Limoux Part 2 : Tasting Review
There is no world class wine in Limoux. However, it is possible to find quality bottles at interesting prices.
– Red wines are average for the most part. It seems like there is no real identity to this appellation with its climate (see part 1) and its unique combination of oceanic grape varieties (Merlot, Malbec, Cabernet-Sauvignon…) and Mediterranean ones (Syrah, Grenache, Carignan…). Domaine de Baron’Arques, run by the same people who own Château Mouton Rothschild in Bordeaux, produces arguably the best red wine in the area, even though it is priced too high (around 40$ on average) (more details below).
– White wines come mostly from the famous Chardonnay grape variety. Also cultivated are the Chenin and Mauzac. I’ve been pleased by the expression of some Chardonnays on those terroirs. Planted virtually everywhere in the country (unfortunately), Limoux is probably one of the best places to grow this variety next to Burgundy. More simple than their Burgundy counterparts, these wines usually offer more of a slender shape in the mouth, with a tighter character.
– There is a wide supply of sparkling wines in Limoux varying from mediocre to extremely good. Please contact me for more information about those.
Below is a sample of my tasting notes :
White Wines :
– Château Rives-Blanques, 2012, Chardonnay : Buttery nose with notes of vanilla. More fruitiness appears after airing the wine. Very lively on the palate, its slightly sparkling character is disturbing. Pleasant acidulous finish though. Strange bottle. Should have been opened earlier? Winemaking problems?
– Château Martinolles, 2013, Chardonnay : Discreet nose. A nice fleshy mouth, well balanced. Enjoyable and fruity finish. A pleasant bottle.
– Le Chardonnay de Baron’Arques, 2012 : A good and fruity wine with a lot of taste. I would have liked it a little more nervous and refreshing. Still very enjoyable.
The following four wines are part of the ‘Toques et Clochers’ range of Chardonnay made by the cooperative winery of Limoux :
– Terroir Méditerranéen 2010 : Spicy and grilled nose with hazelnut notes. In the mouth, it’s a nice wine with body and structure. Ends on pear flavors. Medium length.
– Terroir Autan 2011 : More aromatic on the nose with some floral notes. More slender in the mouth. Not bad.
– Terroir Océanique 2010 : Lovely and very expressive nose. Notes of grapefruit. On the palate, its flesh and body are delightful. Very, very aromatic. Finish of medium length but very tasteful. A quality wine!
– Terroir Haute-Vallée 2011 : The best of them all. An elegant and floral nose. It’s graceful and made extremely well, with perfect balance between freshness and structure. Longer and delicious finish, which is always the sign of a superior wine.
Red Wines :
Here is a tasting review of Domaine de Baron’Arques :
– La Capitelle, 2010, second label of the estate : A very fragrant wine, pleasant, with medium body and length. I enjoyed this. (around 20$)
– Domaine de Baron’Arques, 2009 : A typical Merlot nose with a woody character. Remains elegant. On the palate, it is fleshy with a lot of structure. Notes of ripe black fruits. This wine is well balanced considering its alcohol content. Accelerates in the second part of the mouth with a long finish and fine tannins. Polished tannic structure. A very good wine with a strong Bordeaux identity.
– Domaine de Baron’Arques, 2010 : Warm and ripe nose. In the mouth, this wine painfully lacks freshness. It’s heady and too high in alcohol. New world profile. It ends on a disappointing dry finish with raw tannins.
– Domaine de Baron’Arques, 2011 : This wine has a completely different personality than the previous two. Clear and distinct nose, very expressive. Floral and red fruits notes combine very well. A light prune note reminds me of Malbecs from Cahors. On the palate, the fleshy entry is impressive. Then, this wine shows structure and a lot of taste in the middle of the mouth. However, the finish is much more neutral, with medium length. Perfect for beer drinkers! Very good but the 2009 bottle and its refined finish is superior.