Here are four notes on wines tasted during a recent visit to Bordeaux. The residents of south-west France should give eternal thanks for the likes of Antech. These wines are available for a song; all those I report on here are available off the shelf in French supermarkets for about €6. At that price point they wipe the floor with the competition which includes co-operative Crémant de Bordeaux (I should know, I tried it: I couldn’t think of a tasting note that didn’t include the phrase “urinal freshener block”), négoce Saumur and green and nasty bottom-end sparkling Vouvray. I only wish a more comprehensive range of these wines were imported into the UK.
A quick recap before my notes. Crémant de Limoux (an appellation created in 1990) allows for Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc, a minimum of 30% combined, maximum 20% of either, the rest Mauzac, whereas Blanquette de Limoux is more long-standing and ‘traditional’ (created 1938) and is at least 90% Mauzac, the remainder Chardonnay and/or Chenin Blanc. Quality from a few addresses – Antech is the best I know – can be very good, one of the go-to appellations outside Champagne for good quality sparkling wine. The wines reported on here are all made using the méthode traditionelle, although there is also an appellation which allows for méthode ancestrale.
The wines are all stocked by E LeClerc, should you happen to find yourself in need of visiting a French supermarket in the south-west or Bordeaux do keep an eye out for these. The 2003 Crémant and 2005 Blanquette were probably chance finds, old stock which had perhaps recently been uncovered in the warehouse. I suspect a hunt for the 2008 or 2010 Blanquette is more likely to be successful.
Antech Blanquette de Limoux Grande Réserve Brut 2010: A fresh and very primary nose here on this very young wine, with plenty of clean, youthful, white stone fruit. A good style on the palate, rather perfumed in character with notes of white peach, very primary as per the nose, and rather floral too. Later, some Mauzac honey comes to the fore, and there are little softly effusive seams of minerals to be found as well. A very attractive wine with lots of development potential. I would keep a five or six years to see it at its best. 16/20 (July 2012)
Antech Blanquette de Limoux Grande Réserve Brut 2008: A lemon gold hue and an exuberant bead here. A good Mauzac character on the nose, with honeyed fruit, tinged with little pebbly, stony notes. A good and confident style on the palate, where notes of lemon and stone fruit, especially white nectarine, mix with subtle notes of honey and musk, especially as the wine opens up. Fleshy and flavoursome, reserved and straight, yet ripe, this is a wine of great energy. Good. 15.5/20 (July 2012)
Antech Blanquette de Limoux Grande Réserve Brut 2005: A rich, lemon-gold hue here, with an effusive bead, although it is quite fine in character. The nose is honeyed and biscuity, with suggestions of orange zest and macaroons. The palate has a lovely character, maturing with biscuity and oatmealy notes, albeit with lots of energy and zip alongside. A very confident substance, with just a touch of cashew nut seduction behind the lemony backbone. A long finish too. Delicious. 16.5/20 (July 2012)
Antech Crémant de Limoux Grande Réserve Brut 2003: An incredibly exuberant mousse in the glass, the wine showing a huge foaming energy, although it does settle down eventually. It has a pale golden hue and aromatically it is clean and evolved, with scents of biscuit, honey and oatmeal alongside light citrus fruits. The palate shows a soft and mature style to match this first impression, although it has a fresh, lively, prickly mousse underneath lifting the midpalate and giving vigour and life. A fresh, approachable and interesting wine. In fact, considering the price, it’s fabulous. 16.5/20 (July 2012)
See my Antech profile for more on this producer.