Biodynamic Bubbles? Yes please! From France? For sure! Charlot Champagne? Nope, not in this case! We’re talking Crémant which means “creamy” in French referencing the pelage, the foamy or creamy mouthfeel of sparkling wine as it bubbles joyously away.
While Crémant may be MADE in the same way as Champagne (aka méthode champenoise,) only grapes that are grown in the Champagne region of France can be called Champagne. Sparkling wines grown and made in other regions of France go by the name of Crémant (“creamy” for the texture of the bubbles). In France, there are eight Crémant appellations:
- Crémant d’Alsace
- Crémant de Bordeaux
- Crémant de Bourgogne
- Crémant de Die
- Crémant du Jura
- Crémant de Limoux
- Crémant de Loire
- Crémant de Savoie
In the Loire Valley in St Nicolas de Bourguil, you’ll find sparkling wine made from Cabernet Franc (which we wrote about from Clos des Quarterones here), Further east in the Loire, you’ll also find sparkling wine made Chenin Blanc in Vouvray like by Vincent Careme (read here).
Perhaps the area most well known for its sparkling wine is Alsace; we wrote about a biodynamic Crémant here.
- De Chancey Crémant de Loire SRP $18
- Armand De Chambray – Crémant de Bourgogne SRP $18
- 2015 Thomas Jefferson Gerard Bertrand – Crémant De Limoux Sud De France $18
- Wolfberger Crémant D’ Alsace SRP $25
As you can see, Crémant can be quite affordable for a high quality wine, and they go beyond a wine for toasting to pair well with a range of menus as you may have noted from the links above.
This December, under the full moon, the French Winophiles group of wine writers follow the lead of host Susannah Gold to focus on this festive beverage and we’re taking it one step further with France-inspired fun finger foods for pairings with our two biodynamic bottles of bubbles. Scroll down for links to participants articles on the topic and prompts for our 8am twitter chat on Sat. Dec. 18.
If you’re a fan of sparkling wine, stay tuned for seven grapes and seven styles from Italy celebrating Solstice! And for the cocktail fan, we have Italian herbal cocktails coming right up that are not too sweet!
Some Festive Finger Foods
- oysters with uni and avocado
- turkey lumpia
- deviled eggs with bacon
- smoked salmon
- crab salad escarole “tacos”
- crab cakes
- Langres AOP topped with sparkling wine
- panelle (fried chickpea flour fritters recipe link here)
When I was doing research into Langres — a cheese from the Champagne region — I learned that they pour sparkling wine into the dimple in the middle so I had to try it– and you should too! Also, as if oysters aren’t amazing enough, I added avocado to some and uni to others — and you should try that too! Makes it very colorful too as well as tasty!
Foods for sparkling wine don’t have to be fussy! Festive and fun and wonderful with bubbles include fried chicken and potatoes chips.
Paired with Biodynamic Bubbles from France
- Domaine Bechtold Crémant d’Alsace
- 2018 Didier Montchovet Blanc de Blanc Crémant de Bourgogne
2017 Domaine Bechtold Crémant d’Alsace
SRP around $20
Grapes 50% chardonnay, 50% Auxerrois (an important grape in Alsace)
sample for review
“The more the vine is used to being a natural plant, the better the grapes and the more harmonious the wine is,” says Jean-Marie Bechtold.
In a region long revered — there is an 890 AD mention of the Engelberg site– Domaine Bechtold is the only organic grower in Dahlenheim, and Jean-Marie Bechtold converting all vineyards to certified biodynamic viticulture, and the Demeter logo is already on some of the labels in the market.
Vinification and elevage should be “approached as a parent raises a child: with patience, spirited attention and understanding of particular needs,” according to Jean-Marie. Minimal intervention means wines “express their own character” and stay faithful to the vintage. Stainless steel tanks capture fresh acidity for an elegant, light style.
Planted 25 years ago on limestone-rich marls, the vines are harvested manually, and made with minimal intervention including spontaneous, in stainless-steel tank with a small dose of sulfur prior to fermentation to guard against volatile acidity and a small dose at bottling. (c. 100 mg/l total), and made with no reserve wine.
Color Gold, light gold, more gold than lemon, very festive,
Aroma Yeast, almond croissant, minerals, apple.
Palate Granny Smith fresh green apple, green apple and chalk on the finish. Fennel, lightly herbaceous, alpine flowers, chamomile.
Pairing With a panelle, there is such a great sharing of creaminess, the cheese and lemon are so bright and lovely with the wine. The langress on a crostini is heavenly with the wine, so many lovely textures and flavors that highlight the wine. Great with the fried lumpia, and the crab cakes. Nice with the crab salad lettuce wraps, so delicious with the deviled eggs, the bacon makes it over the top. Yummy with the avocado topped oyster. It loves the rich creaminess of the avocado and the fresh ocean flavors. Very pleasing with the smoked salmon. The crunch and the cream and the salty and the rich are perfect for the wine. Smoked salmon or smoked trout salad would be a great pairing
2018 Didier Montchovet Blanc de Blanc Crémant de Bourgogne
SRP under $40
Grapes: Chardonnay (80%) and Aligoté (20%)
They say at the store where Sue purchased this that they can’t keep it in stock — it just flies off the shelves. The festive gold label clearly identifies this as a Demeter certified organic wine, and the wine is made from estate fruit from one of the pioneering farmers and winemaker in Burgundy.
Color More golden than lemon, sunshine in a glass
Aroma When first opened, nice baking spice, white waxy flower, chamomile. The baking spice on the nose is quite subtle and very nice.
Palate Clean and fresh, lively soft foaming bubbles, lots of minerals, a little peachy, light stone fruit, green apple, chalky texture, there is a directness to the wine where it is everywhere at once.
Pairing The salmon is a bit saltier and the wine is a bit sweeter with our smoked salmon crostini. Loved this wine on its own, but even more with food. The crab becomes so sweet with the crab salad lettuce wraps, fried panelle brings out a lemon brightness in the wine. Fantastic with the deviled egg, the bit of dry mustard and drizzle of balsamic glaze are spot on with the wine. The uni with the oyster is so sweet and rich with the wine. Perfect with the langress such a special pairing especially with the cremant poured over the top.
Check out these Crémant as discussed by the French Winophiles:
- A Delightful Duo of Lucien Albrecht Crémant d’Alsace by Martin at ENOFYLZ Wine Blog
- Aperitif with Flair – Crémant de Bourgogne and Amuse-Bouche by Cindy at Grape Experiences
- French Crémant with Tasty Nibbles by Jane at Always Ravenous
- High-Low Pairing: Domaine Allimant-Laugner Crémant d’Alsace Rosé + Takeout Chinese by Cam at Culinary Adventures with Camilla
- On the Road with Cremant d’Alsace by Nicole at Somm’s Table
- Slow Cooker Shrimp Boil paired with a Cremant Cocktail for a fun Holiday Celebration by Wendy at A Day in the Life on the Farm
- Sparkle-up Your Comfort Food with Crémant d’Alsace by Jeff at Food Wine Click!
- Sparkling Wine Secrets: Celebrate the Season with Biodynamic Bubbles from Bourgogne and Alsace with Festive Finger Foods here on Wine Predator
- Tasting Cremants with Janice Robinson by Deanna at Wineivore
- Crémant du Jura, A Trip to the Mountains by host Susannah at Avvinare
You’re invited to join our twitter chat Sat. Dec. 18 at 8am Pacific and 11am Eastern by following the hashtag #Winophiles.
And you’re invited to travel with me in 2022! (Help me pay for all this food and these pretty pictures on this blog and to keep it ad-free!)
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