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2013 Limoux Blanc, Peyre Jac, Château d'Antugnac
Jean-Luc Terrier, owner of Domaine des Deux Roches in the Maconnais, bought Domaine d'Antugnac 4 years ago. It is situated just south of Limoux in the Languedoc region and one of the appeals for Jean Luc was that Chardonnay and Merlot vines had already been planted there 24 years previously. There are 50 hectares of vineyards,with a high average vine age of 30 years, well situated at altitudes of up to 500 metres above sea level. The extra elevation is crucial as it lengthens the ripening period of the grapes thus ensures more rounded fruit characteristics in the wines.
Both black and white grapes are grown, though being the true Burgundian he is it is Chardonnay that Jean-Luc really excels at producing elegant smooth examples, which combine richness and intensity of fruit with marvellous poise and balance.
Chardonnay is the "Big Daddy" of white wine grapes and one of the most widely planted in the world. It is suited to a wide variety of soils, though it excels in soils with a high limestone content as found in Champagne, Chablis, and the Côte D`Or.
Burgundy is Chardonnay's spiritual home and the best White Burgundies are dry, rich, honeyed wines with marvellous poise, elegance and balance. They are unquestionably the finest dry white wines in the world. Chardonnay plays a crucial role in the Champagne blend, providing structure and finesse, and is the sole grape in Blanc de Blancs.
It is quantitatively important in California and Australia, is widely planted in Chile and South Africa, and is the second most widely planted grape in New Zealand. In warm climates Chardonnay has a tendency to develop very high sugar levels during the final stages of ripening and this can occur at the expense of acidity. Late picking is a common problem and can result in blowsy and flabby wines that lack structure and definition.
Recently in the New World, we have seen a move towards more elegant, better- balanced and less oak-driven Chardonnays, and this is to be welcomed.
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