PATRICE BÉGUET, Arbois – Biodynamic, natural
Patrice Béguet’s winery 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.
Since 2015, which was Patrice’s best vintage to date, the wines are bottled without the addition of sulphur, and with no fining/ filtration either. This was 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 élèvage, 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.
‘Orange was the Colour of her Dress’ (reference to Charles Mingus tunes). Some of the Savagnin fruit for ‘Orange…’ is destemmed and macerated in three barrels over the course of 5 months, while the rest of the fruit starts its fermentation in a large vat of whole bunches with a 3 week (full) carbonic maceration. The maceration here is more accurately an infusion, without pumping or pressing, so the wine has an ethereal cloudy white appearance, instead of the typical amber or ‘orange’ hue that many skin contact wines have. The nose is enchanting and mysterious with floral and melon aromas, and the palate is all white apricots and morning dew.