Every month, we introduce you to an interesting woman living in Languedoc. Curious as we are, we like to find out why she lives in this beautiful region, what she does for a living and some of her Languedoc favourites. This month we would like you to meet Françoise Antech Gazeau as Ramoneta of the Month. She is the sixth generation of winemakers at Maison ANTECH in Limoux, creating the divine blanquette and crémant de Limoux.
I am a winemaker in Limoux (1), the sixth generation at Maison ANTECH. 25 years ago, I took over from my father and uncle. Maison ANTECH is a family wine estate specialising in producing sparkling wines: Crémant and Blanquette de Limoux (2). I divide my time between the vineyard, the cellar and the sales of our wines.
I like the diversity of our region, which is a place of wild landscapes with mountains, the sea and the vineyards. It’s also a place of history interwoven with the Cathars, a place of traditions with the longest carnival in the world and a place of culture with many festivals. And, of course, a place of high gastronomy with so many talented starred chefs.
Living in Languedoc
As a young woman filled with curiosity, I left Limoux to discover the world. I travelled a lot, saw other horizons, and shared different cultures. But after all that travelling, I honestly felt that I would find my best life at home! Today, I continue to travel. However, I am always very happy to return to Limoux, my home. I love the varied landscapes, the Mediterranean climate, the winds, the wines, the good meals and above all the parties!
The wine estate Maison ANTECH (3 & 4) has always been run by women, except for the 5th generation, the one of my father and uncle. Eugénie, Marguerite, Justine, Zélie… These first names are those of my ancestors- incredibly courageous and willing women. They fought fiercely for the wine estate to survive during times of war and through other difficulties. I have immense admiration for them… Today, I continue this beautiful adventure of sisterhood through my association of women winegrowers from Languedoc-Roussillon: Les Vinifilles.
Running a wine estate
It’s a life of passion, hard work, high demands, successes, failures, dark days of hail and frost, magical days when the grapes are beautiful, research, enthusiasm, new projects, and big emotions when the wine turns out really well. There are tough moments, almost discouraging, but there is always an energy that comes back to restart that machine. What is certain is that we are winegrowers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year!
Two years ago, my eldest son Baptiste chose to join us, to my delight, to continue the Maison ANTECH adventure. Therefore, I added ‘passing on of tasks’ to my daily activities and discovered the joy of working with my son after 20 years. Time repeats itself, reminding me of my close collaboration with my father and uncle.
Best Languedoc wine
My favourite wines change yearly, depending on the year and the winegrowers. This is an excellent excuse to always re-taste. I particularly like the white grenaches from Roussillon, the Carignans from Corbières and Minervois and the very old AOC of Maury. And, of course, the great bubbles of Limoux!
Of course, all the Michelin-starred chefs in the region are heroes and make extraordinary cuisine. However, I would like to shed some light on my friends at the Taverne à Bacchus in Limoux. Céline runs the dining room with a warm welcome and outstanding professionalism. And Eric, the chef, prepares generous, rich, traditional, colourful and magnificent cuisine: just like them. Rush over there if you have never had this experience. You will love the place, the cooking, and this incredible couple!
Perfect day out in Languedoc
I’d start by taking a walk in the vineyards at an altitude of 400 m facing the Pyrenees to come back by a grove. With only the sound of the wind, I would see hares, foxes, deer and wild boars. Then I would go to lunch on the Place de la République in Limoux (5). With a bit of luck, I would hear the brass band from the music school perform. Next, I would take a bike ride along the Canal du Midi and visit the majestic city of Carcassonne and stop for a drink on the terrace of the Hôtel de la Cité (6). Dinner would be at home in the garden, including a cassoulet from Castelnaudary, some friends and beautiful bottles of wine. What else could I wish for?