Think of Cremant 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. Cremants 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, Cremants offer great value.
Over half of all French Cremant comes from Alsace, the skinny parcel of French land that borders Germany. Cremant d’Alsace is made from the region’s signature grapes, mainly Pinot Blanc; rose 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.
Cremant de Bourgogne
Burgundy’s bubblies are made from the same grapes as its famous still wines, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Tasting Crmant de Bourgogne from north to south is like watching the sun rise: In the northern Cote de Nuits region, they are as fresh and crisp as a gust of cool night air, while the southern Cote de Beaune varieties are full and fruity – like morning sun on a field of strawberries.
Cremant 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.
Cremant 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.