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Crémant

These French sparkling wines are made using the traditional Champagne method. Fine bubbles at a much more modest price than Champagne. Ideal choice for festive occasions!

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Crémant

Sparkling wines with varied profiles

Crémants, the French sparkling wines, are distinguished by their varied profiles, which can be found in registers of fruity scents (usually citrus or even stone fruit notes), floral scents (white flowers) and sometimes a mineral touch. Appreciated for its balanced aromas and fine bubbles, the aromatic profile of Crémant varies according to the grape variety and whether or not it has been blended. They come in two colours: white and rosé. In general, Crémant Blancs are appreciated for their long finish, which lingers as long as Champagne. This is true of Crémant Blanc de Noirs from Burgundy, which is powerful, while Crémant Rosés are more appealing for their fruitiness. Finesse, freshness and elegance are the order of the day. Crémants have a fine acidity that balances lightness and power.

Festive sparkling wine, from aperitif to dessert!


Often associated with Champagne because of the resemblance, crémant is an ideal accompaniment to the most festive occasions. With its invigorating fine bubbles, it brings the promise of lovely moments shared with friends or family. Crémant pairs beautifully with appetisers, but it can also be served as an accompaniment to a main course that requires little tannin, such as white meats, fish, shellfish and crustaceans. If you're feeling more adventurous, try pairing it with spicy dishes, such as Indian, Mexican or Asian dishes, as sweet and sour is an interesting combination. A fine platter of carefully matured cheeses goes very well with the finesse of a brut or extra-brut white crémant. Cheeses with a bloomy rind such as Camembert or Brie and goat's cheese are a real delight with crémants. Crémant de Limoux Blanc benefits from the roundness of this dominant grape variety and is perfect as an accompaniment to gourmet dishes. It is also a marvellous accompaniment to apple pie! The refreshing acidity of a Crémant d'Alsace Brut will work wonders with oysters, before sublimating the delicacy of stuffed quails and underlining the grace of exotic fruit desserts. In other words, Crémant is the perfect accompaniment to festive meals, Christmas and New Year's Eve. Crémants are also used in a number of inspiring cocktail recipes. A sure-fire, refined choice that's sure to please your guests.

Crémant de Limoux AOC


Although the AOC was only recently recognised, in 1990, it still has a solid tradition that stems from the exacting standards of the region's sparkling wine producers. The Limoux region has one of the oldest vineyards in France, including the very first sparkling wine in history: Blanquette de Limoux. It was in 1544 that the Benedictine monks at Saint-Hilaire Abbey (between Limoux and Carcassonne) discovered the principle of secondary fermentation in the bottle. Limoux was therefore the birthplace of the champagne method, which enabled the winegrowers of yesteryear to master the art of making bubbly wines (sparkling wines, semi-sparkling wines). The Blanquette de Limoux was therefore the world's first bubbly wine, predating by a century the appearance of the first Champagnes. Although both AOCs use the same traditional method of production, there are certain characteristics that distinguish Crémant de Limoux and Blanquette de Limoux. They are distinguished by the dominant grape variety, but also by the way in which they are matured. While Blanquette is made from the endemic Mauzac grape (90% minimum of the blend), Crémant de Limoux is predominantly made from Chardonnay (80% maximum). There are two colours for this appellation: white and rosé, for which Pinot Noir completes the list of secondary grape varieties along with Chenin Blanc.

Crémant d'Alsace AOC


Recognised as an AOC since 1976, Crémant d'Alsace accounts for around a quarter of the Alsace region's wine production. Recognition of the appellation has given a new boost to the production of these wines, as the unique quality of the Alsatian vineyards and the traditional vinification method give Crémant d'Alsace a special place in the region's rich wine-growing heritage. Crémant d'Alsace has been produced in limited quantities since the beginning of the 20th century. As with Champagne, the grapes are picked by hand. The wine may be matured on its lees. Most Crémant d'Alsace is made from Alsatian grapes used to make white wine: Pinot Blanc, Riesling, Pinot Gris, but also Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, the latter used to make Crémant rosé. Crémant d'Alsace can be made from a single grape variety, or from a blend of several. It is distinguished by its lightness. Its original personality and impeccable quality have earned it considerable success in France and beyond.

Crémant de Bordeaux AOC


Recognised as an AOC on 3 April 1990, Crémant de Bordeaux is the result of a long tradition of sparkling wine production dating back to the 19th century. Produced throughout the Gironde, the appellation applies mainly to white wines and also to rosé wines. Formerly known as sparkling Bordeaux, these sparkling wines are also made using the traditional method, in accordance with specifications and very strict rules common to all Crémant appellations. The grape varieties included in the appellation are the same as those traditionally used in Bordeaux: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec, Petit Verdot and Carménère for rosé sparkling wines. Sémillon, Sauvignon Blanc, Sauvignon Gris, Colombard, Ugni Blanc and Muscadelle are also used for white sparkling wines. White or rosé, Crémants de Bordeaux come in different styles: Brut, Demi-Sec or Doux. Elegant and refined, they surprise with their well-balanced aromas. Of a quality equal to the prestige of Bordeaux wines, they can be enjoyed as an aperitif or as an accompaniment to the most gourmet meals.

Crémant de Loire AOC


Recognised as an Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée since 1975, Crémant de Loire comes from the Anjou-Saumur and Touraine wine-growing regions. The Crémant de Loire AOC mainly produces sparkling white wines and, in smaller quantities, rosé wines made from a variety of grape varieties: Chenin (or Pineau de la Loire), Orbois and Chardonnay in the white varieties, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Grelleau Noir, Grelleau Gris, Pineau d'Aunis and Pinot Noir in the black varieties. The appellation is renowned for the finesse of its bubbles and its balanced aromas.

Crémant du Jura AOC


The Crémant du Jura appellation is a recent one: the specifications date back to 1995, whereas the production of sparkling wines in the Jura dates back to the end of the 18th century. Crémant du Jura mainly produces white wines with pronounced aromas, as well as fruity, fresh rosé wines in smaller quantities. Both in terms of quality and quantity, Crémant du Jura is booming. It comes in a variety of styles: brut or demi-sec made from Savagnin, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Trousseau or Poulsard. On the palate, Crémants du Jura delight with their fruity and floral aromas. Fresh scents of green apples, peach and hawthorn combine with delicious notes of brioche. As for the rosés, they surprise with their harmonious structure and their gourmet touch right through to the finish. Both are lively and intense with fine bubbles. Whether served as a seafood aperitif or a fruity dessert, they're the perfect accompaniment to any festive occasion!

Crémant de Savoie AOC


AOC Crémant de Savoie is the latest French Crémant to be officially recognised in 2015, joining the Crémant family. These crémants are made from a base of native Savoyard grape varieties, Jacquère (minimum 40%) and Altesse, complemented by Chardonnay, Aligoté, Mondeuse, Chasselas, Molette, Gamay and Pinot Noir, with a maximum of 20% black grape varieties. On the palate, citrus aromas and floral notes dominate, an elegance that makes it the perfect accompaniment to gourmet meals and the aperitif. These fine fruity Savoyard bubbles are waiting to be discovered!

Crémant de Bourgogne AOC


Recognised in 1975, the Crémant de Bourgogne appellation covers more than 300 communes. The AOC vineyards cover around 2,800 hectares and benefit from a continental climate with Mediterranean and oceanic influences, making for a fairly complex climate. Each terroir is characterised by different soils, climatic conditions and exposure. Planted in different Burgundy vineyards, the appellation's vines grow in a wide variety of terroirs, with soils made up of clay, limestone, chalk, granite and marl. This Burgundy sparkling wine is made from traditional Burgundy grape varieties. Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, the main grape varieties of the appellation, can be complemented by Gamay, Aligoté, Melon and Sacy. As with Champagnes, Crémants de Bourgogne can be Blanc de Blancs, Blanc de Noirs or Rosés.

  • Crémant Blanc de Blancs (made mainly of Chardonnay and sometimes blended with Aligoté).
  • Crémant Blanc de Noirs (made of Pinot Noir, but vinified as white wine).
  • Crémants Rosé (made mainly of Pinot Noir and sometimes blended with Gamay).

Which crémant is the closest to Champagne?


Crémant de Bourgogne is the closest to Champagne. There are a number of similarities: the same grape varieties, soils that are often quite similar, the same vinification method, and there are also Crémants from Burgundy aged in crayère. Crémant de Bourgogne white is fresh and elegant, with a high acidity that balances power and lightness. Crémant de Bourgogne rosé, on the other hand, exudes great delicacy, with notes of red fruit. Unlike most Champagnes, it has a limited ageing capacity of 3 to 5 years, but its organoleptic qualities make it a perfect accompaniment to the most fine dishes. It would be a shame to miss out!

  • Crémant de Bourgogne white goes easily as an aperitif, with oysters, fish, seafood, shellfish and poultry. The finesse of its bubbles and its freshness bring the particular signature of a singular terroir.
  • Crémant de Bourgogne Blanc de Blancs, with its citrus aromas, is perfect as an aperitif or with refined dishes such as scallops or river fish like trout or Arctic char.
  • Crémant de Bourgogne Blanc de Noirs, more vinous, pairs wonderfully well with poultry.
  • Crémant de Bourgogne Rosé is renowned as an aperitif wine and is reserved for desserts. Its fruity character goes perfectly with red fruit desserts, ice creams, sorbets and petits fours.

A bottle of crémant or Champagne?


The question often comes up: can Crémant compete with Champagne? Both benefit from an Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée and are made using the traditional method for producing sparkling wine, but there are certain characteristics that set them apart:

  • First of all, terroir: it's important to remember that the variation comes mainly from the appellation: quite simply, any wine that isn't produced in Champagne isn't Champagne. This means that a crémant can be just as good as its tough competitor, or even better in some cases.
  • quality: the quality of crémants has risen in line with the range over the last few decades.
  • price: price is often the deciding factor when it comes to buying a wine, depending on your budget. A crémant will be more affordable than a Champagne and offers great value for money.
  • style: crémants have their own distinctive characters. Softness for Alsace, liveliness for Jura, roundness for Limoux or elegance for Loire. As we have seen, Crémant de Bourgogne is the closest to Champagne.
  • size: the size of the bottle is also a decisive criterion, because unlike Champagnes, crémants are rarely available in magnum or larger bottle sizes.

There's an old adage: "It's better to drink a good crémant than a bad Champagne". So to stay within your budget, especially at large festive gatherings, choose a good crémant rather than an inexpensive Champagne.

Why crémant is cheaper than Champagne?


A luxury product, Champagne is more expensive than Crémant. This price difference is justified by several factors, and is mainly due to the cost of production and the winemaking method. Firstly, the cost of the grapes, which is much higher in Champagne than anywhere else in France: as the production sites are demarcated within the Champagne vineyards, the price of the grapes is between €6 and €7 per kg, to which a premium may be added in the case of estates run using organic farming or environmental methods. The cost of Champagne production also comes into play, accounting for 10% of the price of the final product: the grapes are harvested strictly by hand, to the highest quality standards. As for the winemaking process, Champagne ages longer after the riddling stage. The price increases considerably when the Champagne is Vintage: while for the vast majority of Champagnes, the final product is the result of a blend of grapes harvested in different vintages and parcels, Vintage Champagnes must be made from grapes from the same harvest. Vintage Champagnes also have to be matured for up to 36 months, which generates storage costs. The cost of the margin on Champagne is another factor that explains its high price: it can represent 20 to 30% of the total price of the bottle. This percentage includes both the producer's margin and the distributor's margin, plus VAT, which is charged at 20% of the purchase price. Finally, a not inconsiderable point that increases the price differential between Champagne and crémant is the marketing aspect, which is reflected in the luxury of the packaging: from the small grower-producer to the major Champagne houses, luxury can be found in the design of the box, the label and the shape of the bottle. The idea is to offer or open a unique box for a unique moment.

How much does a good crémant cost?

A good alternative to Champagne, crémant is guaranteed to make a festive occasion. It's rare for a crémant to cost more than twenty pounds! There is generally a wide range of quality Crémants at very affordable prices: from around ten pounds a bottle to around fifteen pounds on average. Make way for the fine bubbles! A myriad of grape varieties, colours and defined styles with varied profiles are just waiting to break away from the very limited confines of Champagne. Initiate yourself to the delicacy of these sparkling wines by appreciating the nuances of crémants region by region.

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