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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.
Dominique Piron Cremant de Bourgogne
Burgundy might be better known for its stunning Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wines, but the region also produces some remarkable sparkling wines made from these two noble grape varieties. The Dominique Piron Cremant is made with 100% Chardonnay sourced from the village of Corcelles which are grown on north-facing plots, helping to retain a bright freshness and delicate perfume in the grapes. The Piron family have been winemakers for at least 14 generations and today are regarded as one of the region’s leading lights.
Dominique Piron use the traditional method to produce this wine which is exactly the same technique used for making Champagne. The grape must undergoes two fermentations with the second taking place inside the bottle. The resulting wine is then aged for a total of 12 months on the lees to give additional complexity and a creamy texture and a very modest dosage is added at the moment of bottling.
The result is a feather-light mousse and uplifting citrus and tropical fruit aromas which carry through onto the palate. The bright freshness and buttery hints combine harmoniously in the mouth and make this wine an excellent choice as an aperitif or to combine with seafood, pan-fried fish, or creamy chicken dishes.
Antech Emotion Cremant de Limoux Rose 2016
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.
Louis Bouillot Perle d'Aurore Cremant de Bourgogne Rose
This charming sparkling wine is a unique Crémant de Bourgogne thanks to the delicate pink hue which comes from the blend of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Gamay grapes. Ideal for drinking as an aperitif or in a relaxed setting with friends, this delicious bubly offers attractive aromas of redcurrants, raspberries and aromatic white flowers. The first sip reveals a smooth mousse, vibrant freshness and seductive ripe red berry flavours which make it an excellent partner for cheeses, charcuterie, or light salads.
To create the attractive pale rosy hue, the grapes are carefully macerated for a short time to gain a small amount of colour from the skins. The fruit is then pressed with each varietal being handled separately until the final blending phase. The grape must is then fermented according to the traditional method which is exactly the same winemaking process used for Crémant de Bourgogne’s more famous cousin, Champagne. The sparkling wine is then aged for 12 months to preserve freshness while adding extra complexity and structure.
Louis Bouillot is one of the top producers of Cremant de Bourgogne and the estate has been producing these elegant sparkling wines since 1877. Today the estate combines their heritage and generations of winemaking experience with modern techniques and equipment which allow them to produce stunning examples of these traditional sparkling wines.
Grande Cuvee 1531 Reserve Cremant de Limoux Brut
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.
Sieur d'Arques Premiere Bulle Brut
Sparkling wines have been made in this corner of the Languedoc close to the foothills of the Pyrenees ever since 1531 when monks at the nearby Abbey of Saint Hilaire created the very first sparkling wine in the world. Today one of the region’s most respected producers is the Sieur d’Arques cooperative which was founded in 1946 by several passionate local winemakers.
As is traditional for sparkling wines from the Limoux, this dry bubbly has a base of Chardonnay grapes sourced from the cooperative’s exceptional calcareous vineyards which add a certain finesse and delicacy to the wine. They also add a smaller amount of Chenin Blanc as well as a dash of the little-known indigenous Mauzac grape to add an aromatic character to the blend.
Just like Champagne, this sparkling wine is made using the traditional method whereby the wine undergoes a second fermentation in the bottle with the yeast. The wine is then left to enjoy an extended beauty sleep of 18 months to add a generous, rounded texture and subtle notes of toast, nuts and brioche to the wine. This helps to create an elegant sparkling wine which is ideal for celebrating special occasions or simply enjoying alongside a simple summer salad.