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Saint Hilaire Blanquette de Limoux
The famous story of Blanquette de Limoux dates back to 1531 when the monks of the Abbey of Saint Hilaire in the Languedoc made the world’s very first sparkling wine. Four centuries later a handful of local winemakers banded together to create their own enterprise, the Sieur d’Arques cooperative, which is dedicated to producing top quality sparkling wines as well as still red and white wines made with traditional local grape varieties.
Their classic Blanquette de Limoux is made using Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc and the little-known aromatic Mauzac grape which is indigenous to the region and must be used in all Blanquette wines. Sieur d’Arques vinifies each of the varieties separately before deciding on the exact composition of the blend. The wine is then bottled and a second fermentation takes place inside the bottle to create the bubbles in the wine. After nine months this process is complete and the bottles are disgorged and released to the market.
The result is a refreshing dry sparkling wine with delicate aromas of apples, white peaches, flowers and freshly-cut grass. On the palate the bubbles are fine and soft and the rich fruity flavours are balanced by a crisp acidity that invites you to take another sip. It’s a perfect wine to drink on a hot summer’s day as an aperitif or to serve alongside creamy dishes like a gorgonzola risotto or elegant tarte tatin.
Allimant Laugner Cremant d'Alsace Rose
Domaine Allimant-Laugner was born out of the marriage of Mariette Allimant and René Laugner in 1965 which joined together two of Alsace’s top winemaking families. The estate boasts 12 hectares of prime vineyards and is currently run by three generations of the Allimant-Laugner family who have been making wine for at least 11 generations.
The family’s Cremant d’Alsace Rosé is a style which is growing in popularity and it’s made using the traditional method which is the same winemaking approach used for Champagne. The Pinot Noir grapes are gently pressed after a short maceration to create the gorgeous pale pink colour and the must is then fermented twice. The second fermentation takes place inside the bottle and the wine is aged on the lees to add extra complexity and body.
As soon as you pour yourself a glass you’ll notice the delicate stream of tiny bubbles and inviting aromas of fresh strawberries, cherries and white flowers. The first sip reveals a bright acidity, smooth mousse from the bubbles, and enticing red berry flavours with a very clean and pure finish. The vibrant character of this Cremant makes it ideal as an aperitif or served alongside spicy Asian cuisine or fresh seafood.
Louis Bouillot Perle d'Ivoire Cremant de Bourgogne Blanc de Blancs
This striking Cremant de Bourgogne is named Perle d’Ivoire or “Pearl of Ivory” as a nod to the fact that it is made only from Chardonnay and Aligoté grapes. The Louis Bouillot house carefully sources their grapes from two distinct areas of Burgundy which offer very different grapegrowing conditions. Part of the grapes come from the sunny Mâconnais in the south where the climate produces richer, riper Chardonnay grapes, while the remainder is from the Yonne and Chatillonnais which have a crisper and fresher character.
By blending together these two styles of Chardonany, the house is able to produce a perfectly balanced Cremant de Bourgogne which combines fresh citrus and vibrant acidity with richer tropical fruit flavours. The grapes are fermented according to the traditional method which is also used for Champagnes and the wine is then matured in the bottle on the lees for 18 months. This extended ageing period adds a softer, creamy texture and hints of fresh pastries and nuts.
The rich flavour profile and bright bubbles in this wine make it an excellent option for celebrations and aperitifs, but it is also a gastronomic wine which can pair with anything from sushi, oysters, grilled fish, or asparagus dishes.
Gerard Bertrand Thomas Jefferson Cremant de Limoux Brut 2017
The legendary Gerard Bertrand is widely regarded as the “King of the Languedoc” by the French wine industry thanks to his commitment and dedication to making world-class wines all over the region. This unique Cremant is named after U.S. President Thomas Jefferson who loved these wines which were the only sparkling wines he kept in his personal wine cellar.
Sparkling wines have been made in Limoux since 1531 and the region offers ideal conditions thanks to the proximity of the Pyrenees which give the region a cooler climate. This ensures grapes ripen fully but keep their natural aromatics and freshness which are essential qualities for top sparkling wines. The grapes are all harvested by hand and vinified in exactly the same way as Champagne with the second fermentation taking place in the bottle. A modest dosage is added when the wine is disgorged to make the wine easy on the palate.
On the nose there are bright green apple, pear and lemon zest notes while the first sip reveals a delicate mousse, smooth texture and vibrant, mouthwatering acidity. The finish is long and seasoned with hints of buttery pastries, citrus and apple pie. While it can be served as a refreshing aperitif, this Cremant also makes a fantastic partner for flavoursome goat cheeses or fruit-based desserts.
Grande Cuvee 1531 Reserve Cremant de Limoux Brut 2016
This gorgeous dry sparkling wine opens with seductive aromas of pears, ripe peaches, toast and salted butter which transform into hints of honey, jasmine and apples on the palate. The fresh, light character of this bubbly makes it an excellent choice for an aperitif or to drink alongside summer salads or seafood.
Cremant de Limoux is made according to the traditional method which is also used to make Champagne, so this wine undergoes a second fermentation in the bottle followed by 18 months of ageing on the lees. This contributes intriguing flavours of toasted nuts and brioche as well as delicate bubbles and a deliciously rounded texture in the mouth.
Producer Sieur d’Arques is a dynamic cooperative which was founded in 1946 by a group of passionate local winemakers looking to make the best possible wines from their exceptional vineyards. Their Grand Cuvee 1531 is named after the year when the world’s first sparkling wine was invented just down the road from the cooperative by the monks of the Abbey of Saint Hilaire. Ever since that time the Limoux region has been associated with top quality sparkling wines and Sieur d’Arques seek to translate this tradition into modern terms with their adoption of the latest winemaking technology.
Antech Emotion Cremant de Limoux Rose 2018
Crafted using the same traditional method that is used to make Champagne, this gorgeous vintage Cremant de Limoux is an excellent choice for enjoying as an aperitif at casual family gatherings. The Antech family have been producing Cremant de Limoux for six generations. Operations are currently in the capable hands of brothers Georges and Roger along with Georges’ daughter Francoise who is widely regarded as one of France’s most talented female winemaker.
Composed of Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Mauzac, and Pinot Noir grapes, this vibrant Cremant is matured on the lees for a total of 18 months to add complexity and richness to the finished wine. To add a subtle hint of sweetness to balance the intense freshness of the wine, the Antechs add a modest dosage of 8 grams per litre when the wines are disgorged.
On the nose there are delicate aromas of lemon zest, crushed red berries and rose petals, while the first sip reveals a smooth, persistent mousse and bright citrus notes. The vibrancy and elegance of this wine makes it an ideal aperitif and partner for dishes like spicy Asian curries, pan-seared salmon or tuna steaks, or decadent pasta dishes.