Whether it’s to celebrate a huge milestone or just getting through the day, sometimes all you need is a glass of sparkling wine to toast yourself.
Whilst Champagne may be the traditional option, Crémant is a wine that also happens to be fizzy, fun and French and just happens to be all the rage at the moment.
So what exactly is Crémant?
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What Is Crémant Wine?
In a nutshell, Crémant is a sparkling wine, made in France, outside of the Champagne region.
Those three factors are crucial to defining Crémant, and separating it from any other sparkling wine made outside of France.
And it’s the set definition which is so important to sparkling winemaking in France.
You see, Crémant goes through the exact same winemaking process as Champagne. It just happens in different areas of France, which is why it cannot be called Champagne. Champagne is very protective of their reputation.
Unlike Prosecco, Crémant is made in the traditional method and has two fermentations, the second one occurring in the bottle.
Not only does this secondary fermentation give Crémant its signature fizz, it also provides it with lots of complex, yeasty flavours that make the style so delicious.
Tastes like walking into a very good bakery, and the little pots of jams and curds in a fancy breakfast buffet.
But does that make Crémant a sweet or a dry wine?
Is Crémant a Sweet or Dry Wine?
Crémants can come in varying levels of sweetness.
The driest style of Crémant is referred to as Brut Nature and has no additional sugars added once the secondary fermentation has completed.
The sweetest style of Crémant, on the other hand, is referred to as Crémant Doux and can have over 50g residual sugar per litre present, making it a very sweet tipple.
If you’re not sure how sweet your Crémant may be, it’s always best to ask the person selling or serving the wine to you.
You’ll learn something new and they’ll be happy to share their knowledge with you.
What are they main types of Crémant?
Because Crémant can be made in any French region outside of Champagne, there are lots of types of Crémant to be found.
In fact there are 8 in total, but the main 4 Crémants you might come across are:
- Crémant d’Alsace - France’s best selling sparkling wine after Champagne, this type of Crémant is made using Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Auxerrois, Chardonnay and Riesling. For pink styles of Crémant d’Alsace it's worth noting that only Pinot Noir is allowed.
- Crémant de Bourgogne - Made in the Burgundy region of France this Crémant is made using predominantly Pinot Noir and Chardonnay and is therefore close in both style, grapes and location to Champagne wines.
- Crémant de Limoux - Limoux is the region credited with making one of the first examples of sparkling wine, so no surprise that today it is making some delicious examples of Crémant from the grape varieties of Mauzac, Chenin Blanc and Chardonnay.
- Crémant de Loire - The primary grapes for this region include Chenin Blanc, Cabernet Franc and PInot Noir and these result in wines with lots of delicious pear, honey and quince aromas.
But what about the other types of Crémant?
Are There Any Other Types of Crémant?
Whilst the above may be some of the styles of Crémant you come across more often, there are many more styles of Crémant to be discovered.
Here are some key points regarding the other Crémant regions:
- Crémant de Bordeaux - Lots of grape varieties are permitted for this style of Crémant but the most common are Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.
- Crémant du Jura - A region with a cult status amongst wine professionals, Jura makes a wonderful Crémant using Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Trousseau and Poulsard.
- Crémant de Savoie - This Crémant must contain a minimum 60% of the local grapes Jacquère and/or Roussette making it a really unique example of Crémant.
- Crémant de Die - Made near the Die town in the Rhone Valley of France, this Crémant uses the Clairette varietal to make its Champagne method wines.
But if it's the Champagne method used for Crémant that surely means Crémant is the same as Champagne, no?
Crémant vs Champagne
Is Crémant the same as Champagne?
To be matter of fact, no, Crémant is not the same as Champagne.
Champagne is the name for sparkling wines made using the traditional Champagne method in the Champagne region of France. And it’s the region that is key here.
Any other sparkling wines made using that method, also in France but in a separate region, must be sold under the name Crémant in order to differentiate them from Champagne.
So whereas some Crémants will share some similarities with Champagne, they will differ as a result of their region, grapes and choices made by their wine makers.
So Crémant may have the same Champagne taste, but is Crémant the same as Prosecco?
Crémant vs Prosecco
Very simply, Crémant is not the same as Prosecco.
Whilst Prosecco and Crémant are both sparkling wines they are made in different countries, using different grapes and also use different wine making processes too.
Unlike Crémant vs Champagne there are lots of differences between Prosecco and Crémant!
The result is two very different styles of sparkling wine.
Whilst Prosecco is a very fruity and vibrant style of sparkling wine, Crémant has a much more complex taste, due to its time being aged on dead yeast cells.
Both styles of sparkling wine are delicious, why not buy one of each for the next time you entertain and see if your guests can spot the difference between the two?
And you can impress them with your new found Crémant knowledge.
Before You Go...
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