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All that Sparkles

All That Sparkles

The season for Tasting Everything!

What a wonderful summer we’ve all had. The weather, the friends, the visitors, the food but most of all the wines we’ve all tasted.  As I write this the sun is still warm and the days still very sunny, but I know that just behind the next corner, or rather falling leaf from the chestnut tree, winter is on its way.

I heartily say Hooray!

Ok, so I am not so keen on , the cold, rain, snow, wind, mud, frost and shorter daylight hours but I love the forthcoming celebrations for a variety of reasons, but for all it’s a time to come together with friends and family.

Firstly, though not actually in anyway a French celebration, Bonfire Night, followed by Armistice Day, then the beginning of Christmas celebrations and the social whirl that follows, New Year and then with a ridiculous promise of spring - Valentines’ Day!

What to drink on these occasions is all down to a matter of taste and also of budget! Buying a local wine means that you get a flavour of the region, the great saying of ”what grows together goes together” and also a chance to meet the local producers who spend their entire year making delicious produce!

Locally we have sparkling Malbec, new to some I am very sure, but well worth trying, Chateau Triguedina, claiming the first in the region to make sparkling wine, Chateau Gaudou and Chateau Eugenie following to name but a few of the wines so far tried this summer, more to follow as we get closer to Christmas, all made in the traditional Champagne method, but from the region’s famous Malbec grapes!

Moving further afield, there’s  L’ Instant de Terride or Chateau Bastide from Gaillac, both delicious sparkling wines made with regional grapes , the delicious mauzac is heavenly with oysters and other seasonal, celebratory-seafood.  Bruhlois, from just south of Auvillar, is a heavenly region for a wine tasting, there’s a very nice sparkling wine made from 65% sauvignon blanc, 25% muscat de hambourg et 10% gros manseng, the last 2 being nice table grapes as well.

Then further afield again we have Blanquette, Crémant and Blanquette Méthode  Ancestrale de Limoux from Carcassonne, made also with mauzac, but also chenin blanc and chardonnay and then finally Vouvray from the Loire made with chenin blanc.

So many wines to choose from and for fantastic prices without even visiting the most popular sparkling of all Champagne!

I’ve always wondered why sparkling wine was the thing we reached for when celebrating. The first painting of sparkling wine in a celebration is said to be Jean François de Troy’s 1735 Luncheon with Oysters, commissioned by King Louis XV (who loved sparkling Champagne) it is housed at Conde Museum in Chantilly, which was opened in 1898 and remains totally unchanged since, beautiful paintings unseen worldwide as the collection is permanent.

Champagne, was originally a red wine used in Reims Cathedral (the capital of the Champagne region) to crown 29 kings, and not the sparkle we know today.  So the word Champagne went on to became synonymous with a wine of celebration.  

Burgundy the next closest wine region, felt their wine should have been used to celebrate new kings.  Champagne was often diluted with water to make it more palatable and also to stop the wine fermenting in the bottle as spring arrived and the wine started to warm up.  

Christopher Merret in the UK and Dom Pierre Pérignon were the first to perfect the art of secondary fermentation (method Champenoise) although Blanquette de Limoux has been made for a lot longer!

Whatever you choose to drink this Christmas and New Year, I hope it sparkles for you all. Follow -Tasting The Lot, Quercy on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for more wines to try this season. www.tastingthelot.com   Luci Cox                                                

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