The vineyard in the south of France gave birth to the first brut sparkling wine. An event which dates back to 1531. A century before Champagne. Wine has been sparkling and the flutes have been out ever since.
Yes indeed! Limoux is the source of the world’s first sparkling wine. Everything happened in the Saint-Hilaire abbey in the Aude. In 1531, a Benedictine monk discovered how to transform still wine into sparkling wine quite by chance. The first world’s first brut sparkling wine was born. The winemakers of this terroir in the Aude have since adopted this “sparkling” technique over the past few centuries.
Today, there are three wine regions within Limoux (Blanquette de Limoux, the traditional method of the Blanquette de Limoux, and Crémant de Limoux.) This geographical area covers 3,000 hectares and consists of 42 local districts. All of them share the same limestone and stony terrain. The climate between the ocean and the Mediterranean guarantees maximum sunlight and benefits by rainfalls distributed throughout the year.
Blanquette de Limoux, whose bottles age for nine months in the cellar, has a pale yellow colour. This bubbly is enjoyed in its “brut” version with local dishes, while its semi-dry version is more dedicated to desserts.
Crémant ages for longer than Blanquette. It rests in the cellar for at least fifteen months. “It’s basically a brut,” says an oenologist, before adding: “It is recognised by its pale colour and its really delicate bubbles…” It is much appreciated as an aperitif with salty toast, however it can also accompany both fish and white meats.
The traditional method used to make Blanquette wine is surrounded by mystery. Bottling can only take place under the old March moon and not at any other time. With its aromas of green apple and its lightness, it works superbly with all desserts. Good-quality sweet sparkling wines (VMQ – Vins Mousseux de Qualité) in the IGP Pays d’Oc region complete the range offered by the southern French sparkling wine grape varieties.
All of these wines are at the heart of parties where corks pop, flute glasses are raised, and the wine sparkles.