France: Languedoc Roussillon

Around Carcassonne

The wines of Cabardès, Malepère and Limoux
By Richard James and Paul Strang

This Guide was last updated on 26 April 2010
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Main appellations

Cabardès

Appellation for red and rosé wines, which are from a mix of red Bordeaux and south-western grape varieties with Mediterranean varieties such as Syrah and Grenache.

Malepère

Red and rosé production. The most westerly appellation in the micro-region with reds being a cocktail of both Bordeaux (with Merlot dominating) and Mediterranean varieties. Used to be Côtes de Malpère VDQS.

Limoux

Appellation for both red and white wines but red wine production is small. The whites are mainly Chardonnay with some Mauzac and occasionally Chenin Blanc allowed. They must be fermented and aged in oak. The area for reds is growing (unusual in France) and the production rules are even stricter than usual with a grape mix which reflects its location between South West France and the Mediterranean. There must be a minimum of 50% of Merlot in the blend and this is complemented by Côt (Malbec), Syrah, Grenache, Carignan and occasionally Cabernets Sauvignon and Franc.

Blanquette de Limoux

Sparkling white from a base wine of the local Mauzac, together with small amounts of Chenin Blanc and Chardonnay. Is is made by the Tradititional (Champagne) Method, aged on lees for nine months minimum. It can be made as a Brut or a Demi-Sec (almost sweet) style.

Crémant de Limoux

Sparkling white wine made mainly from Chenin Blanc and Chardonnay with some Mauzac and Pinot Noir allowed. It follows the rules for all Crémants in France being made by the Traditional Method, aged for at least 15 months before release, with at least nine months on lees. It is only made in a Brut style.

Blanquette Méthode Ancestrale

Sparkling white wine made from 100% Mauzac. Fermentation takes place in bottle without additional yeasts or sugar and there is no disgorgement. The resultant wine is sweet, occasionally slightly cloudy, with only 6 or 7% alcohol, drunk as an aperitif or with dessert.

IGP (Vin de Pays) d’Oc

Regional IGP (formerly Vin de Pays) here covering Aude department. Over 32 different grapes varieties are permitted and there is a great diversity of styles and quality. IGP designations within this area include notably VIGP du Cathare, and IGP de la Cité de Carcassonne.

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