The Other Sparkling: Crémant de Bourgogne

“Crémant” in French, means creamy, and is the word used to describe any sparkling wine made outside Champagne.  Crémant de Bourgogne has been around since the early 18th century, first produced in Rully in 1826 and was a huge success.  Despite dropping away to its more famous competitor “Champagne” in the 20th century, it has made a comeback in recent years, along with the global rise in demand for sparkling wine.

 

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Winemaking

The appellation of Crémant de Bourgogne claims to have some of the strictest rules for winemaking in France.  Among these include; only hand-harvesting, whole-bunch and using small boxes with perforated bottoms for collection.  The pressing is identical to that of Champagne.  You must also declare your vineyard to be Crémant by March of each year, which dispels any possibility of a bad batch of grapes being used last minute for a Crémant experimentation.  Across Burgundy today, there is 2,500ha designated as Crémant.

The quality of this appellation, is also constantly on the rise, with a new hierarchy system introduced in 2016, aiming to push for quality of this appellation.  The new rules state that if a Crémant is aged for 24 months after the second fermentation, it warrants the status of “Eminent”.  If it is aged for 36 months, it gains the accolade of “Grand Eminent”.  It will likely take another decade at least to judge the effects this has on the production and market.

 

Popularity

Popularity of Crémant de Bourgogne is also on the up.  Not only are winemakers dedicating more time and land to it, consumers have been appreciating this terroir focused sparkling too, with 1 in 10 bottles produced in Burgundy now “Crémant”.

So how does it fare up against Champagne?  Well the shorter ageing requirements for Crémant de Bourgogne often make wines that are less complex, but really, the two can’t be compared. Despite sharing the same grape varities, some winemaking techniques and methods, their styles are completely different. The goal of Crémant de Bourgogne is to capture the fruit of Burgundy, for which the region is so famed.

One of the biggest problems facing Crémant de Bourgogne, is the popularity of the region in which it’s produced.  Often times, the grapes used for Crémant are even more expensive than those of Champagne, given the cost land in Burgundy.  However the relatively new status of Crémant on the international scene does not fetch the same high prices on the market as its counterpart, which could cover these expenses.

 

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Characteristics of Crémant de Bourgogne

The blanc is generally white-gold in colour. The bubbles are fine and form a delicate necklace around the edge of the glass. Floral, citrusy and mineral aromas are matched in the mouth by freshness and elegance plus a degree of acidity which is the key to a proper balance between aromatic power and the desired degree of lightness.

The blanc de blancs carries the perfume of white flowers, citrus fruits or green apples. With time, it will develop toasty notes and notes of pitted-fruits such as apricot or peach.

The blanc de noirs exhales aromas of smallfruits (cherry, blackcurrant, raspberry). In the mouth, powerful, long and persistent. Time adds charm and warmth, with aromas of dried fruits and, perhaps, honey, spices or nutmeg.

The rosé, made from Pinot Noir grapes with or without a proportion of Gamay, is pink-gold in colour. This is a delicate wine with subtle aromas of red fruits.

 

Cremnts

Recommendations

Mikulski, Crémant de Bourgogne

50% Pinot Noir grapes, 35% Chardonnay and 15% Aligoté

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Felettig, Crémant de Bourgogne

Blanc de Noirs

 

– Lucy Kelly

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