DOMAINE HUGHES-BEGUET, PATRICE BEGUET & CAROLINE HUGHES, Arbois – Biodynamic
This Anglo-Jurassic partnership is located in Mesnay, a little village a stone’s throw from Arbois in the Les Planches-près-Arbois gorge.
Patrice gave up a job as an IT Consultant in Paris, took the Wine Diploma at Beaune, and took over what has now grown to around four hectares of vines in Pupillin, Arbois, and his home village of Mesnay. He is committed to biodynamic methods, and is Demeter certified, quite unusual for such a small producer. In a region where biodynamics and natural winemaking are hardly a rarity, few are as committed to all aspects of ecology as
Patrice, and few young vignerons work as hard as he does too.
All the wines are fermented only with wild yeasts, never chaptalised to increase the degree of alcohol and are produced from vines sprayed with the lowest possible doses of copper, thanks to the use of herbal concoctions which strengthen and regulate the vines’ natural defences.
2015 was Patrice’s best vintage to date. The wines have massive potential, and Patrice is very happy because it was the first vintage he felt he could bottle every wine without the addition of sulphur, and with no filtration either. This is normal for his reds, but a first for his whites. Patrice said that he sees a different wine emerge after those interventions and to be able to release the wine he has lived with through its élevage, unchanged, is so satisfying. Above all, the wines keep their brightness of fruit and Patrice feels this is a big evolution in his winemaking.
The label on Beguet’s bottles is an early twentieth century lithograph used by Patrice’s grandfather, who had a licence to distill Gentiane, a spirit made from the gentiane’s root, and Patrice has adapted it for the domaine.
The Ploussard is very pretty. A short maceration for this quaffable Arbois wine yielding a most delicate shade of red just this side of a rosé, whilst in the mouth the tannins are unobtrusive allowing the transparent fruit to express itself, where raspberry is predominant. The nose exudes hints of smoke, characteristic of Ploussard vines planted on shadier hillsides, as well the black pepper notes which Pupillin’s oldest vines often confer to their wines.