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From the world's first sparkling wine region. A lovely, crisp, and fruity southern French fizz.
Product Code: SG3001
View all products by Georges & Roger Antech
Although Antech gets its name from vintner Edmond Antech, the property actually dates back over six generations of the Tisseyre-Limouzy family. They began cultivating vines in Saint-Hilaire, and in the early 1900s Eugénie Limouzy was one of the first women in Languedoc to manage a vineyard. It was her niece who married Edmond in 1931, and he was responsible for significantly raising the estate’s profile for many years afterwards. Their sons Georges and Roger took the helm after that, and built on their father’s traditions as well as respecting them.Today, the vineyards are managed by Georges’ eldest daughter Michèle and her husband Jean-Christophe Chauvière. Since 1996, the cellar has been run by sixth-generation Francoise Antech-Gazeau, who grew up on vineyards before travelling the world, and who now takes to her task with painstaking commitment to every detail. Today Antech produces over a million bottles each year. Limoux is thought by many to be the birthplace of high-quality sparkling wine production in France: it is rumoured that a monk discovered the process by accident in 1531, after cold temperatures halted his wine’s fermentation, which then began again once it had been bottled and gave the wine its signature effervescence. The thought of producing high-quality sparkling wine in the south of France may seem odd on first glance, but the climate here is quite unlike the rest of the Languedoc. It is noticeably wetter and greener and benefits much more from influences coming from the Atlantic. The valley of the Aude also brings freshness from the Pyrenees. The result is a microclimate quite unlike the surrounding area’s. The choice of grape varieties has also much more in common with the south-west. Mauzac, also grown in Gaillac, and here known as blanquette due to the white coating on its leaves, is historically the principal grape with chenin, also a native of the south-west, adding acidity. Chardonnay completes the picture for the whites with pinot noir planted for the rosé. The vineyard area is widely scattered among the hillsides overlooking the Aude, starting a few miles south of the city of Carcassonne to a little beyond Limoux itself. At its heart, of course, is the village of Saint-Hilaire where it all began Antech make wines in two distinct styles. Most is produced using the Champagne method, whereby there is a first fermentation in tank and then, with the addition of yeast and sugar, a second fermentation in bottle. Wines are then left to age for at least a couple of years. There is also a ‘méthode ancestrale’, which is how the wines were made by the monks at-Saint Hilaire. Only the mauzac grape is permitted and there is only one fermentation, which takes place in bottle. The finished wine is lightly sparkling and quite sweet with a gorgeous flavour of baked apples. This way of making sparkling wine is notoriously difficult to handle and production is very small, but Antech makes one of the finest.
Where do we start in a region so huge? With production nearly three times that of Bordeaux, or more than the whole of Australia, the Languedoc-Roussillon accounts for about a third of all French wine made. The sheer scale of production and the intense competition to channel such volumes through to the market means that in most years supply is greater than demand so prices are kept in check. It is not for nothing that wines from the South of France offer such great value for money. Here you get what you pay for. The trick is to get beyond the gain line and tap into a rich vein of almost endless vinous pleasure. Appellation Contrôlée and Vin de Pays (also known as IGP – Indication Geographique Protegée) - officially, these are two quite different wine worlds that live side by side almost, seemingly, in complete ignorance of each other's existence. Luckily, reality is different and most producers see no conflict between the two and many produce wines under both codes. Nor is one necessarily better than the other. Indeed many of Languedoc's most iconic wines, such as Mas de Daumas Gassac and Grange des Pères, are Vin de Pays. So why the difference? The status of Appellation Contrôlée was gradually conferred to the historic heartlands of Languedoc-Roussillon, in other words those sites in the foothills of the Massif Central and Pyrenees where viticulture has existed since the Romans. Appellation status is also about taste and about wine made from a narrow selection of mostly Mediterranean grape varieties.Vin de Pays (IGP) was introduced to improve the quality of what was then the mass of 'vins ordinaries'. It confers an identity to wines coming from those areas that were planted during the big periods of expansion, mostly in the plain between Narbonne and Pézenas. It allows for higher yields than AC, and, more importantly, allows a much wider palette of grape varieties for the growers to choose from.In terms of grape varieties Languedoc-Roussillon is France's answer to the New World. In the duality of Appellation Contrôlée and Vin de Pays, the conformism of Parisian bureaucracy goes hand in hand with the creative spirit of pure liberalism. So in terms of grape variety, almost anything goes! Native Languedoc and Roussillon varieties are at the heart of all appellation wines. With a changing climate and a tendency to extremes of weather, these ancient varieties are gaining favour.Carignan is the workhorse of Languedoc especially in the drier west. At its best, it produces a wine that is deeply coloured, quite tannic, sappy with brambly fruit. Many producers have woken up to the qualities of carignan if it is treated with respect and low yields are achieved.Grenache produces round tasting wines, often with low tannin and high alcohol and is rarely to be found on its own except in the fortified reds of Roussillon.Cinsault belongs in the heat of North Africa. In the South of France, it is widely grown and can add fragrance and lightness of touch to big brawny reds, but more often it is made into rosé.Like carignan, the native whites are more obviously associated with high production but with careful handling can produce wines of real interest. There is maccabeu and grenache blanc, grown mostly in Corbières and Roussillon. Clairette, grown mostly in the east, closer to the Rhône. Terret is grown extensively around Marsseillan, home of French vermouth. Maybe the best of all is the piquepoul which east of Beziers produces good quaffing dry picpoul de Pinet. Muscat used to be grown exclusively for vin doux naturel such as Saint Jean de Minervois and Rivesaltes but also produces full-flavoured dry wines of some interest.The biggest change in the South of France was the introduction of other grape varieties to help boost quality. For the reds, syrah was the most obvious import and is now widely planted and is usually part of a blend with grenache and/or carignan. Syrah is at its best where there is a little humidity such as in the east around Pic Saint Loup. Mourvèdre is much more complicated to grow but has a real future in areas close to the sea such as in parts of Fitou and Corbières.For the whites, roussanne and marsanne have also journeyed south from the Rhône to add finesse and flavour to Mediterranean blends. Increasingly, the Corsican vermentino, also known as rolle, can be found in blends where it often has a positive influence.Bordeaux has for long been an important connection for the Languedoc with the Canal du Midi there to prove the link. Not surprisingly, Languedoc producers were quick to introduce Bordeaux varieties in their vineyards. Merlot is the most widely planted and in some years has been very profitably exported in bulk to California or back to Bordeaux. The later ripening cabernets are probably better suited to the climate of the south and have great potential.Another revolution across the South of France has been in the quality of the whites. Before new standards of cellar hygiene and refrigeration were introduced, the concept of a fresh, dry and fruity Languedoc-Roussillon white wine was nigh impossible. Growers like Pierre Bésinet at Domaine du Bosc and Louis-Marie Teisserenc at Domaine de l'Arjolle were quick to spot the potential and successfully plant chardonnay, sauvignon and even the mysterious viognier.Regional StylesLanguedoc-Roussillon is such a large region that it is impossible to generalise about the entirety. It helps to divide it into three main sections: Eastern Languedoc, Western Languedoc, and Southern Lanuedoc. The east includes excellent appellations like Faugères, Côteaux du Languedoc, Pic saint Loup and Montpeyroux. The style of wine produced here is often Rhône-like: generous, thickly textured and often high in alcohol. Syrah is the outstanding grape variety and it blends well with grenache and sometimes mourvèdre. Nothing remains static in Languedoc and the old Côteaux du Languedoc is about to be replaced by a new appellation called simply Languedoc. Western Languedoc is more dramatic, mountainous, and much drier than the east, but it's also colder and the austerity of its climate and topography can be tasted in its wines. The carignan grape is often an essential element in many of the reds. Look out for saint-Chinian, Minervois and Saint Jean de Minervois (the latter for muscat based sweet vin doux naturel), Cabardès, Limoux (especially sparkling Crémant de Limoux).The south incorporates Corbières, Fitou and Roussillon. These are dry, hot regions surrounded by mountains which provide a majestic backdrop. Fitou is the oldest Appellation and confusingly comes in two parts. The best wines though come from in between in what is actually southern Corbières. Corbières is the largest single appellation in Languedoc, with myriad different styles from different soils and microclimates. This veritable chaos of crags, gorges, strewn with castles, wild herbs and abandoned abbeys encapsulates the heart of the Midi. The wines all have a little of that wildness and wonder.In Roussillon black schists on the north bank of the Agly make the best reds. These are typically fine and spicy with grenache and syrah. Traditionally the best-exposed sights near the village of Maury have produced sweet fortified wine. High mountains provide the opportunity to plant vines at higher altitudes and make fresher wines. Finally, this vast region ends in a narrow strip of land between mountain and the sea and with Spain on two sides. Twisting lanes and vertiginous vine terraces link the little ports of Collioure, Banyuls and Cerbère. The fortified wines are sold as Banyuls and are mostly Grenache-based with a little carignan. The Collioure appellation is for expressive, full-bodied and refined table wine which can be made from several grape varieties: carignan, syrah, grenache, mourvèdre and counoise for the reds and grenache, roussanne and vermentino for the whites.
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JancisRobinson.com 7th Aug 2020
"Big fan of the 2014 (even served it at our wedding), but this vintage lacks the class and balance.
Still plenty of apple and pear on the backdrop of buttery toast. But after a nice beginning and middle, the end is overdone with heavy citrus leaving an acid aftertaste.
Fingers crossed for the 2017 (just ordered a case...)"
Mr Addam Merali-Hosiene (02-Aug-2020)
"I enjoyed it. It's less sweet that prosecco and so my mother didn't like it so much but that left more for my sister and me who quite like our whites drier. Otherwise a decent bottle of fizz. I have yet to try the prosecco's here so will be interested so see what they're like."
Mrs Fay Pisani (28-May-2020)
"Not sure about this one. Fruit is very muted, lactic notes dominate, finish quite abrupt and tart. Perhaps best younger? Antech seem to agree, stating it is best enjoyed within two years on the back label. My friend enjoyed it more but still summarised it as 'melon washed in vinegar'. Plenty of other bubbles preferable around this price point, including the Saumurs and even the Society Cava."
Mr Eoin Walshe (16-May-2020)
"Very glad to have found this, our local gastro pub sells it by the glass and it's very delicious and a nice change from the ubiquitous prosecco."
Mrs Beverley Nicolaides (26-Dec-2019)
"Enjoyed a bottle of this for Boxing Day lunch after a bottle of Bollinger for Christmas Day lunch, and, y’know, I preferred this. Absolutely gorgeous. Bring it on! "
Mr Julian Boyce (26-Dec-2019)
"This is delicious. Served it to discerning guests last night and they were sure it was a superior Champagne! Just bought a case for serving over the Christmas holidays. At £10.95 it's an absolute steal! "
Mr Gordon Best (28-Nov-2019)
Knackered Mothers Wine Club (19th Mar 2020)
"The Languedoc region in southern France was making sparkling wine back in 1531, long before they were doing the whole second-fermentation trick required to get bubbles in the bottle in Champagne. The blend is quite different though, with local hero grape Mauzac taking the lead. From a great producer, this is crisp and apple-y with a touch of biscuit. A great bone dry alternative to Prosecco if you’re looking for one. - Helen McGinn"
"Apple tones, light on the palette and does not linger. But for the price about right. Light, crisp and probably best as a mixer. "
Mrs Clare Ashton (23-Mar-2019)
"Five stars on the basis of 1) this is a lovely drop of sparkling wine and 2) the price makes this one of the best bargains currently out there. Like the listing says, this is a fruity, refreshing dry and crisp fizz. No more dull, over-priced and uninspiring Prosecco for me, especially as it's more expensive than this little gem."
Mr Tony Cheffings (03-Nov-2018)
Mr Alex Downham (03-Oct-2018)
"Not sure why others give this great "champagne"such poor ratings
The Monks in limoux were the very first ever to brew this lovely fizz and then were robbed of the process by the big champagne houses
I challenge anyone to compare this to the rubbish from Italy"
Mr Arni Mertens (26-Jul-2018)
"Dry but not very exciting. Good in cocktails. The Celebration Cremant is a better option in our opinion."
Ms Louisa Mason (14-Jul-2018)
"As per previous review the fizz does die off quite quickly. However, there's more body than I expected and certainly more length on the palate. The inconvenient truth is,for £10, you can buy many a prosecco that will put this in the shade."
Mr George Fleri (09-Jul-2018)
"I bought a bottle as your Cava was out of stock. Aplley flavours. Moderate bubbles on opening faded quite quickly."
Mr Frederick Matthews (13-Jun-2018)
Daily Mail (23rd Jun 2018)
"My second Blanquette
is only a pound more in cost than the [Tesco Finest version], but is grander
and more complex on the nose, palate and finish. This is a wonderful wine with
a floral perfume and ultra-fine bubbles. Smart enough for posh gatherings and
wine-savvy friends, it’s a cracker. - Matthew Jukes"
"Very popular in our household - beautiful dryness matched up with a zing of apples for a lovely glass of sparkling that's much more interesting than any cava or prosecco you'd get at this price.
Mr Addam Merali-Hosiene (19-Dec-2016)
The Wine Gang (2nd May 2017)
"Good value southern
sparkler from the Languedoc's cool-climate enclave of Limoux, made from the
local Mauzac grape variety in a light, snappy style with a dose of fresh green
apple and an attractive earthy twist. - The Wine Gang "
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