When it comes to sparkling wine, Champagne may be the first name that springs to mind, but there’s another French gem that’s been quietly delighting wine enthusiasts for centuries—Crémant de Bourgogne.
This sparkling treasure, produced in the illustrious Burgundy region, offers a captivating alternative to Champagne.
In this deep dive into the world of Cremant de Bourgogne, we’ll explore its origins, production methods, and why it’s earning recognition as a sparkling wine of distinction.
What is Cremant de Bourgogne?
Crémant de Bourgogne is a high-quality sparkling wine crafted in the Burgundy region of France. It adheres to the traditional method of sparkling wine production, similar to Champagne, and is primarily made from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes.
Known for its finesse, Crémant offers a diverse range of styles, including Blanc de Blancs (from white grapes) and Blanc de Noirs (from red grapes).
It boasts a minimum aging requirement of 12 to 36 months, resulting in wines with complexity, fine bubbles, and a superb balance of flavors.
Crémant de Bourgogne is celebrated for its affordability and versatility, making it a delightful alternative to Champagne.
Crémant de Bourgogne: A Timeless Tradition
Crémant de Bourgogne is a sparkling wine that hails from the Burgundy region in eastern France.
While Champagne enjoys worldwide fame, Crémant has been an integral part of Burgundy’s viticultural heritage since the 19th century. This sparkling wine was crafted as a more accessible alternative to Champagne, offering the same traditional method of production, but often at a more budget-friendly price point.
A Symphony of Grapes: Chardonnay and Pinot Noir
Much like Champagne, Crémant benefits from the region’s choice of grape varieties.
While Champagne primarily relies on Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier, Crémant de Bourgogne is typically crafted using Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, with occasional additions of other Burgundian grape varieties.
Traditional Method: Crafting Excellence
One of the key secrets to the allure of Crémant de Bourgogne is its adherence to the traditional method of sparkling wine production. This method, known as the méthode traditionnelle, is the same technique used in Champagne.
It involves a labor-intensive process that includes a second fermentation in the bottle, creating those fine, persistent bubbles that make sparkling wine so enchanting.
The Art of Aging: Minimum Aging Requirements
Crémant de Bourgogne is patient in its pursuit of perfection. To achieve the desired complexity and elegance, these sparkling wines must undergo minimum aging periods that rival those of Champagne.
For a non-vintage Crémant de Bourgogne, the wine must age on its lees for a minimum of 12 months. If labeled as a vintage Crémant de Bourgogne, this aging period extends to 24 months.
However, when it comes to the “Eminent” and “Grand Eminent” categories, the wines must age for a remarkable 36 months, ensuring the utmost refinement.
Varietal Expression: Blanc de Blancs and Blanc de Noirs
Crémant de Bourgogne boasts an array of styles, including Blanc de Blancs and Blanc de Noirs.
Blanc de Blanc Sparkling Wine is made exclusively from white grape varieties, predominantly Chardonnay, and offers a bright, citrusy profile with a crisp, refreshing finish.
On the other hand, Blanc de Noirs is crafted from red grape varieties, mainly Pinot Noir, and delivers a richer, fuller-bodied expression with red fruit notes and complexity.
What does Cremant de Bourgogne Taste Like?
Crémant offers a delightful and diverse range of flavors, largely influenced by the grape varieties used and the specific winemaking techniques employed. Here’s a general idea of what Crémant de Bourgogne may taste like:
Blanc de Blancs (Chardonnay-based)
Aromas: You can expect bright citrus notes, such as lemon and green apple, along with subtle floral hints.
Flavors: A crisp and refreshing profile with flavors of green apple, pear, and sometimes a touch of almond or hazelnut.
Acidity: Crisp and lively acidity that awakens the palate.
Blanc de Noirs (Pinot Noir-based)
Aromas: Red fruit aromas like strawberry and raspberry, alongside hints of toasty bread or brioche.
Flavors: A fuller-bodied profile with red berry flavors, possibly some cherry or plum, and a creamy, slightly nutty character.
Texture: Often offers a more substantial mouthfeel compared to Blanc de Blancs.
Fine Bubbles: Crémant de Bourgogne typically boasts a persistent effervescence, with fine bubbles that create a smooth, creamy texture on the palate.
Complexity: The traditional method of production and minimum aging requirements contribute to complexity, offering layers of flavor and a subtle minerality.
Versatility: These wines are versatile and pair well with a variety of foods, from seafood and poultry to charcuterie and appetizers.
Crémant de Bourgogne is generally known for its approachability, balanced acidity, and a touch of elegance that makes it a delightful choice for both special occasions and everyday enjoyment.
Exploring Crémant de Bourgogne Wines
Crémant de Bourgogne is celebrated for its diverse range of styles, from whites to rosés, each reflecting the terroir and craftsmanship of the region’s producers.
Whether you’re sipping on a Blanc de Blancs with its vivacious acidity and hints of green apple, or indulging in a Blanc de Noirs with its luscious red berry aromas, Crémant wines offer a bouquet of flavors and a true sense of place.
Cremant de Bourgogne Producers
Crémant is crafted by a collective of dedicated winemakers who uphold the highest standards of quality. These producers, often referred to as “crémant de Bourgogne producers,” take pride in their commitment to tradition, terroir, and innovation.
Pairing Perfection: Versatility in Every Sip
One of the remarkable qualities of Crémant de Bourgogne is its versatility when it comes to food pairings.
Whether you’re enjoying a crisp, citrusy Blanc de Blancs with oysters or a fuller-bodied Blanc de Noirs with roasted poultry, these wines harmonize beautifully with a wide array of dishes. Their refreshing acidity and fine bubbles cleanse the palate, making them ideal companions to seafood, charcuterie, and even spicy cuisine.
In conclusion, Cremant de Bourgogne is a sparkling gem that deserves a place in every wine enthusiast’s repertoire. With its rich history dating back to the 19th century, adherence to the traditional method, and a commitment to quality, it continues to enchant wine lovers worldwide.
Whether you’re toasting to a special occasion or savoring a casual meal, Crémant de Bourgogne is a sparkling choice that promises sophistication and delight in every sip.
So, next time you seek the magic of sparkling wine, let Crémant de Bourgogne transport you to the heart of Burgundy’s winemaking excellence. Cheers to the sparkling elegance of Crémant de Bourgogne!