Sips: From France, a superb $17 sparkler

At a discussion I moderated last week here in New York on the convergence of the wine and social media worlds, part of the fun for the audience was being able to taste a few great wines before and after the event. For starters, we served a superb sparkling wine that I had come across at a couple of recent tastings, including one in which I served as a judge of some of the best wines from the Languedoc region in the south of France (a role for which I received an honorarium).

The wine was the 2008 Blanquette de Limoux Grande Réserve from Antech, and I thought it would present a nice opportunity for those attending to try a very good non-Champagne sparkApril 2010 wine 014ling wine, of which there are many, of course. This one, at a suggested price of $17, is less than half what you would pay for even the most inexpensive Champagnes. And it proved to be highly popular with the audience, very much in a dry Champagne style. It’s bright and very fresh with fine bubbles, made primarily from the local mauzac grape (90 percent), with five percent each of chardonnay and chenin blanc. It’s lemony with a note of green apple and and a nice yeasty quality that also reminded me of Champagne. An altogether delightful wine at a price that can’t be beat.  In my tastings, I also discovered that Antech also makes an excellent sparkling rose called Emotion made primarily from chardonnay with smaller amounts of pinot noir, chenin blanc and mauzac. Raspberry and strawberry notes with a lemony finish. Fun fact: there is some evidence that the bubble-producing method of secondary fermentation in the bottle actually originated in Limoux before it was used in Champagne. Imported by Baron Francois Ltd., New York.

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