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The Rising Star of Sparkling Wines

An indispensable sparkling element at every luxurious party, the drink of royals and famous artists oh and James Bond loved a bottle or two. As soon as you mention the words bubbles, sparkling wine or fizz, almost everyone immediately thinks of champagne. Although by many considered as the fizz of fizzes ( is that a word? ) there are so many more great quality alternatives that every sparkling wine lover should try at least once.

What is Cremant sparkling wine?

One beautiful sparkly alternative from the same country as where Champagne comes from is Cremant. This sparkling wine is made outside of the Champagne region and is therefore not allowed to carry its cousin’s name. It is indeed a very interesting alternative because it offers a similar quality of deliciousness at only a fraction of the price. This French alternative for Champagne is the next best thing for savvy drinkers who want quality sparkling wine at less than 20 euro per bottle.

But what is Cremant exactly, where does it come from and why is it becoming more and more popular? Cremant is a French sparkling wine that is made outside the Champagne producing area. Although this French sparkling wine is from another region it does go through the same “methode traditionelle” production process as Champagne. It is a process in which the secondary fermentation takes place in the bottle instead of in a large stainless steel vat or tank, like with Prosecco. This secondary fermentation process gives Cremant its character, forming a rich creamier texture. Because of this Cremant has a taste profile similar to Champagne. Yes there will be experts that will exactly taste where their bubbles come from but let’s be honest, apart from our wallet, 99% of us wine drinkers will not be able to tell the difference.

There are eight regions in France that are currently producing Cremant. If you think these are some hidden obscure French rural regions then you are quite mistaken. They include prominent regions such as Burgundy, Alsace, the Loire Valley and the famous region of Bordeaux. One of the most popular Cremant producing wine regions is Cremant d’Alsace, known for its rich and complex character and its use of a wide variety of grapes.

The rules and regulations for making Cremant allow winemakers to use a wider variety of grapes. As an example, Cremant d’Alsace is made from six different grape varieties including Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Pinot Blanc, Auxerrois, and Chardonnay. Champagne on the other hand is made from only three. So, if you’re asking What is Cremant? Well looking at all the different regions and grape varieties It could actually be a lot of things. And that’s not even taken into account that all these different regions also have different micro climates which all give their local Cremant its own specific flavors and aromas. Take Cremant de Loire from the Loire Valley for example. This area uses primarily Chenin Blanc as the base grape for their style of Cremant which is different to Cremant from Alsace with its multitude of grape varieties. So If you try Cremant from each of the different regions you will notice subtle differences in taste.

So in short

  • A Sparkling wine can only be called Champagne if it is made in the Champagne wine region. Cremant is sparkling wine made outside of the Champagne region. There are eight different regions in France making Cremant.

  • There are eight different French wine regions producing Cremant. These are Alsace, Bordeaux, Bourgogne, Die, Jura, Limoux, Loire, and the latest addition Savoie in the Alps.

  • Champagne is made from Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier grape varieties. Cremant is made from grapes which are synonymous to the regions they are being produced. These can be different to the three used to make Champagne.

Champagne will always be the absolute king of sparkling wine. However, Cremant is slowly becoming more and more popular amongst sparkling wine lovers. And who can blame them. Similar to Champagne in style and quality but at half the price! Next time you are looking for some sparkling wine give it a try.

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