Françoise Antech-Gazeau, Limoux

For all ages, but for our story The Middle Ages, rain from the mid-Pyrénées raced into the Aude river, descended north into the valley and greeted Limoux on the foothills opposite.

Attracted by nutrient rich, fertile soil for their vegetable gardens, a hilltop for security, and a desire to make sacramental wine; in 1531 The St Helene Monks stumbled upon a method of making sparkling wine, the aptly titled Methode Ancestrale


The world’s first sparkling wine is Limoux’s most discernible historic footprint. The area remains a Garden of Eden to farm fine wine.


Today, we are blessed with a second force of nature, Françoise Antech-Gazeau, who for 25 years has run the winery, the 6th generation to do so. Her son, Baptiste, is being put through his paces; and father, brother, uncle (above) muck-in to uphold this century’s old tradition.

Françoise is also a founding member of Vinifilles, the Occitane group of women committed to viticulture, the pleasure & richness of their craft, love of food and lively socials.  She's busy.

Back to the wine...

The highly esteemed wine writer Tamlyn Currin wrote on "It made me laugh with delight, this is rather gorgeous.  It curves, light as a feather, round and purrs like a cat.  The fruit-acid-dryness is pitch perfect."

This ancient winemaking technique involves bottling wine partway through its primary fermentation to trap carbon dioxide gas in the bottle, creating a gentle, bubbly carbonation. Carbon dioxide gas created during this finishing step gives the wine effervescence, while the spent yeast gives it flavour and, a hazy cast. Some producers disgorge the bottles to purge the wine of this sediment, while Antech prefer to preserve its savouriness and texture.

The wine is not filtered, no dosage (sugar) added and considered more 'natural' than other sparkling wine styles, all of which require more human intervention in the wine-making process.  The alcohol content is low (around 11-12%) with delicate sweetness from residual sugar that has not fermented completely, resulting in an unaged wine, signature light bubbles with a focus on fresh fruit flavours.

From the holy table to our table – as well as Méthode Ancestrale, we love Blanquette de Limoux and Crémant de Limoux. All three effervescent, complex, delicate expressions of the rich terroir and grapes (Chardonnay, Chenin, Mouzac).

It’s commonly believed that their cherished ancestral method was a happy accident, the result of Monk’s bottling their wines in winter after fermentation stopped but before they were fully dry. In spring, when the wine warmed up, the yeast reawakened to finish off the remaining sugar, and if they were lucky, the bottles would not explode from this gas pressure!  

Antech's wines greet all guests at our private tastings. They are a rave success, and that is no accident.