Friday, May 23, 2008

Blanquette de Limoux

History tells us that Blanquette de Limoux, the world's first sparkling wine, dates as far back as 1531. At the time, the monks of the Benedictine abbey of Saint-Hilaire, near Limoux, were producing a somewhat unusual white wine in their cellars. Inside its glass flask, with a cork top - very rare for wines at this time - it acquired a natural sparkle. This was the forefather of the brut which is tasted today at the world's most prestigious tables.

Since they first started cultivating vines, the growers of Limoux have aimed at maintaining the originality of the Blanquette de Limoux growth and developing its quality. The region's surrounding hills protect it from the extremes of the Mediterranean and Atlantic climates, with the area enjoying a microclimate particularly suitable for making quality white wine. The vines classified in the appellation are always planted at the top of southern-facing slopes, giving the best exposure. The soil here is shallow and sparse, full of chalk and stone. The surface area of the vineyards is restricted by quota, the yield is limited, and the grapes are picked manually only, in sections, at the ideal stage of ripening.

Two exclusively white grape varieties: Mauzac and Chardonnay form the basis of the blend for Blanquette de Limoux. Mauzac, the growth's traditional variety, gives body and aroma. Chardonnay, its irreplaceable partner, reinforces the bouquet, the freshness and the finesse.The result is a dry, creamy-textured, full-bodied wine with a fine yeasty character present in the aroma. Subtly fruity, with toasty green apple and lemon flavors. Tastes very clean yet with a long full finish.

No comments: