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Domaine Berthoumieu (375ml), 2012, Madiran 'Cuvee Charles de Batz'Red, Old World, Madiran from the South West of France
Full, smooth with good fruit and tannins; elegant. Excellent with richly flavoured meats like leg of lamb, duck or prime rib. And also with dark chocolate.
Why we recommend this wine
When one hears of scientific support for one’s habits then you rush out to get healthier; and there aren’t much better ways of getting healthier than full-bodied red wines. This was the theme for the red wines at one of our wine club tastings at home (see here for more about how to organize a wine club in your neighbourhood) where we contrasted Madiran, Argentinian Malbec and Californian Zinfandel. See Did you know below for further details about the health properties of Madiran.
Domaine Berthoumieu’s top red wine is the cuvée Charles de Batz, which was the original name of d'Artignan, the fourth Musketeer. The wine is 90% Tannat with 10% Cabernet Sauvignon from vines that are at least 50 years old. Unlike many other Madiran winemakers, Didier does not use micro-oxygenation to tame the tannins; instead he racks intensively and uses new oak to add sweetness to the burly wine. As such, they are even more approachable in their youth but age impressively too.
This is a very ripe, rich Madiran that takes no prisoners. This wine succeeds in obtaining more fruit than tannin! The colour is nearly opaque — a rich dark red. The nose and palate are black fruit (blackcurrant and blackberry) along with just a hint of red fruit. There is a cedar-like creaminess to the well-integrated oak. The tannins arrive on the finish but this is Madiran and that is to be expected.
The wine estate
Domaine Berthoumieu is owned by Didier Barré, who took over for his father Louis in the mid-1980s. Didier was one of many young winemakers at this time greatly inspired by Alain Brumont of Chateau Montus fame. Domaine Berthoumieu has 24 hectares of vineyard. The vineyard is managed along organic lines. Didier has applied the Tonyx method for more than a decade, using natural trace elements to strengthen the vine's protective defences thereby making it more resistant to diseases. Other treatments can then be limited. Quality management in the vineyard uses methods such as thinning out the leaf canopy to increase sunlight on the grape bunches to get the best maturation possible and green harvesting to limit yields.
Domaine Berthoumieu website
Food and wine
Excellent with richly flavoured meats like leg of lamb, duck or prime rib. And also with dark chocolate.
Refer also to our food and wine pairing guide, click here
Did you know?
Tannat-based wines are considered to be at the heart of the ‘French paradox’ - a catchphrase, first used in the late 1980s, which summarizes the apparently paradoxical epidemiological observation that French people have a relatively low incidence of coronary heart disease (CHD), while having a diet relatively rich in saturated fats. The high fat content of the South-Western diet (lots of duck and foie gras) is, it seems, countered by the high procyanidin content, the polyphenol that has been identified as being responsible for this paradox. (Tannat has higher procyanidin than any other variety. Other wines that are also high are Malbec from Argentina and Zinfandel from California). Dr Corder (see Roger Corder's The Wine Diet) recommends around half a bottle for men and a third for women to be consumed daily with food. He describes Berthoumieu's "Charles de Batz" as one of his favourite Madiran wines and gives it an outstanding ♥♥♥♥♥ rating which means a 125ml glass has at least 120mg procyanidins.