Antech Crémant de Limoux Cuvée Eugénie 2007
During the weekend, with a clear blue sky overhead and climbing temperatures, it was perfect weather for eating and drinking in the garden. And I could find no better bottle to start with than this week's featured wine, the Cuvée Eugénie, a Crémant de Limoux from Antech. This was the last of the handful of bottles I managed to bring back from my visit to the domaine last year.
First, a quick recap of the Crémant de Limoux appellation, which was created in 1990 to exist alongside its older and more traditional counterpart, Blanquette de Limoux. That latter appellation focused on Mauzac, a variety almost unique to the region, whereas the newly created Crémant was put in place to facilitate the production of blends using other varieties, including higher proportions of Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc. In fact, having spoken to a number of local vignerons, I think many Blanquette wines included other varieties and so Crémant merely legalised what was already ongoing. The initial regulations for this appellation indicated a minimum of 30% Chardonnay and Chenin combined, with a maximum of 20% of either variety. Further amendments weighted the balance in favour of Chardonnay, so that the wine now has a maximum of 90% for Chenin Blanc and Chardonnay, although the former is limited to 20-40% (so Chardonnay might account for as much as 70%). There is also room for a maximum 20% of Mauzac and Pinot Noir combined, although the latter in isolation is limited to a maximum 10%.
On the whole I think Limoux is an excellent source of wine, both good quality and good value, and having exhausted my small supply with the consumption of this bottle I shall have to look out for more. In the meantime, however, on with the wine, the Antech Crémant de Limoux Cuvée Eugénie 2007. The cuvée in question is named after Eugénie Limouzy, a matriarch in the Antech history, and (if I have the Antech family tree correct) a great-great aunt to the current head of operations, Françoise Antech. In this vintage it is 70% Chardonnay with 20% Chenin Blanc and 10% Mauzac. In the glass it has a pale green-gold hue, with plenty of bubbles. The nose is fresh and open, floral, with the aromas of white peach, mint with just a suggestion of nut crackle underneath. The palate is fresh, with a fine creaminess to it, cut through by a lively acidity. Flavours of mint tea, stone fruit with a citrus vivacity, falling away very slowly in the finish, lingering on the palate for some considerable time. A very fine effort which makes lovely sunny-weather drinking now, or which will keep in the cellar for a good while I think. 17/20 (17/5/10)