We talk a lot about fizz on this site and I personally adore sampling sparkling wine from as many regions or producers as possible. With our retailers offering an ever broader selection of bubbles at varying price points, it has been pleasing to see crémant take such a mainstream position in bottle shops and supermarkets.
Crémant means creamy and this name was attributed due to a lower bottle pressure making these wines less crispy and more creamy. So where Champagne would have 5/6 atmospheres of pressure, crémant would expect to be more like 3 atmospheres. This is not always the case today as crémant is made with varying pressure, often the same as that of Champagne.
What I find most interesting about crémant is the taste to price ratio. Travelling in France I have discovered blanc de blancs from Burgundy (Crémant de Bourgogne) for €7 a bottle at the cellar door. These are often characterised by good taste and freshness. Of course in Champagne the price maybe three or four times at least more expensive for the same grape variety but most often this is due to the additional care and ageing of the wine that is on an entirely different scale.
Crémant de Bordeaux - tasting notes
Picking up these bottles in the UK is becoming easier and added interest in sparklers in general mean that more is creeping into the market place. On a recent trip to Bordeaux I was excited and enthralled to taste a wide variety of Crémant de Bordeaux.
Chateau Turcaud Crémant Brut Blanc, Bordeaux, 2015
Blend of 85% semillon, 15% sauvignon gris
Super fresh, light fruitiness but great dry cut-through acidity. Very pleasant!
L’Esprit Couvent, La Réserve, Crémant Brut Blanc, Bordeaux
One of my favourites of all the crimean blancs we tasted. Lovely body and texture, touch apply fruit and very slight honey. Nice finish. Leaves me wanting another sip instantly.
Louis Vallon, Crémant Brut Blanc, Bordeaux
The first producer of crémant in Bordeaux in 1990. uses delicate pressing, ageing the grapes for minimum 12 months on the lees. Dosage 8g/ltr.
The brut shows ripe fruity flavours, nice mouth freshness and good length. Suggested retail ~£10 makes this a great value wine.
Chateau Vilatte, Crémant Brut Blanc, Bordeaux
Mostly sauvignon and a third cabernet franc and merlot. Zero dosage, made organically with biodynamic principals.
Again, one of my favourites from the trip. Lovely pale yellow colour and bead. Very pleasant white fruit / white peach once it opens up. Long lingering flavours and clean finish. Great bubbly.
Tour Du Roy, Crémant Brut Blanc 2014
If you happen to be visiting the eye-wateringly beautiful town of St Emilion then dropping in at these 15km’s of caves is a must. There is a bar at one end where the enigmatic Philippe Debesse maybe on hand to tour and pour for you. As a landmark you will find the entrance to the caves beneath the ‘Tour du Roy’ (large tower to onesie of the town) that was build from stone taken from the caves in the 12th century.
The blend here is of 70% semillon and 30% ugni blanc.
White fruit, v decent acidity + v fresh. A very enjoyable bubbly with a racey character.
L’Esprit Couvent Crémant Brut Rosé, Bordeaux
Blend of Marlot and cabernet franc
Fresh summer fruity aroma. Great mouthfeel, ripe fruit pleasant acidity. Clean finish.
Celene Crémant Brut Rosé, Bordeaux
100% Cabernet Franc, dosage 10g/Ltr
Strawberry and cherry come through very nicely. An elegant wine with lovely clean finish.
Currently available in the UK at Nicolas wine shops for £14.99
Stefaan Massart from Chateau Vilatte producing organic still & sparkling
Crémant for me cuts two ways: it is both a step up in terms of a party wine from prosecco, whilst also being a sparkling wine that is capable of great flavour and elegance, able to hold itself perfectly well in the company of many average or lower end champagnes. The big bonus is the price. Ideally we should be paying between £10-15 retail here in the UK. At this price point crémant can do very well.
It was fascinating to see so much sparkling wine of decent quality being produced in Bordeaux. I can only hope that more gets across the channel and into our British glasses. If you are in your local bottle shop then why not ask the shop assistant if they have any Crémant de Bordeaux? If they don’t, you will at least be putting it on their radar!