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Beyond Champagne: French Crémant to try

French Crémant - such as Crémant de Loire and Crémant de Bourgogne - can offer good value versus Champagne and a different style to Prosecco. Here are some recommendations to try this Christmas...

French Crémant sparkling wines can be produced in specific regions across the country, including the Loire, Burgundy,  Limoux and Alsace. The grape varieties allowed depend on each region’s production rules.

Crémants are made using the ‘traditional method‘ – the same method used for Champagne where the second fermentation takes place in the bottle. Grape varieties depend on locality; Chenin Blanc dominates Crémant de Loire, while Pinot Noir and Chardonnay form the backbone of Burgundy Crémant.

Crémant has been making waves with retailers for the past few years and is now commonplace in independent retailers and on supermarket shelves. This is partly to reflect the wines’ ability to offer value-for-money but also as a way of extending ranges of the best sparkling wines beyond Champagne, Prosecco and Cava.

Which French regions produce Crémant?

Those wishing to use the term ‘Crémant’ in their region have to get clearance from France’s national appellation body; an often joyless, bureaucratic procedure that can take years to reach fruition.

The latest to go through this has been Crémant de Savoie, which was authorised by France’s INAO appellation body in 2014.

Seven other Crémant appellations already existed, and these are:

  • Crémant de Bordeaux
  • Crémant de Bourgogne
  • Crémant d’Alsace
  • Crémant de Loire
  • Crémant de Die (Rhône)
  • Crémant de Jura
  • Crémant de Limoux (Languedoc-Roussillon)

Can you age Crémant?

As so often in wine, there isn’t a hard and fast rule about this. That said, you would generally expect a good quality Champagne to out-live a good quality Crémant. ‘Crémants generally have a higher pH and phenolic content than Champagne, with low levels of both being crucial for longevity in sparkling wine,’ said Rob MacCulloch MW, in this response to a query on ageing Crémant

10 French Crémant sparkling wines to try:

Wines updated 14th December, 2020. Recommendations by Decanter’s editorial team.

See also:

Non-Vintage Champagne: Panel tasting results

Wines to have with Christmas turkey 

What’s the difference between Champagne and Prosecco – ask Decanter

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