Sparkling Wine Secrets: Crémant from Bordeaux Paired with Bisque, Gourmet Grilled Cheese #winophiles

affordable French sparkling wine aka Crémant

Looking for affordable Bordeaux wines to share with friends and family for the holidays? How about an affordable sparkling wine from Bordeaux? Sparkling wine is made all over France in the Traditional Method, not just in the northern region of Champagne. Made anywhere else but Champagne, sparkling wine from France is called Crémant (French for creamy referencing the creamy bubbles), and while the Southeast has several well known examples, Bordeaux wineries make Crémant also– and it’s surprisingly affordable! 

For your next gathering, consider clinking different by pairing bubbles from Bordeaux with a she crab bisque, a green salad, and a selection of gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches. These two Crémant would also be wonderful wines for brunch.

If you’ve never tasted white grapes grown in Bordeaux, that’s because only 11% are white and 89% are red grapes. Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon, Muscadelle, Ugni Blanc, or Colombard all grow in Bordeaux and might be made into Crémant that offer citrus, hazelnut, and white flowers, or it might be made with red grapes like the one we’re featuring today made from Cab Franc! Fruity Crémant de Bordeaux Rosé is made from Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon and brings aromas of raspberry, strawberry, and currant.  Wines must be aged for a minimum of twelve months made in the Traditional Method where secondary fermentation occurs in the bottle.

grilled cheese and Crémant de Bordeaux; descriptions below

Crémant Menu

Just like Champagne and other sparkling wines, Crémant de Bordeaux pairs well with food. Thinking about holiday gatherings, we decided to do gourmet grilled cheese. These small sandwiches are, fun, easy, and ideal for a group because they can be made ahead and kept warm in the oven. We also enjoyed a green salad with apple and shrimp sherry she crab bisque we made using fresh seafood I purchased at the local Fisherman’s Market.

  • Sherry Shrimp and She Crab Bisque 
    • you could definitely taste the sherry; different than when we have made this soup before using only cognac or brandy. Sherry made a big difference in the flavor profile. 
  • Oysters on the half
  • Salmon pinwheels
  • Green Salad with apple and toasted pecans with a raspberry vinaigrette 
  • Grilled Cheese:
    Sandwich 1: Comte on organic whole grain bread
    Sandwich 2: Blue cheese, fresh apple, and rosemary on organic whole grain bread
    Sandwich 3: Asparagus and brie on organic Italian country loaf
    Sandwich 4: Ginger pepita gouda and apple on organic Italian country loaf
    • 4 very distinctly different sandwiches using some of the same ingredients. 

2 Crémant de Bordeaux

samples for my review

  • 2018 Calvet Crémant de Bordeaux Rosé
  • Celene Amethyste Blanc de Noirs Crémant de Bordeaux 


2018 Calvet Crémant de Bordeaux Rosé
ABV 12%
SRP under $18
sample for my review

Made from 100% Cabernet Franc,  this AOC Crémant de Bordeaux sells for under $20 make it very affordable. Imported by Monsieur Toulon.

Color: Ballet pink, rose gold, persistent bubbles.

Aroma: Florals, cherry, peach.

Palate: Light, clean, refreshing, simple, nice, cherry and strawberry, maybe a bit of nectarine on the finish. Tasty and easy to drink, nice flavor, nice character, a bit of yeast, like raspberry jam on a freshly baked loaf of bread. 

Pairing: The smoked salmon pinwheels were nice with the wine, but were so much better with the Celene. We love Kumamoto oysters; there is such a lovely freshness to them, but they were just okay with the wine. They didn’t do any harm to each other, but just were’t fabulous together. Raspberry balsamic vinegarette on our salad worked so well with the wine, pairing well with the raspberry essence. While the wine is nice with the bisque, the she crab roe makes the pairing. The she crab makes the soup very rich and the wine comes along and cleanses the palate after the rich wonder.

Just a little bit of roe changes the entire experience of the soup while elevating the wine. What a perfect combination. 

With the grilled cheese:

  • Nice with the comte grilled cheese.
  • Very nice with the ginger apple sandwich. Great with the fruit and cream in the sandwich.
  • Very nice with the blue cheese apple grilled cheese. 
  • BEST: The asparagus brie sandwich was beautiful with the wine, harmonizing with the asparagus and cleansing the rich brie from the palate.

Crémant de Bordeaux

Celene Amethyste Blanc de Noirs Crémant de Bordeaux 
ABV 12%
SRP $12
sample for my review 

A surprising blend of 60% Merlot and 40% Cabernet Franc, this AOC Crémant de Bordeaux is a very affordable $12 that tastes more like $20!

Color: Platinum, medium persistant bubbles

Aroma: Yeast, vanilla, almond croissant, marzipan, caramelized sugar

Palate: Clean and refreshing, there is a nice yeastiness to it, vanilla, toasted marshmallow, fresh apple up front, a bit of ripe pear, apple danish on the finish. 

Pairing: Fruit in the wine is nicely elevated when paired with the smoked salmon pinwheels. They were great together. Nice and fresh with lovely melon characteristics when paired with the wine. The salad was nice with the wine. It was the toasted pecans that were perfect adding a lovely touch when paired together. Raspberry balsamic does not always go so well with wine, however it loves this wine. The Crémant de Bordeaux  was also fantastic with our shrimp bisque. The soup and the wine are very compatible together. 

Crémant de Bordeaux with the grilled cheese: 

  • Nice with the ginger gouda with apples, but this sandwich was better with the Cavet.
  • The asparagus brie sandwich brings out the fruit in the wine.  
  • Celene harmonizes with the blue and apple grilled cheese picking up on the rosemary in the sandwich.
  • BEST: The Comte grilled cheese with this wine is to die for. 

For four rose Cremant from France, check out these four wines — and subscribe so you won’t miss next month’s Winophiles focus on Cremant from All Around France!

For more Affordable France, check out 4 Crus Bourgeois Bordeaux Red plus a Dessert Wine

We love gourmet grilled cheese and French wine! Check out this post.

We did four French wine finds for under $20 with Monte Cristo grilled sandwiches here.

Stay tuned for two biodynamic Bordeaux under $30!

Crémant de Bordeaux

For more affordable Bordeaux wines, check out these posts from the Winophiles below and join our twitter chat Sat. Nov. 20 at 8am Pacific by searching for #Winophiles. 

Twitter discussion questions.

  • 11:00 Q1 Welcome to our #Winophiles chat! Please introduce yourself – tell us where you’re tweeting from and share a link to your blog.
  • 11:05 Q2 Bordeaux is huge and hugely popular! What do you like best about Bordeaux? Share a link to a Bordeaux post you’ve written in the past. #Winophiles
  • 11:10 Q3 Have you ever traveled to Bordeaux? Tell us about some of your impressions. Share photos if you have them. #Winophiles
  • 11:15 Q4 The very name “Bordeaux” is synonymous with “high-price” for many people. We’re talking about affordable Bordeaux this morning for #Winophiles. Where do you look for good-quality Bordeaux under $25? Tell us your bargain-hunting secrets!
  • 11:20 Q5 What affordable Bordeaux did you open for this month’s #Winophiles chat? Tell us about your wines and the people who produce them.
  • 11:25 Q6 What did you learn about Bordeaux that you didn’t know before? Was there anything new and interesting that you came across? #Winophiles
  • 11:30 Q7 Holiday season is upon us! Will Bordeaux be on your festive table this year? Why or why not? #Winophiles
  • 11:35 Q8 Did you do a pairing with your affordable Bordeaux? What delicious food did you prepare or purchase? Share your beautiful photos! #Winophiles
  • 11:40 Q9 How was your Bordeaux wine and food pairing? What worked and what didn’t? What would you change or try next time? #Winophiles
  • 11:45 Q10 Other wine regions around the world produce Bordeaux varieties and Bordeaux blends. What differentiates the Bordeaux region from these other places? #Winophiles
  • 11:50 Q11 Is Bordeaux the kind of wine you save only for a holiday or special occasion? Do you ever pop the cork on a Bordeaux just for fun? #Winophiles
  • 11:55 Q12 Any final thoughts on affordable Bordeaux for the holidays or any time? #Winophiles
  • 11:59 Thanks for being a part of this chat about affordable Bordeaux. Hope you enjoyed it! Please join us next month when Susannah @Vignetocomm leads our #Winophiles chat on Crémant from All Around France.


Cheers with Crémant de Bordeaux! Happy Holidays!

PS This is post 111 for 2021!! I’ll toast to that!

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