Alongside their world-class white and red wines, did you know that Burgundy produces excellent sparkling wines too? The Appellation, known as Crémant de Bourgogne, can be used for white or rosé sparkling wines (though if they are red then the term Bourgogne Mousseux is used). The sparkling wines of this region are not only superb in terms of quality, but they are also refreshingly reasonably priced too, compared to their more famous cousins to the North in Champagne. The Crémant Appellation covers around 400 communes from Chablis to Beaujolais (in other words, right across Burgundy), each area producing wines of rich variety and complexion.
For those interested in the technicalities of the different types of sparkling wine in Burgundy, there are four categories of Crémant within the AOC:
- Blanc – at least 30% Chardonnay or Pinot Noir – white-gold in color, floral and slightly acidic
- Blanc de blancs – made using Chardonnay, light and lively
- Blanc de noirs – Pinot Noir / Pinot Meunier generally, so with a little more body as it’s made from black grapes
- Rosé – usually all Pinot Noir, sometimes with added Gamay, and pink-gold in color
Helping you to discover these wines, Elden Selections offers a fantastic Crémant – the Domaine Borgeot Crémant de Bourgogne, from brothers Pascal and Laurent Borgeot. This is a versatile accompaniment to any great dinner; although it can be an excellent aperitif, it also sits perfectly happily alongside the main meal.
This is one of the few types of Burgundy wine which does break the rule of using only Chardonnay or Pinot Noir. Sometimes, for example, the more acidic Aligoté grape is added to increase the effervescence. Strict rules surround the production Crémant de Bourgogne, which has been produced since the nineteenth century here, including hand-harvesting in whole bunches and similar pressing rules as for Champagne. Across the whole of Burgundy, Crémant production accounts for a total of around 2,500 hectares, making 18 million bottles annually.
Crémant, though made by ‘methode champagnois’, is a different beast to Champagne and that’s as it should be. It’s not trying to be Champagne – rather, it has its own unique regional identity. Nowadays, most Crémant comes from Mâconnais and also now from Beaujolais. In 2013, the local body responsible for regulating Crémant introduced a new hierarchy for the best wines – the term Éminent is applied to those aged for 24 months, and Grand Éminent is used for those aged for 36 months.
The word is certainly spreading about these fun and fruity wines – in 2019, there was a 67% rise in sales to the UK and a 23% lift in exports to the United States. Crémant still, however, makes up a relatively small percentage of total Burgundy wine exports, meaning there is significant potential for growth, as drinkers around the world discover Crémant’s unique taste, traditional methods, great aging potential and unbeatable value.