No takers? Gentlefolks, pop your bubblies!
I'll start with a couple of good Blanquette de Limoux, traditional-method sparklers from Limoux in Southwest France, near Carcassonne, that I reported in the Wine Advisor last week but saved for this Wine Focus. I really like this genre for excellent quality in a not-Champagne that sells well below Champagne prices. Saint-Hilaire 2014 Blanquette de Limoux Brut
A blend of Mauzac ("Mo-zock,") the historic regional grape, with Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc, this Limoux sparkler foams up briefly, then falls back to a slight but persistent bubble stream. It shows a very light brass color, pale straw with a greenish hue. Its light, fresh-fruit aroma suggests a mix of delicate fruit and scents, hints of tangerine peel and kiwi fruit with a breath of acacia flower, an aroma reminiscent of wool. Creamy carbonation and fresh, brisk acidity come together on the palate, opening to citrus and floral notes that mirror the nose as the wine warms in the glass. U.S. importer: Jack Poust & Company Inc., NYC. (Nov. 22, 2016)FOOD MATCH:
Like Champagne, this bubbly wine goes with just about everything. We enjoyed it with a light dinner salad with a soft vinaigrette and dabs of mild Capriole goat cheese, and hot dinner rolls with butter.WHEN TO DRINK:
There's no rush, but I'd drink this vintage bubbly within a few years of the vintage, while it's fresh.VALUE:
My local price is pretty close to the $14 average U.S. retail listed by Wine-Searcher.com
. It's an excellent value in the middle teens, and I'd consider buying it as a Champagne alternative up to $20 or so.WEB LINKHere's a link to the importer's fact sheet
on both this Brut and Saint-Hilaire's "Semi-Sweet" bubbly.FIND THIS WINE ONLINE:
Look for vendors and compare prices for Saint-Hilaire 2014 Blanquette de Limoux Brut at Wine-Searcher.com
.Domaine J. Laurens NV "le Moulin" Blanquette de Limoux Brut
A blend of 90% Mauzac with Chardonnay, this is a clear, light straw-color sparkling wine, with a foamy mousse that falls back to leave multiple streams of lasting bubbles. Simple, pleasantly earthy note behind light scents of pears and green apples. Effervescent prickliness and tart acidity dominate a palate impression backed by simple white fruit and a touch of chalky minerality. The label claims a relatively gentle 12 percent alcohol by volume. It seems simple at first, but gains intriguing notes of Champagne-like "cocoa" and "biscuit" as it warms in the glass.
U.S. importer: Vintner Select, Mason, Ohio; a écoltant Wines selection. (Nov. 20, 2016)FOOD MATCH:
Good anywhere an acidic white wine would go. It seems a particularly good companion with white-fleshed fish, shrimp, oysters or clams. WHEN TO DRINK:
It's non-vintage, but probably best not held for long-term aging. There's no open or coded bottling date, so check with a trustworthy retailer if you're in doubt.VALUE:
My local price is a few bucks above the $12 U.S. retail shown on Wine-Searcher.com
. Even at the mid-teens, it's a good value at a price substantially below the cheapest Champagne..WEB LINK
The estimable Jancis Robinson has a good article about Limoux' little bargains
, including a mention of J. Laurens and some of his wines.FIND THIS WINE ONLINE:
lists only a few European vendors for Domaine J. Laurens "le Moulin" Blanquette de Limoux Brut.
For a wider selection of Blanquette de Limoux and some information about the region and its wines, see this Wine-Searcher.com link
You might also try checking in with U.S. importer Vintner Select
to ask where the wine can be found at retail.