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30 May 2012

Languedoc: Limoux sparkling wines

It wouldn't be the first time I've knocked together a few enthusiastic words about Limoux fizz on this blog and what great value for money these wines often are. This increasingly dynamic region, and relatively "cool-climate" for the Languedoc - lying mostly on rolling hilly land stretching out to the south of Carcassonne around the eponymous market town - boasts hundreds of years of history of making quality sparkling wines. Not that I usually give a damn about how long somebody's been doing something per se - if what they're doing is good anyway - but a little "tradition" probably helps in this case.
The first two Limoux styles featured below are essentially created in the same way using the so-called traditional method (same as Champagne with a second fermentation in bottle), although different grape varieties, or proportions of, make up the base blends for each style; and the 'rules' on ageing differ slightly too. Crémant is made from Chardonnay, Pinot Noir (especially for rosé), Chenin blanc and/or Mauzac with at least 12 months bottle-ageing on its yeast-lees sediment. Blanquette is built mostly, or sometimes entirely, from Mauzac supplemented by Chenin and/or Chardonnay. There is another 'older' style called Blanquette Méthode Ancestrale, which is 100% Mauzac and the result of a bottle-fermentation that stops leaving some residual sugar and lower alcohol of 6-7%. I tried these tempting bottles on a tasting trip to the Languedoc last month.

Crémant de Limoux

White

2008 Château Rives Blanques Blanc de Blancs - delicately toasty and honeyed with almond and yeasty edges, crisp and stylish with attractive nutty and bready flavours, long refreshing finish. Very good.
2008 Taudou - less expressive nose, quite yeasty vs honeyed although crisp and steely too; a touch too much of that toasted yeast character although it has substance and is still nice!
2008 Alain Cavailles/Le Moulin d'Alon 'Résilience' - subtle nutty bready flavours with 'straw' and honey undertones, crisp mineral bite vs 'sweeter' toasty creamy side, good length and style.
2008 Domaine Delmas Cuvée Audace - richer nose with more 'fino'/nutty character too, lovely crisp steely bite vs yeasty and toasty. Very good.
2009 Georges et Roger Antech Cuvée Héritage - fairly fine with elegant nutty yeasty intensity, a tad closed up although has intricate flavours and crisp length.
2010 Domaine J Laurens Clos des Demoiselles - 'winier' and fuller with toasted oat notes, crisp and fresh finish. Lovely.
2006 Domaine de Martinolles - toasty complex nose, enticing rich developed character showing oaty nutty flavours vs steely and fine mouth-feel. Tasty stuff.
2007 Toques et Clochers Sieur d'Arques - delicious sparkling wine offering toasty complex full-bodied flavours vs tight fine and crisp on its long finish. Who needs expensive Champagne? This limited edition fizz is €15 cellar door, making it one of Limoux's dearest although among the best too.

Rosé

2009 Antech Cuvée Emotion - elegant red fruits and rose petal vs bready and nutty, tight and crisp finish. Good stuff.
2009 Alain Cavailles/Le Moulin d'Alon 'Micromégas' - rich and 'winey', not very pink but who cares; honeyed and fairly toasty cakey vs fresher finish and bite. More good stuff.
Domaine de Martinolles - delicate vs oily red fruits with nutty yeasty and crisp palate, again lovely fine steely finish vs gently toasty character. These guys know what they're doing.
Profile on Martinolles with older vintages HERE.
Domaine J Laurens La Rose No. 7 - sounds like a lipstick maybe, but this quite delicate tight and steely fizz also has subtle rose water and red fruit tones; mouth-watering refreshing style with nice lingering flavours. Very good.
Sieur d'Arques Première Bulle rosé - delightfully refreshing light and delicate pink fizz. Quite expensive though at €12.

Blanquette de Limoux

2009 Joseph Salasar Carte Blanche - toasty earthy winey with attractive honeyed straw character, richer yeasty palate vs crisp bite and length. Very good.
2009 Château Rives Blanques - aromatic grapey winey nose, rounded vs steely palate, nicely crisp and long; a bit different too.
2009 Alain Cavailles Etincelle Originelle - earthy vs appley nose, yeasty and lightly toasty flavours, crisp vs honeyed, quite intense and refined.
2009 Alain Cavailles Résilience - similar style, finer and nuttier perhaps, again crisp refreshing vs honeyed mouth-feel, elegant length.
2009 Domaine Robert Carte Noire - floral and almond aromas, light crisp and refreshing palate vs yeastier biscuit flavours, long and fresh. Good stuff.
2010 Nicolas Therez Instant d'Arome Peche - fruitier and grappier vs apple and pear notes, crisp and steely with light refreshing finish.
2010 Sieur d'Arques Première Bulle - clean crisp and appley with yeasty undertones, quite delicate and tart, nice palate cleanser with crisp length. Good. €10
2010 Robert Carte Ivoire - juicy honeyed hints vs appley and crisp backdrop, nice lightly toasty yeasty richness vs dry and steely, fresh and long. Fair class.
Profile on Robert / Domaine de Fourn with older vintages HERE.
2010 Taudou - more honeyed and fuller style, oat cakey flavours vs appley crisp and clean bite, delicious fizz actually.
Domaine Delmas Tradition NV - subtle honeyed grapey tones vs appley bite, attractive yeasty depth and oat biscuit flavours, crisp long vs richer finish. More good stuff.
Antech Brut Nature - appley and lightly yeasty, intense crisp and dry vs rounder honeyed biscuity side, long and refreshing; needs food as it's pretty dry on its own. Very good though if you like 'nature' styles (no added dosage = sweetening).

Blanquette Ancestrale

Sieur d'Arques Coeur de Bulle (6% alc., 80 g/l residual sugar) - refreshing and light although quite sweet: best with a fruit dessert actually. €7.60
Antech Ancestrale - grapey and earthy, sweet vs crisper side, pleasant Moscato d'Asti alternative.

Lots more Limoux fizz here (report from last year's "Millésimes en Languedoc", April 2011. See also Limoux winery profiles in the Languedoc A to Z on the right...

2 comments:

  1. Hi Richard, I'm going to Limoux next week so I shall look out for some of these names! Thanks for the info. Hope you're well, Louise

    ReplyDelete