Unique to this region, records show that Benedictine monks at the Saint Hilaire Abbey in Limoux were producing this wine as far back as the 1530s. It’s regarded as the oldest sparkling wine in the world, appearing about 150 years before champagne. It’s made in the same way as champagne (ie. secondary fermentation in the bottle) and local folklore has it that famous monk, Dom Perignon, visited Limoux and took the technique back to Champagne where he popularised it.
Domaine J. Laurens is an esteemed Blanquette de Limoux producer which features regularly with critics and was one of only 2 Blanquette producers recommended in an article on Limoux by international winehead Jancis Robinson MW.
A fresh batch arrived this month and it’s a lively blend of 90% Mauzac, 5% Chardonnay and 5% Chenin Blanc. It’s light gold in colour and is a fresh, crisp mouthful of green apples and yeastiness. It has a fine bead and with 10 g/L of residual sugar, it’s at the dry end of the spectrum. It even has a ‘champagney’ toastiness and body to it, which comes as a pleasant surprise. I found it more substantial than I expected and at this price I reckon it's great value fizz.
Yet to be discovered, you won’t find this wine around town. So try something fresh this summer.