The second sparking wine that we tasted as we cruised north under the George Washington Bride, circling Manhattan with other cruisers, was this 2008 St. Hiliare Blanquette Limoux – a blend of 98% Mauzac, Chardonnay, and Chenin Blanc from Languedoc, France. Enjoyable for a variety of reasons, and in no small part because we wouldn’t normally pick up a sparkling or drift to French wines in general. As such, it was a nice change of pace from our domestic proclivities. This was paired with my favorite cheese of the day, a La Tur from the Piedmont area of Italy. The cheese was formed from a blend of sheep, cow, and goat’s milk–it was runny (“oozing” in the words of our host, not a description that I’d usually give to my foodstuffs) around the perimeter with a most, cake-like paste. Its flavor was earthy and full (“like ice cream served from a warm scoop”)–a truly enjoyable pairing.
“The Blanquette de Limoux is probably the oldest sparking wine in the world. In 1531, the Benedictine Monks of the Abbey of Saint-Hiliare were already producing Blanquette de Limoux, which thus precedes champagne by more than a century. The Limoux vineyards are located at Languedoc, in Southern France, at the foothills of the Pyrenees Mountains. The grapes are selected from clay-limestone plots that capture both the Oceanic and Mediterranean influences. Dry, toasty, smooth and clean it truly captivates with an attractive yeasty aroma and luscious creamy texture. The palate is light and crisp with citrus and apple flavors and the body is just hefty enough.”
And on our tour of the world’s wines continues!