Sparkling Wine: A Case for Crémant
Do you love sipping on a delicious glass of bubbles? Of course you do! But you probably hate paying for the premium stuff all of the time. I appreciate a fine Champagne as much as the next guy, but sometimes I want the a glass of bubbles with a casual dinner, a cheeky sip of something at lunch or a fun bottle of sparkling with friends at the end of the day that doesn’t break the bank. If you can relate, and haven’t already discovered the world of Crémant, get to know it.
What is Crémant?
In short, Crémant is French sparkling wine made in the same way as Champagne, only outside of the region of Champagne. Easy enough, right? Well, Champagne production follows slightly stricter regulations, but the basic principles are the same, including:
- grapes must be hand picked and whole pressed
- second fermentation must occur in the bottle
- wine must be aged on the lees (with certain yeasts) for at least 9 months; then after the yeasts are extracted, at least another 3 months
Crémant necessarily refers to French sparkling (with the exception of Luxembourg, the only other country that can legally label its sparkling as Crémant). It’s often made with the same grapes as Champagne (Chardonnay), but other grapes may be used (such Riesling, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir). Crémant tends to be a little bit less effervescent that Champagne – with soft bubbles and a more affordable price, I consider Crémant an optimal pick for an “everyday” sparkling.
Crémant de ???
Crémant d’Alsace is the most commonly found variety (majority of the stuff is produced in the Alsace region), but Crémant can come from any of the following eight regions of France:
Of course, there is good reason why Champagne costs what it does; the terroir and conditions under which Champagne are produced make this a spectacular and unique wine. But for something a little bit more relaxed and accessible, Crémant is a really fantastic option. Try your way around the various regions of France, and see which ones speak to you – if you’re like me, this stuff will become a staple through the summer months.
Read more about sparkling wines with Italian Sparkling Wines and True or False: Champagne Should Be Served in Flutes.
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