The French village of Limoux claims to have been making sparkling wine longer than Champagne, but in modern times its wines have never been seen as reaching the same level of excellence.
That's bad for Limoux grapegrowers, but good for consumers, because how often do you actually drink a top-level bubbly? And the best Cremants de Limoux are as good as or better than entry-level Champagnes at less than half the price.
This wine is a great example. I'd rather drink this than many nonvintage Champagnes on the market, and I guarantee you won't find a Champagne for $13. This is one of the best sparkling-wine values I've had this year.
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Domaine J. Laurens Cremant de Limoux Brut ($13)
Wow, what a value. If I tasted this blind, I would have guessed Anderson Valley because of the brightness of the green apple and lemon fruit, and the nice clean finish. In fact, it's from France's Limoux region, which claims to have been making bubbly as long as Champagne. You can enjoy it with any of the traditional bubbly pairings; I actually had a bottle with a pepperoni pizza and it was outstanding. 90