A few weeks ago in their comments on a Friday Night Bubbles post about Pinon Vouvray Brut, the distinguished triumvirate Marco, Marcus, and Michael recommended Crémant de Limoux. Limoux is in the Roussillon, inland and northwest of Corbières and Fitou. Laurens and Maison Guinot were the producers mentioned. I was able to find a bottle from Guinot.
They've been making sparkling wine in Limoux using essentially the Methode Champenoise since the mid 16th century, well in advance of the rise of Champagne as superstar. Apparently there are three types of sparkling wine made in Limoux - Blanquette de Limoux, Blanquette Méthode Ancestrale, and Crémant de Limoux. Mauzac is the grape traditionally used to make sparkling wine in Limoux, but Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc have become standard too. Blanquette Méthode Ancestrale is a wine made only using Mauzac and it supposedly resembles very good apple cider. Crémant de Limoux is less than 20 years old, and according to Jancis Robinson' s Oxford Companion, it's an appellation created to connote a more international style of wine. I guess that Blanquette de Limoux is somewhat rustic - I've never tried it.
BrooklynLady and I had a few friends over on Friday night and opened a bottle of N.V. Maison Guinot Crémant de Limoux Brut Tendre, $20, Pacific Estates Importers. There is no information on the label regarding disgorgement date or time on the lees.
I figured that the wine would be better with food - the blend of Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc and the Tendre designation (between dry and off-dry) just said "hors d'oeuvre" to me. We went with pheasant pâté and pumpernickel toast with cream cheese and smoked salmon. I felt kind of like a smarty-pants because chenin blanc is a classic pairing with game bird pâté, chardonnay goes well with smoked salmon, and pumpernickel bread pairs perfectly with my Jewishness.
Everyone dug the wine, it was ripe and tasty with great texture, and it went very well with the food. I liked the complexity of the nose, with apple, slightly honeyed spring water, and hints of yeasty bread with air time. The palate was less complex, and with none of the precision and cut of a Blanc de Blancs from Champagne, but this is not Champagne. It's good in its own way - fleshy and ripe, not as sweet as I was afraid it would be, given the Tendre designation, and eminently drinkable.
Friday, March 14, 2008