A Champagne By Any Other Name
When it comes to bubbly, there are more options than you may think.
December 1, 2017
Illustration by Spencer Flock
Think of Crémant as a Champagne doppelganger — it is a sparkling wine made in the same method as Champagne, but in one of several different wine regions across France. Crémants have similarly refined palates as Champagne, with fine bubbles and creamy textures. And, because you’re not paying for the cachet of the Champagne brand, Crémants offer great value.
Over half of all French Crémant comes from Alsace, the skinny parcel of French land that borders Germany. Crémant d’Alsace is made from the region’s signature grapes, mainly Pinot Blanc; rosé versions are 100 per cent Pinot Noir. These bubblies knock you over with luscious floral aromatics and then recede into elegant palates with zippy acidity.
Crémant de Bourgogne
Burgundy’s bubblies are made from the same grapes as its famous still wines, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Tasting Crémant de Bourgogne from north to south is like watching the sun rise: In the northern Côte de Nuits region, they are as fresh and crisp as a gust of cool night air, while the southern Côte de Beaune varieties are full and fruity — like morning sun on a field of strawberries.
Crémant de Loire
Chenin Blanc predominates the sparkling wines from the Loire Valley, with a host of other varieties rounding them out. Look for unctuous honeyed aromas, like glazed pears spiked with citrus. This is where you’ll find brand offshoots of famous Champagne houses — their secret lovechildren, if you will.
Crémant de Limoux
Limoux is the birthplace of sparkling wine: The first bubblies in the world were made here by monks in the 16th century. Round yet vibrant, these ancient bubblies are made from Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc, along with the little-known Mauzac grape.
This article appears in the December 2017 issue of Avenue Edmonton. Subscribe here.