Mauzac? No it’s not a typo for Muzak and no surprise that it’s an unfamiliar grape for most people! Mauzac is a rather rare grape–only 8k acres in 2000 grown in southwestern France, especially Gaillac and Limoux. It is also one of the lesser known of the seven white grapes permitted in Bordeaux, overshadowed by Sauvignon Blanc and semillon. Mauzac offers striking aromas of apple, almond, and spice, and lends itself to sparkling wines made in the ancestral method where the grapes complete their fermentation in the bottle.
Located just east and south of one of the most famous regions of France, Bordeaux, and bordering Spain to the south, Southwest France wine regions include Bergerac, Cahors, Gaillac, Irouléguy, Jurançon, and Madiran. Of these, Cahors might be best known as the home of Malbec; we loved this one which we wrote about here.
But southwest France should be known as the birthplace of sparkling wine: after all, this is the region in the world that invented and popularized the bubbly beverage.
That’s right: Champagne is not where sparkling wine originated, but southwest France where the monks in the abbey there experimented with controlling those vibrant bubbles.
While effervescence has long been observed in wine and was considered a fault, the cause was unknown and so attributed to the moon or spirits. Not so in Southern France where Dom Pérignon began his work to control the explosive sparkling wine before heading north to the Abbey of Hautvillers in Champagne.
And by explosive, I mean: the pressure from the wine fermenting in the bottle caused many of them to blow their corks in the cellar and cellar workers wore heavy iron masks to protect them from bursting bottles. It was not unusual for a winery to lose from 20% to almost all of their production.
Typically sparkling wine is made when more sugar (dosage) is added to create a secondary fermentation. In the methode ancestrale or ancestral method, the disgorgement step and added sugar is skipped and the wine is sold with the lees in the wine. (We have a really EXCITING wine from Italy coming up that uses this method!)
For pairing. we went with some of our sparkling wine favorites.
- Charcuterie: triple creme supreme brie, mushroom brie, truffle almonds, cured meat rosette
- Strawberry Goat Cheese Salad with honey lemon vinaigrette
- Roast Lemon Chicken with baked potato, broccoli, corn
Domaine du Moulin Mauzac Methode Ancestrale , Gaillac, SW France
Grapes- 100% Mauzac
According to the importer, the grapes are hand harvested from old Mauzac patches between 11 and 11.5 degrees Celsuis to keep the fresh green apple aromas with a low temperature fermentation to bring that out even more. Fermentation is stopped in cold conditions, then fermentation is finished in the bottle in the methode Gallaicoise or ancestrale without the addition of liquor or a dosage. The wine is certified as sustainable.
Color: Pale gold, golden yellow, gold jewelry
Aroma: Almond crossant, almond paste, almond oil, chamomile, meadow grass, honey, bee pollen. We did not find a lot fo the typical apple aromas likely because I had had the wine for a few years waiting for the right occasion.
Palate: The almond carries through to the palate, plus apple blossom, white flower, fresh apricot right off the tree, sweet without being sweet, definitely dry. I flat out love this wine. There is something satisfying and amazing about it; we can’t really put our finger on it, but it is great. Possibly that little bit of sweetness?
Pairing: Lovely with the triple cream brie, great with the mushroom brie as well with the wine refreshing our palate after the two mingle together. The wine pairs well with the creamy ripe brie; creamy cheese usually loves French wine, and this is no different. The truffled almonds are delicious with the wine.
With oysters you experience the ocean: the flavors marry and mingle and leave the palate with sea grass, and rich melon fruit refreshing the palate nicely; what a great pairing!!!
The following night my husband roasted a chicken on the grill with rosemary and lemon. I thought this would be a no-brainer pairing but while fine, it wasn’t great, and the meal went much better with a Ferrari Sparkling Rose. I’d say stick with seafood, perhaps with a cream sauce, shrimp, lobster, bisque. It’s not completely dry so that could be why it was a bit of a struggle as most sparkling wines from France are dry. They suggest aperitifs with this one and you wouldn’t go wrong.
Winophiles will be writing about:
- Camilla at Culinary Adventures with Camilla: Garlic and Herb-Rubbed Standing Pork Rib Roast + Château Laulerie Bergerac Rosé 2020
- Robin at Crushed Grape Chronicles: Fish, cheese, and red wine. Exploring the Basque region of Irouléguy
- Jeff at Food Wine Click!: Deconstructed Tartine & Domaine de L’Astré Pèlroge
- Deanna at Wineivore: Organic Negrette & Manseng Wines from SW France Paired with Southwest Sliders
- Jane at Always Ravenous: Affordable Wines from Southwest France: Tasting & Pairings
- Cindy at Grape Experiences: A Taste of Southwest France: Nature Secrète Saint Mont 2018 and Sauteed Duck Breasts with Mushrooms
- Nicole at Somm’s Table: Encounters with Tour des Gendres Pét-Nat with a Side of Risotto
- Gwendolyn at Wine Predator: Mauzac? SW France’s Domaine du Moulin Features This Unusual Grape in Methode Ancestrale Sparkler
- Wendy at A Day in the Life on the Farm: Visiting the Wines of Southwest France outside of Bordeaux
- Lynn at Savor the Harvest: Gascony Surprise: Meet Domaine de Joy in Southwest France
- Host Linda at My Full Wine Glass: Two Tannat-based wines from Southwest France
- 11:00 am EST Q1 Bonjour! Welcome to our #Winophiles chat about the wines of Southwest France. Introduce yourself, share a link to your blog, if you have one, and tell us where you’re tweeting from today.\
- 11:05am EST Q2 Today, the French #Winophiles are focusing on Southwest France, or “Sud-Ouest” as the French call it. Have you ever been to this corner of France? What part? Did you visit any wineries? Tell us about them. #Winophiles
- 11:10 am EST Q3 Southwest France is a large but largely unpopulated area encompassing many wine regions. Which region is your wine from? Why did you choose to focus on this region? #Winophiles
- 11:15am EST Q4 Tell us about the wineries and wines you’re featuring this month. Share a link. #Winophiles
- 11:20am EST Q5 What was the most interesting fact that you learned about the wines from Southwest France? #Winophiles
- 11:25am EST Q6 How do these wines compare in taste, value and price to wines from elsewhere in France or in neighboring Spain? #Winophiles
- 11:30 am EST Q7 Did you prepare a pairing with these wines? Tell us about it. Share pictures or links. #Winophiles
- 11:35am EST Q8 Did you find the pairing successful? Why or why not? What would you do differently next time? #Winophiles
- 11:40am EST Q9 What other tidbits did you learn about the wines, wineries and regions of Southwest France? #Winophiles
- 11:45am EST Q10 If you had to describe the wines of Southwest France to someone, what would you say? #Winophiles
- 11:50am EST Q11 Any last comments or questions? #Winophiles
- 11:55am EST Q12 Shoutout to those who posted this month: @WendyKlik @sommstable @culinary_cam @crushedgrapechronicles @foodwineclick @always_ravenous @wineivore @ArtPredator @GrapeExp_Cindy @linda_lbwcsw.
- 9am Thanks to host @linda_lbwcsw and to you for participating in #Winophiles See you in June on the third Saturday of the month with Cremant d’Alsace with @jillbarth