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bubbles
By Matthew Wexler

Those TINY Little

High Spirits

FORGET TRYING TO FIGURE OUT HOW THE PYRAMIDS OF EGYPT WERE BUILT—ONE OF THE WORLD’S GREATEST MYSTERIES IS THE ORIGIN OF SPARKLING WINE, WHICH MANY BELIEVE BEGAN IN LANGUEDOCROUSSILLON. ADD THE REGION TO YOUR WINE LOVER’S BUCKET LIST TO UNEARTH AN EFFERVESCENT PAST UNIQUE TO THE SOUTH OF FRANCE.

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at a more wallet-friendly price. The modern Blanquette de Limoux contains a minimum of 90 percent Mauzac (a variety indigenous to southwest France), with recent vintages exhibiting a robust, yeasty quality and beautiful hay color. Crémant de Limoux, a brut or medium dry sparkling wine that is distinct because of the region’s particular appellation, relies on Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc and is meant to be drunk within two years of bottling. Blanquette de Limoux Méthode Ancestrale uses a fermentation process where the sediment from the secondary fermentation is left in the bottle, creating a sweeter sparkling wine, slightly cloudy with floral notes and stone fruit on the palette. Of course, the most authentic way to experience these wines is in LanguedocRoussillon itself, where you will find a sparkle in the eye as well as the bottle. Discovering a lush countryside dotted with dedicated winemakers, tasting rooms and local culture, you’ll wonder why Dom Pérignon ever left.

weekend, or get even more serious with a WSET (Wine & Spirit Education Trust) professional course. Take a break from the bottle and revel in the Limoux Carnival, which has been part of the city’s history since the 16th century and runs weekends from January through March in the Place de la République.

a Point about Perrier
First utilized by the famed military commander Hannibal as a place to rejuvenate his troops, Perrier—the most famous sparkling water in the world— comes from Vergèze in LanguedocRoussillon. The property received its name in 1898 when Louis-Eugène Perrier purchased the estate and set about developing a sealed glass bottle that could hold this natural spring water that contains three times its volume in gas. Today, Perrier is in 150 countries, but you can have a family-friendly experience directly at the source with a visit to the Perrier Spring and Museum. n
Addresses Antech Limoux Wines antech-limoux.fr Gilles Louvet Wines vignobles-gilleslouvet.com Gerard Bertrand Wines gerard-bertrand.com Couvent d’Hérépian garrigae-resorts.com The Vinécole vinecole.com Languedoc Roussillon Travel Info sud-de-france.com/en Perrier at Les Bouillens, Vergèze +33 4.66.87.61.01

Picks that PoP
Antech Blanquette de Limoux, Réserve Brut—From a family estate for more than six generations, this sparkling wine showcases floral aromas with a golden hue and finishes with delicate bubbles. Gilles Louvet Esprit du Sud—Part of an organic portfolio offered since 1993, this Blanquette de Limoux showcases notes of honey and menthol. Gerard Bertrand Crémant de Limoux— Once captain of the Stade Français rugby team, Bertrand now owns seven estates and was awarded European Winery of the Year ( 2011) by Wine Enthusiast. His take on Crémant offers a toasty hazelnut effervescence and a mineral finish.

d

om Pérignon is often credited for méthode champenoise, the now legendary second fermentation that occurs in the bottle. But almost 150 years before Pérignon’s arrival at the abbey in Hautvillers in 1531, the monks of SaintHilaire in the south of France wrote of Blanquette de Limoux—what was then a flasked sparkling wine. It’s possible that Pérignon visited the abbey in Limoux on a pilgrimage, picked up this established technique, and applied and perfected it in the Champagne region. We’ll never know for sure, but LanguedocRoussillon continues to embrace the tradition of sparkling wine. The three categories of sparkling wine from Languedoc carry their own cachet

Go. see. Do.
Originally built as a convent to accommodate the Church of Saint Martial nuns, the Couvent d’Hérépian has been restored as a charming inn and features a subterranean wine vault and “honesty bar,” where you can taste local vintages at your own pace. Create your own wine experience with Master of Wine Matthew Stubbs at Vinécole, the center for wine education in Languedoc-Roussillon. Choose a two-hour workshop or a guided wine

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