The rise of the small domaine over the past 20 years has changed the face of French wine but Limoux is one of the few appellations that is still overwhelmingly dominated by a co-operative. Sieur d’Arques produces about 80% of the area’s wine, both in still and sparkling styles, which means that it is a difficult task to uncover interesting small producers, particularly one that specialises in the region’s sparkling wines.
Domaine J Laurens is located just a stone’s throw away from the beautiful medieval town of Carcasonne. It was created in the 1980s by Champagne native Michel Dervin, who was fascinated by the terroir in Limoux and wanted to make wine there using the expertise he gained working in his home town. Today the estate comprising 30 hectares of vines is owned by Jacques Calvel.
This part of the appellation is sheltered from the heat by two mountain ranges, so nights are much cooler here and the result is wines with much more freshness and acidity than those closer to the sea in the Mediterranean zone. ‘Les Graimenous’ is a vintage crémant from the best parcels of vines on the estate and is a blend of Chardonnay (60%), Chenin Blanc (30%), Mauzac (5%), Pinot Noir (5%).
"Smartly packaged, well-made wines at keen prices. One of the most admired producers of the Limoux appellation". - Jancis Robinson, October 2018
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