Limoux has a long history for making fizzy wines, which dates back to 1531. The appellation sits high in the valley of Aude near the Pyreneese Mountains, planted to 4,300 acres and home to 41 unique communes with some of the oldest Chardonnay vines in the south of France. The vineyards are much higher in altitude than those in surrounding Languedoc-Roussillon appellations and the wines here are quite distinctive.
Most of the sparklers are of modern style using the méthode traditionnnelle process. In Champagne, they use the same process but it is known by a different name, méthode champenoise—a second fermentation that happens in the bottle, later disgorged with a liqueur d’expédition which, depending on how much sugar is added will determine the style of wine.
To make sparklers from Cremant de Limoux, they blend Chenin blanc, Chardonnay and Mauzac–a traditional principal grape of Limoux which produces good acidity with green apple flavors.
The 2010 Gerard Bertrand Cremant vintage is a blend of 70% Chardonnay, 20% Chenin blanc and 10% Mauzac, which makes for a very aromatic wine with white flowers and biscuits on the nose. Fruit forward flavors of orange and hazelnuts finishes clean with crisp lime and mineral components. Considering the price point, it has a high quality to price ratio (QPR) that cannot be beat.
Broad culinary pairings would include regional favorites such as goat cheese, oysters, or sea bass, but apricot desserts would work equally well. Enjoy!