The biddies take another stop on the passport tour to discuss more delicious red wine and possibly the first traditional method fermented sparkling wine. Together Languedoc and Roussillon produce one-third of all French wine. Tune in to hear about this not much talked about wine region: Languedoc-Roussillon.
Kara drinking: Bertrand Gerard Cremant de Limoux Rose and Les Darons Languedoc 2019
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Society of Wine Educators, “Certified Specialist of Wine Study Guide”
Madeline Puckette and Justin Hammack, “Wine Folly: The Master Guide”
Wine Folly, Languedoc-Roussillon
Food Republic, Getting to Know Limoux
Wine Folly, Cremant Wine
Image Credit: Decanter, 8 Sparkling Limoux Wines Worth Seeking Out
Please note some of these notes may be directly copied and pasted from above sources.
Study notes for Languedoc-Roussillon:
- Languedoc and Roussillon make up the Occitanie/Mediterranean coastal region of France
- Languedoc is 90%, Roussillon makes up other 10%
- Together they represent France’s largest wine making region, one in three French wines is produced here
- Greeks introduced wine to the area in 5th century BC and winemaking proliferated under the Romans
- In the 17th century, construction of the Canal du Midi, which connected the Mediterranean to the Atlantic, gave a boost to the wine sector. In the late 19th century, the railway system made it easier to ship wine to Northern France, which led to a period of great prosperity for the Languedoc wine community.
- Phylloxera 1868
- Rich full-bodied red wines with Syrah, Grenache, Carignan and Mourvedre as major components.
- Unoaked zesty white wines made mostly with Picpoul and Grenache Blanc. Step aside Pinot Grigio.
- Same varieties in reds and whites, but pink by design.
- Cremant de Limoux is supposedly older than Champagne; and a super value.
- The largest producer of organic wines in France
- Biggest producer of IGP and AOC roses in the France
- The majority of Languedoc’s wines are red blends
- Rosé and still white wines are produced here
- Sparkling wines made in the traditional method, a technique made famous because of its association with Champagne but one that’s believed to have been discovered in Languedoc’s Limoux area.
- Crémant employs labor-intensive secondary bottle fermentation, as does Champagne. There are a wide variety of styles to choose from, as Crémant is made in eight different appellations throughout France (and can also be found in neighboring Luxembourg).
- La Blanquette de Limoux is undoubtedly the oldest sparkling wine in the world. We know that in 1531 the monks of St. Hilaire produced Blanquette de Limoux.
- Working with Mauzac, a local grape varietal, the monks created an effervescent wine crafted for celebrations and primed for international appeal.
- Less than 200 years later, the British were sipping coupes of Limoux, and cases of blanquette had made their way across the Atlantic to Thomas Jefferson’s cellar at Monticello.
- Unconfirmed sources say that he spent time at Saint-Hilaire before heading north to Champagne to continue his winemaking journey.
- The original is known as méthode ancestrale, a sweeter sparkler made with 100% Mauzac grapes. Since these wines are made the old fashioned way, the unfiltered bottles are more cloudy than clear and have distinctive apple notes.
- Next up is blanquette, a wine made primarily of Mauzac, which can incorporate small amounts of Chenin and Chardonnay. Made with modern techniques, these wines are dry but show a ripe green apple sweetness while pouring crystal clear.
- Finally, there’s crémant de Limoux, a sparkler that falls into the drier, more international style of bubblies. Crémants come in a classic dry style as well as a rosé, both of which make for a great aperitif. They are made primarily from Chardonnay and Chenin, with additions of Mauzac and Pinot Noir allowed.