Wine of the Week: NV Côté Mas “M” Crémant de Limoux Brut

Summer isn’t officially here yet, but you wouldn’t know that from the weather in much of the country. So it’s time to drink a toast to warmer weather and outdoor (vaccinated) gatherings.

Here’s a bubbly alternative to Champagne that hails from southwestern France, near the fortified city of Carcasonne. It’s known as Crémant de Limoux.

About 90 percent of the wine production in the Limoux region is sparkling; about 37 percent is crémant. (Other bubblies are blanquette de Limoux and blanquette méthode ancestrale.)

The wine in question, from Côté Mas, is a blend of 60 percent chardonnay, 20 percent chenin blanc, 10 percent pinot noir and 10 percent mauzac, the traditional grape of the Limoux region. (The two blanquette wines must be all or nearly all mauzac.) The crémant is made in the traditional method, like Champagne, and spends three years on the lees.

The wine, which costs about $20, is very fresh and appley. It reminds me of biting into a Golden Delicious apple, but with bubbles. A delicious, refreshing fizz for summer.