in French oak demi-muids. This is a limited production cuvée, with an excellent ageing potential. Decanter before serving, ideally alongside a leg of lamb.
What the guides say about Domaine de la Bégude
La Revue du vin de France, 2* out of 3
With a noticeable difference between daytime and nighttime temperatures and a strong regional wind, the Mourvèdre grapes ripen slowly but surely. The Grenache grapes reach a dimension rarely found in Bandol, undoubtedly thanks to the terroir of gravel.
bettane+desseauve, 4* out of 5
Bought by Guillaume Tari in 1996, he and his wife run this historically-rich domain with spirit and wholeheartedly, respecting the surrounding nature as much as possible and producing wines in-line with their philosophy, according to which “quality is the sum of many different details, each requiring equal amounts of rigor”. The Mourvèdre expresses not only the personality of its terroir but also the winemaker.