Don Heistuman’s inspiration for his Bebame

Last Tuesday I attended a 2-hour wine workshop from 18reasons. It turned out to be a pretty decent night. The purpose of the event was for Don Heistuman to introduce us to some of the wines which inspired him to make his own baby: Bebame.

Don Heistuman entertaining the group

So Don prepared 4 wines (around the 20 dollars mark) in addition to his Bebame which we got to taste last. Here is the list:

  • Domaine des Terres Dorees, Beaujolais, L’Ancien, 2009
  • D. Ventura “Pena do Lobo” Ribera Sacra (Galicia), 2009
  • Franck Peillot Vin du Bugey Mondeuse, Savoie, 2009
  • Bernard Baudry Chinon, Loire Valley, 2008

Those wines were a pleasure to drink. If I had to pick one, I’d go with the first one. Strawberries, delicate, silky but still light, lots of pleasure. And I was happy to get my palate on the Mondeuse varietal for the first time, which reminded me of the masculine Syrah. Let’s say that: I really enjoyed his inspiration!

Poured and ready

Don talked a fair bit at the beginning, but we got into some discussions in the second half. All people around the table had a strong interest in the topic and we heard a diversity of opinions.

Take that one: is the winemaker part of the notion of terroir? I’d personally say no because I believe terroir should be restricted to the land, the climate, the soil type, the topography. But this perspective certainly has to do with my experience with natural winemakers who repeatedly told me during the interviews that the goal was to make the winemaking processes as discreet as possible. Only that way, they often said, can it be possible to make a wine of terroir. However, as the wikipedia page for terroir describes it these days, some people expand the concept and will include some human-controlled elements. And that’s Don’s opinion too. As you can tell, that was an interesting debate.

One thing which was challenging to me was the fact that Don didn’t consider his wine to be a wine of terroir, even though he had a hands-off approach and used indigenous yeasts. He said it would take a few vintages before he could make a wine of terroir. I guess I’ll need to sit down with Don around another glass of his Bebame so that we can discuss that further…

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1 Response to Don Heistuman’s inspiration for his Bebame

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Don Heistuman’s inspiration for his Bebame | Natural Wine in California --

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