Mauzac from Limoux
Mauzac is the traditional grape variety of Limoux, grown only in Limoux, and also a little in Gaillac, but nowhere else. But once the wine growers in Limoux were allowed to plant Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc for the appellation, and Crémant de Limoux was developed as an alternative to Blanquette de Limoux, Mauzac tended to be overlooked and forgotten. Happily it is now enjoying a revival of interest, both for still and sparkling wine, as the growers begin to appreciate its individuality.
Thanks to a friend receiving some samples from Maison Antech, I was able to taste their new range of Mauzac, M le Mauzac. There were four wines, all pure Mauzac. The vineyards are all well established, between 20 and 40 years old and the yields are lower than 50 hl/ha.
NV Brut Nature, Blanquette de Limoux - 15.00€
A light colour. Good mousse. A distinctive herbal, nettly nose, that I associate with Mauzac, and on the palate, good acidity with fresh dry herbal fruit and a rounded finish. There was no dosage, as the name implies, but the taste is not as austere as some Brut Nature, thanks to the ripe fruit. A very satisfying interpretation of Mauzac. The wine had spent 26 months on the lees of the second fermentation, sur lattes. 12°
2016 M le Mauzac Blanquette de Limoux 15.00€
Given 36 months on lees. Good mousse. Lightly golden colour. Nicely rounded and understated on the nose, with a note of discreet maturity. More complexity than the Brut Nature, with good depth and herbal fruit. An intriguing bitter note, un joli amer, on the finish At least 40 months sur lattes. 8 gms/l dosage and 12°. In short, a lovely glass of bubbles.
N.V. M. le Mauzac 3.0 - 18.60€
3x pas d’ajout de sucre, à la fermentation, au tirage, au dosage ! So says the technical sheet. No sugar added on the three possible occasions that you could add sugar. At least 26 months sur lattes and 12°. Quite fierce bubbles. More honeyed on the nose, and riper, but with more acidity on the palate. A firm tight knit palate, with herbal notes and a rounded finish. Heavier and firmer than the previous two wines. I wondered how this might develop in the bottle, and on the day preferred the previous wines.
N.V, M L’Ancestrale - 15.00€
The Ancestrale method is the traditional method of Limoux, a Pét Nat under another name, rather than the classic champagne method of the other three wines. Just 10°. A light mousse. A soft nose with light nettly notes. The palate is quite sweet and frothy, with a rounded finish. 20 gms/l residual sugar makes it lightly sweet without being cloying, and the sugar is balanced with some refreshing acidity.
And then we compared these new wines with N.V. Cuvée Tradition Brut that is Antech’s standard Blanquette de Limoux. The blend is 90% Mauzac with 5% each of Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc, given 15 months sur lattes. Dosage 10 gms/l. 12°.
Light colour. A soft rounded nose with more soft fruit on the palate, with herbal nettly notes and some acidity, balanced by a rounded finish. Lovely easy drinking bubbles, and good value at 8.80€.