Where to begin? Well, Les Beguines is a tiny vineyard that Jerome inherited from his grandmother, who had grown up in the tiny village of Gueux (gyoo) in the Vallee de la Marne. Pinot Meunier is undoubtedly prominent, as Prevost has been one of the leaders of the grape’s reintroduction to the wine world’s consciousness as something not just intended to be an afterthought of a complement to the champenois blend. Still, some bits of Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir exist and are blended into the final wines without much thought being paid to those, in turn, by the wine world who think of this as a Meunier-only house.
The family long leased the vineyard to other producers, until while under the watchful eye of Anselme Selosse, Jerome began to make his own wine from his family’s land in 1998, produced inside the Selosse cellars in Avize. As many former proteges do, Jerome had imprinted upon him the value of tremendous attention to his vineyard, with a critical eye to quality of fruit resulting in painfully tiny yields - only the very best fruit finds its way into the final wines. As far as winemaking, both barriques and demi-muids are utilized, with the final wines receiving very little sulfur and absolutely no dosage, which provides both transparency of the vintage and the vineyard, and accounts for occasional bottles not showing well when they are not cared for properly. A typical Beguines wine showcases a high-toned florality typical of the very best Meunier, along with a mouth-filling, textural, fine-moussed intensity and given time, trademark saltiness that can make you imagine the wine as a food course unto itself.
Prevost began with only two wines released, both from Les Beguines - a blanc and a rosé dubbed Fac Similie. The white version is typically made of almost exclusively a single vintage, with a bit ofreserve wine blended in, and best enjoyed within ten years of its disgorgement. Fac Similie is even harder to find and usually twice as expensive, but rewards the buyer with even more body carried seamlessly by the striking acidity - a wine for raw fish or red meat alike, with a savory, dried flower character complemented by candied stone fruit essences perfectly. This is in fact a blended style of rosé, rather than saignée - a small parcel of the vineyard is affected by court-noue, resulting in a crazy-small amount of fruit per vine, but that which does flourish does so in the most concentrated fashion.
Recently we have seen a few additional cuvées landing on American soil, including the Extra Brut Grand Cru; note that this wine does not bear "Les Beguines" as it is from purchased fruit from growers who share similar methodologies and farming practices as Jerome - read: fully ripe. There is also a "Climax" bottling of Les Beguines, first produced in 2012 when Jerome sectioned off the best barrel to create a super-lush, ripe and creamy example of his vineyard's potential. An additional wine called "&" showcases about 20% of Les Beguines fruit with the balance consisting of fruit from neighboring vineyards of Gueux, where the soils are similarly sandy and yields are not much higher than his own land.