The Côté Mas Blanquette de Limoux St Hilaire Methode Ancestrale is a Sparkling wine produced by Domaine Paul Mas using the Mauzac grape grown near the abbey of St Hilaire in the Blanquette de Limoux AOC region of the Languedoc in southern France. St Hilaire is the abbey where in 1531 the first Sparkling wine was made (Champagne was not produced until about 1661) and the Limoux region was famous for Sparkling wine before Dom Perignon was born. How they produced their Sparkling wine (Methode Ancestrale) is different from the Traditional or Champagne Methode. Here the grapes are fermented until they reach an alcohol level of 7%, the wine is chilled to stop fermentation and the wine is bottled, with a little bit of yeast added to each bottle. The fermentation is restarted in the bottle and when the pressure inside the bottle reaches a certain level they remove the yeast and cap the bottle. The bottles are then aged 3 months before released for sale. So, this Sparkling wine is a throw-back to the very first Sparkling wine from 500 years ago. The alcohol level is a very gentle 7.5%.
The color is platinum yellow with a steady stream of tiny well-formed bubbles. The nose is slightly sweet, lemon, apricot, honey, pear and pineapple, it smells like a wonderful dessert. There is 80 grams of sugar per liter in the Bubbly, which puts it in the sweet category, but the acidity balances the sugar and keeps it from becoming cloying. It tastes of pears and honey, lemon and lime and pineapple and apple. There is none of the yeasty flavors that you get in Champagne. There is a crispness to the finish that adds a nice counter-balance to the sweet nature of this Bubbly.
The Côté Mas Blanquette de Limoux St Hilaire Methode Ancestrale is a terrific choice to pour with birthday cake or with pumpkin pie topped with mounds of whip cream. The sweetness will match well with the rich desserts and the acidity will cleanse your palate from the meal. The Cote Mas lists for $16 and should be available for a sale price during the holidays, not bad for a wine that has a history that reaches back to the 1500s. The motto of Domaine Paul Mas is “Everyday Luxury” and that nails the Cote Mas Methode Ancestrale. On a practical note, the 7.5% alcohol rating is gentle enough to serve to older family members and guests that have to drive to return home.