Crémant is the name given to a range of sparkling wines that are produced outside the Champagne region but using the same technique.
Currently, throughout France, there are eight different appellations which are officially designated as Crémant producing areas. Several varied styles can be found of this sparkling wine. The varieties of grapes, that are approved for productions, can and do result in differing expressions from each region.
Champagne and Prosecco have long been sparkling wine selections, for many. Crémant is fast becoming a very popular alternative, satisfying the calls for impressive bubbly. The rules and regulations, for the productions of Crémant, are just a little less strict than those for Champagne. Requirements can vary, regionally. The manual harvesting of grapes and whole bunch pressing, allowing for a specific amount of juice from a specified quantity of grapes, with minimum time for ageing, are amongst the list to be obeyed.
Crémant d’Alsace utilises Pinot Blanc, Auxerrois, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes for white and 100% Pinot Noir for rosé productions. Located in mountainous foothills, this northeast area of France has grapes growing and ripening in a dry, sunny climate, sheltered by mountains. The soils here allow for a good number of different grape varieties to be grown very successfully. Single varietal wine can be found amongst a range that includes blended Crémants which use Pinot Blanc as a base.
Crémant de Bourgogne has Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, plus occasional use of other grapes, for white wines. Rosé productions are made with Pinot Noir and sometimes Gamay. Located south of Champagne, Burgundy is renowned for still wines, such as Chardonnay and Pinot Noir – based wines. The Crémant wines from this area can differ from crisp to more robust, depending on the district of production, with grapes ripening more in the southern part. Eminent productions have a minimum of 24 months and Grand Eminent a minimum of 36 months on the lees, respectively.
Other impressive Crémant wines, by officially designated appellations, are to be found from Limoux, Loire, Bordeaux, Jura, Savoie and Die. Being very much worthwhile finding, take time and pleasure to locate your favourites.