Thursday, March 29, 2018

Wine Review: Martinolles Le Berceau Blanquette de Limoux

March is Languedoc-Roussillon Month on!

Let  me start off by saying how cool it was to try all these wines from the Languedoc-Roussillon. That said, I know you expect more from me when it comes to the content of my reviews. If I could, I would have gone through great detail about all these subregions to give you a virtual tour of the greater region, given you a brief history of each individual winery, and then said inappropriate things with inappropriate language. That's how I like to blog. But, as you know, it's been rather difficult for me lately to find the time to do that. Someday I'll get back there, hopefully sooner rather than later.

I hope that when that time comes that I can do a Languedoc-Roussillon Month the way I actually want to do it. Did you hear that, guys-who-sent-me-these-wines? Expect a ringy dingy from The Wine Stalker in the future. Together we'll do something really special. Anyways....

FINALLY! A BUBBLY! The only sparkling wine for Languedoc-Roussillon Month, the final wine of said themed month, and deservedly so. Let's use this to toast a fun month of wine from this great region in France!

I've got here a Blanquette de Limoux, and to explain what that is I present a clip from my article A Bubbly Biography - The Story of Sparkling Wine - Part 1: France and Spain:
"Just south of Limoux happened to be a shit-ton of cork. The entire cork forest of Catalonia, in fact. In 1530 the Abbey of St-Hilaire took advantage of this by deciding it would put its completed wine from that year inside individual glass bottles, stopped by the local cork. Then in the spring of 1531... SURPRISE! FULL-ON BUBBLE UP IN YO FACE!

It was the first sparkling wine and the Limouxins loved it. They named it Vin de Blanquette or 'the small white'. A hundred years later things would be much different up north in the French region of Champagne. The same thing was happening to the barrels of white wine that had been stored in caves over the winter. But they didn't like it. They wanted it to stop.

What was happening in both Limoux and Champagne was a second fermentation for two different reasons. In Limoux, their Mauzac grape was so late budding and late ripening that harvest took place in late autumn. Fermentation was slow in the winter conditions so when the wine was bottled, sugar and live yeast still remained. It just wasn't finished yet! Champagne, being much further north, was naturally much chillier anyways. The caves they used to store their barrels were safer and warmer than outside but still friggin cold. Too cold for yeast to work their magic. Fermentation had stopped completely and then started again in the spring. When they started bottling their wine earlier instead of letting it sit in barrels all winter, it would carbonate in the bottle just like in Limoux."

"Limoux's Vin de Blanquette is now known as Blanquette de Limoux. The process of how they make it is called Blanquette methode ancestrale. They bottle it before it's completely fermented, just like the original, and the yeasts aren't disgorged from the bottle, just like the original, so it's hazy with sediment. When made in this manner anywhere else outside of Limoux then it's called methode ancestrale or methode rurale, but those are quite rare and they're allowed to be disgorged. Limoux makes a ton of methode traditional wine as well."
Alright! Let's pop the top!

The color of the wine is a pale yellow with a beautiful frothy top from the pour but that flattens out rather quickly. I'm not seeing any rising bubbles either, and at a glance you might think that it's a still wine. But that doesn't mean the carbonation isn't there, because once you start drinking it there's no mistake that it's got some bubbles.

On the nose there's a lovely bready-yeastiness over green apples, pears, and vanilla. On the palate it's medium to full bodied with a creamy mouthfeel, lively acidity, and millions of tiny bubbles tickling your tongue and the top of your mouth. There's flavors of green apples, pears, lemon zest, and honeydew. It finishes with green apples, lemon zest, and an almost overwhelming minerality of crushed stone.

Oh, soooooo nice! It's AWESOME! My only complaint is that you're going to need some food with it. The profile is just begging for a pairing. But is that really a complaint if you think about it? Cheese, oysters, fettuccine alfredo, fried zuccini, whatever!

Price: $17
Rating: 4/5 = Recommended (what does that mean?)

The bottle used was supplied free of charge for the purpose of this unpaid review. To have your wine reviewed follow this link.


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