Everything you need to know about the sparkling wines from Limoux

January 15th, 2016

Everything you need to know about the sparkling wines from Limoux
By Stephanie Watson [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

By Joseph Temple

For anyone who thinks that a famous French monk invented sparkling wine–well, here’s some news for you! More than a century before Dom Pierre Pérignon began experimenting with bubbles on the chalky soil of Champagne, a small commune in the foothills of the French Pyrenees named Limoux was already producing its very own fizz. Back when Épernay and Reims were best known for their wool exports and the surrounding vineyards grew mostly red wine grapes, this small community on the river Aude became the birthplace for French bubbly.

Today, Limoux is largely seen as sparkling wine’s redheaded stepchild when compared to the names Veuve Clicquot, Bollinger and Krug. However, with some experts predicting that the market for high-end Prosecco is about to chill, Limoux may experience a renaissance for those seeking out a competitively priced alternative to Champagne. So here are ten facts to get you up to speed on this French wine region.

Limoux first sparkling wine in France
By Sieurd’arques (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

1.  According to the Limouxins, sparkling wine has been produced there since at least 1531. However, some historians believe it was first invented during the Middle Ages.


terroir of Limoux wine region
By jmt-29 (https://www.flickr.com/photos/jmt-29/2400948787/) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

2.  A mix between Atlantic and Mediterranean climates, Limoux is situated on a high altitude. The limestone slopes make it an ideal spot to grow Chardonnay.


Types of Limoux sparkling wines
By Stephanie Watson [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

3. The two main styles of sparkling wine are Blanquette de Limoux and Crémant de Limoux.


Mauzac grapes used to make limoux sparkling wine
By syvwlch [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

4. Blanquette de Limoux must be made with 90% Mauzac grapes – a local variety also known as Blanquette and tastes similar to apple skins. The rest is made up of Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc.


Cremant de Limoux sparkling wine
By Tomas er (Own work) [GFDL or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons

5. The more popular Crémant de Limoux only needs 10% Mauzac and/or pinot noir with the remaining 90% being Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc, resulting in a more refreshing taste.


what does cremant mean?

6. Crémant means French sparkling wine that is made outside the district of Champagne using the traditional method of secondary fermentation occurring inside the bottle.


limoux fermentation
By Pinpin (Own work) [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC BY-SA 2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons

7. Whereas Crémant de Limoux must spend at least fifteen months aging on the yeast lees, Blanquette de Limoux is aged only nine months on the lees.


limoux wine aoc
By Stephanie Watson [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

8. In 1938, an AOC was given to Blanquette de Limoux. But in 1975 and 1989 respectively, the rules were loosened to allow less Mauzac grapes and more international varieties such as Chardonnay.


what does limoux wine taste like?
By Sieurd’arques (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

9.  Limoux sparkling wine is known to have pear, peach and apricot aromas and a round, creamy taste with lemony acidity.


limoux non vintage
By Tomas er (Own work) [GFDL or CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

10. Most sparkling wine from Limoux is dry and sold as a non-vintage.



Coates, Clive. An Encyclopedia of the Wines and Domaines of France. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000.
Gasnier, Vincent. A Taste For Wine: 20 key tastings to unlock your personal wine style. New York: Penguin, 2006.
Hammond, Carolyn. 1000 Best Wine Secrets. Naperville: Sourcebooks Inc., 2006.
Joseph, Robert. Eyewitness Companions: French Wines. New York: Penguin, 2005.
MacNeil, Karen. The Wine Bible. New York: Workman Publishing, 2015.

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January 15th, 2016

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