Crémant de Bordeaux
Crémants offer a brilliant French alternative to Champagne. There are seven renowned regions producing Crémant from a range of grape varieties. These are the Loire, Alsace, Jura, Savoie, Limoux, Burgundy and Bordeaux. Crémant de Luxembourg is also produced but in very small quantities.
Crémant de Bordeaux is the newest appellation in Bordeaux, created in 1990.
How it is made?
Like Champagne, Crémant must be produced via the traditional method. This means the second fermentation occurs in the bottle through the addition of yeast and sugar. This creates the fizz inside the bottle by capturing the carbon dioxide. The yeasts then die and create ‘autolytic’ flavours, simply flavours of biscuit and pastry. The sparkling wine is then disgorged to remove the dead yeasts and create a clear final wine.
The common grape varieties used in Bordeaux are more aromatic than traditional sparkling wine varieties (Chardonnay, Pinot noir and Pinot Meunier). This means the lees contact is often shorter to highlight the grapes natural flavours.
To produce rosé Crémant de Bordeaux the base wine is produced either by maceration or saignée (bleeding off). This creates the colour that we associate with rosé and at least one red grape variety must be used.
Crémant de Bordeaux is produced from the permitted red and white varieties used in still wine production. The most common grape varieties used are Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillion, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Other alternatives are Malbec, Petit Verdot, Carmenére, Sauvignon Gris and Muscadelle. These grape varieties must be at least 70% of the blend and three lesser varieties (Colombard, Ugni Blanc and Merlot Blanc) may not use over 30%. These final varieties are very rarely used.
The taste of Crémant de Bordeaux.
It is difficult to describe the taste of a Crémant de Bordeaux as it is very grape variety dependent. Generally, when a high proportion of Sémillion is used the wines have a delicate, nutty aroma. Sauvignon Blanc is more aromatic and the sparkling wine has fruitier, floral aromas and is not designed to age. Rosé Crémant de Bordeaux is becoming increasingly popular and there are some excellent examples.
Rosé Crémant de Bordeaux is most commonly made with Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, the two most popular red grapes in Bordeaux. Commonly the wines have red fruit flavours with floral aromas.