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26 February 2008

Languedoc: Les Caves de Sieur d'Arques, Limoux

Les Caves de Sieur d'Arques

One of the biggest and most enterprising co-op cellars in the Languedoc (for example, they supply the wine for Gallo's hit US brand called Red Bicyclette, although they did allegedly get their fingers burnt over a certain "Pinot Noir" cum Merlot wine!), who produce very nice examples despite the substantial volume of the whole variety of Limoux styles. Recommended sparkling wines include their Bulle de Blanquette Brut, aged in bottle on the yeast lees for 24 months, and stylish Crémant de Limoux rosé (see tasting notes below, sampled at Vinisud Montpellier February 2008). They also do guided tours around their enormous factory-like winery and show a touristy film, which is nevertheless interesting to see how the local fizz is produced on a large scale compared to the family-run estates featured in this guide. See below under Domaine Fourn for a bit of blurb on the production of the different Limoux sparklings. Caves Sieur's still Limoux wines come from four separate vineyard areas and are also worth a taste: the best ones are arguably from La Haute Vallée, higher altitude plantings that help express more finesse perhaps.

Bulle de Blanquette Brut (Mauzac Chenin Chardy 12.5% alc, 24 months lees ageing) - elegant toasty/yeasty aromas, quite rich honeyed mouth-feel with crisp backdrop and a bit of class too. 89-91
2005 Crémant de Limoux Brut (15 months ageing) - finer in a way and more floral, less textured though with light honeyed fruit then subtle refreshing finish. 87-89
Bulle de Crémant rosé (same plus a bit of Pinot Noir) - touches of red fruits with toasted-bready undercurrents, nice mouth-feel with crisp intense length. 89+
Méthode Ancestrale tradition (100% Mauzac 6.5%) - quite sweet yet refreshing with oily developing fruit, a bit odd although nice. 85+

UPDATE: latest Sd'A wines and vintages are here (Limoux report, April 2011).

Avenue de Carcassonne, 11303 Limoux. Tel: 04 68 74 63 00, www.sieurdarques.com.

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