Blanquette de Limoux Brut, Esprit du Sud, NV

For the past two days, the most frequently used word I heard on the street was “melting.” Sweaty, lethargic days, filled with the kind of overwhelming temperatures that make the thought of waiting in line outdoors dreadful to consider. For the first time living in New York, I felt truly unable to handle the weather. Seemed like I could cook outdoors without a grill – just plop that meat on a plate and let the sun go to town: literally, roasting hot. How to cope with heat so brutal? Air conditioning, yes, but when walking home from the subway makes me insanely thirsty, and all I want is oysters – here comes the segue – what wine will do? Sparkling wine, dear readers. Fight back with bubbles. Works every time.

With that declared, I offer the following. With this weekend uniquely hot, a unique bubbly seems suitable. Champagne is always fantastic when it’s good, but there is an older option, made using the same méthode traditionnelle. Also non-vintage, also predominantly Chardonnay. And it’s from a place I had never heard of before: Blanquette de Limoux, an appellation in the Languedoc-Roussillon region of France. Another gem from the sea, for sure.

Produced by Gilles Louvet, the NV “Esprit du Sud” is a textbook example of high-value dry sparkling white wine. Pale straw in the glass, with a fine bead trailing lazily upwards. Deliciously floral on the nose, with a tough of white seed fruit from the Chardonnay, and notes of baked bread and a smoky flint note from the other, rarer grape variety in the blend: Mauzac, grown extensively in the Languedoc, but seen almost nowhere else. Finishes dry and quenching. Destined for a platter of shucked Atlantic oysters. Buy it now, wind up, and sucker-punch summer for only $15.

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