Candles lit. Table set. Oysters shucked. Fancy dress. Crémant cools.
Wait, what cools?
Yes, Crémant: your secret to affordable French sparkling wine for Valentine’s Day or any day!
Crémant (pronounced “cray-mont”) means creamy in French as the wines have gentle bubbles. Crémant is often made with the same grapes and the same process as its more expensive and more famous cousin, but instead of being grown in that challenging region in northern France, Crémant is any French sparkling wine made in the traditional method (aka methode champenoise) but NOT made in Champagne. (In case you hadn’t heard yet, only Champagne comes from Champagne).
In the case of Henri Champliau Crémant de Bourgogne, these grapes come from the slightly more temperate region of Burgundy, just south and east of Paris and Champagne, and due east of the Loire Valley. Burgundy is famous for growing Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes so no surprise they make sparkling wine there as well from these grapes which comprise the more famous wines of Champagne.
While many people think of sparkling wine only for toasts or as a “greeter” wine, a Crémant is your secret to dinner success!
If you’re going to choose one wine and one wine only for a meal, Crémant can go from appetizers to salads to main courses (even meats– seafood, chicken, pork, even beef!) and, depending on how sweet the dessert is, works well there too.
- raw oysters
- avocado citrus salad (be good with shrimp too!)
- Sue-made crackers and pate
- fresh mussels sautéed in butter, garlic and wine
- for dessert, try fresh strawberries (ok dip them in chocolate if you must!) or a fresh fruit galette
- HENRI CHAMPLIAU Crémant de Bourgogne Brut Authentique NV
HENRI CHAMPLIAU Crémant de Bourgogne Brut Authentique NV
ABV 12%; ABV $28
sample for my review provided by Winebow
Blend: 85% Pinot Noir, 15% Chardonnay
Henri Champliau is named after the grandfather of the founder and winemaker Alexandre Graffard. Located since 2016 in the Côte Chalonnaise region of Burgundy, the winery owns no vineyards, instead sourcing and working directly with growers to get high-quality grapes.
Color: Pale, pale platinum, persistant bubbles
Nose: A little gaseous, a bit of funk, little yeastiness.
Palate: Soft bubbles, very much like sea foam, slightly sweet, with a dry chalkiness at the back of the palate, little bit of lemon and a bit of baking spice. This is a nicely balanced wine between the acidity and the dosage, white pepper without the heat, lots of lemon lime, with honeydew melon on the finish.
Pairing: Ocean breeze and melon when oysters and wine come together, light bright, fresh and refreshing. Oysters and sparkling wine always work so well together. Fantastic with the avocado in our avocado tangerine salad. Super fantastic with the blue cheese crackers that Sue made topped with pate. Sautéed mussels in garlic herbs de Provence and a splash of Sweet Bordeaux was amazing.
For more Crémant ideas, check out this post where last spring, just before the lockdown, I gathered at the outdoor sculpture garden “Avant Garden” at Art City in Ventura with the “Daughters of Dada” to “Clink Different” with Crémant from Bordeaux which you can read about here: