Sparkling Limoux Wine
Limoux is famous for its naturally-bubbly wine. "Blanquette", or "Blanquette de Limoux" is the world's first naturally-fizzy wine, being made, and drunk, since the 14th century (about the time Limoux's Pont Neuf was built). Called a bubbly wine, we found the Blanquette to be very akin to Champagne in taste (although not in creation).
Limoux is famous for its naturally-bubbly wine. "Blanquette", or "Blanquette de Limoux" is the world's first naturally-fizzy wine, being made, and drunk, since the 14th century (about the time the Pont Neuf was built). Called a bubbly wine, we found the Blanquette to very akin to Champagne in taste (although not in creation).
"Blanquette" derives from the Occitane word for "small white", small possibly referring to the bubbles. The official variants of the sparkling Limoux wine are Blanquette de Limoux, Blanquette méthode ancestrale and Crémant de Limoux. Beyond's own research verified the excellent quality of Blanquette de Limoux demi-sec and the Crémant de Limoux brut.
In 1531, monks of the Saint-Hilaire Abbey described the production and distribution of the blanquette wine, making this the world's oldest naturally-sparkling wine on record. The official Appellation d'origine contrôlée (AOC) designation for the Blanquette de Limoux came along about 400 years after the wine, in 1938.
Limoux wines of the more common, non-sparkling type, go back about 16 centuries earlier than the monks. The Roman historian, Titus Livius (Livy), traded in Limoux wines when the Romans occupied this area, and he lived from 59 BC to 17 AD.
The area's geographical location, getting the warm Mediterranean wind (vent marin) and the dry Atlantic wind (vent cers), along with its distinctive soil of clay, limestone and sandstone, provides the basic unique qualities of the blanquette. The region's location, north of the Cork Oak forest of Catalunya, gave Limoux producers easy access to the material needed to produce secondary fermentation in the flask, which produces the bubbles necessary for sparkling wine.
The climate here is cooler and moister than other wine growing areas in the South of France, and the grapes benefit from the ideal hillside locations at higher altitudes.
An added geographical benefit is the location just north of the Cataluña forest of cork oaks, providing the oak and the cork for the flasks necessary for the secondary fermentation. It's this secondary fermentation that provides the sparkling wine's sparkle.
A fourth Appellation d'origine contrôlée (AOC) designation of Limoux AOC was created in 2005. Quite different from the ancient three, this is a red wine, made mostly from Merlot grapes.
Most of the technical content is from wikipedia.org. We have, though, conducted personal, on-site taste research of the Limoux wines from time to time, most recently in June 2019.