Cremant de Bourgogne: The French Rival To Champagne You Need To Know About

Crémant de Bourgogne is a sparkling wine from Burgundy, a legendary wine region in France. Many wine lovers start their journey in French sparkling with non-vintage Champagne and other wines from the Champagne wine region. Let’s establish why Burgundian winemakers are so famous.

cremant de bourgone

How Napoleon III Made Burgundian Wines Special

You might already know that Burgundy is one of the best-known French wine wines. Why is that? Partially, it is a question of focus. Burgundian wine producers have long focused on producing the very best Pinot Noirs. In addition, French traditions regarding vineyard ownership and the distribution of property have favored small producers in the region. As a result, Burgundian producers remain dedicated to high quality rather than mass-produced corporate wines.

Burgundy also has excellent weather conditions and land to produce wine. The main soil type in Burgundy is limestone soil, though you will also find clay and granitic soil. Within the region, there are different regional specialties. For example, the northernmost region of Burgundy produces great white lines like Petit Chablis. Beyond Chablis and Pinot Noir, Burgundy also makes fantastic sparkling wines. In 1860, Napoleon III enjoyed the region’s famous sparkling wines along with Empress Eugénie.

As you grow in wine knowledge, reading Wine Enthusiast magazine and Travel by Glass reveals there are other sparkling wine options from France.

Who Makes Better Sparkling Wines: Burgundy or Champagne?

Ask any wine buff this question, and you’ll get a different answer. Champagne has the advantage of deep specialization in sparkling wines, including organic Champagne. The proportion of Champagnes consumed annually at special events like weddings, New Year’s Eve, and the holiday season is fantastic. Crémant production, on the other hand, is not as well known. Therefore, some assume cremant de Bourgogne isn’t as good as Champagne.

The reality is quite different. Burgundy’s reputation as a prestigious wine region is well earned. Among French wines, some people think that Burgundy makes the best wine. Burgundian sparkling wine offers plenty, and it might become your perennial favorite.

Don’t get me wrong – Champagne is exceptional. I’ve written several guides to this famous sparkling wine, including Organic Champagne, Champagne grapes, and  Champagne Alcohol Percentage. That said, variety is the spice of life. So, let’s see how Burgundy approaches sparkling wines with many appellation vineyards (you might also want to learn about the delights of grand vin de Bourgogne).

Burgundy Uses The Champagne Method

The champagne method of producing sparkling wines, also known as the traditional method, is used in Burgundy. The traditional method means the wine is transformed from still to sparkling inside the bottle. There are higher costs when a vineyard focuses its annual production on the traditional method. That’s why champagne method style wines tend to have higher prices. In contrast, there are other wine styles to try, like the tank method, which is commonly used in Italian sparkling wine (i.e., Prosecco). The tank method uses equipment like stainless steel tanks to create sparkling wine.

Wine Buying Tip: You often see the phrase “Crémant De Bourgogne NV” on wine bottles. The NV means it is a non-vintage wine. Larger producers increasingly used this type of label in the twentieth century. It means that the grapes from the vineyards and resulting wine are good but not necessarily exceptional. In contrast, a single vintage wine will tend to have a much higher cost.

Wondering how Champagne compares to other sparkling wines? Find out more here: Prosecco vs. Champagne: Key Differences In Taste, Food Pairing, and Price.

Cremant de Bourgogne: Top Wines To Try

Burgundy has a centuries-old winemaking heritage which means ambitious producers know how to produce great sparkling wines. In contrast to Champagne, cremant de Bourgogne bottles might be the most approachable wines in the sparkling category.

It’s important to note that there are four different types of cremant de bourgone: blanc, blanc de blancs, blanc de noirs, and rosé wines. Blanc and blanc de blancs are based on a white wine grape variety like Chardonnay (other white grapes are also used). The blanc de blancs category usually has citrus aromas and a citrus fruit flavor. Now, look at a few leading bottles from this ancient wine region.

Levert Freres Cremant de Bourgogne brut (Retail Price: $25)

This affordable sparkling wine from Burgundy offers notes of green apples and the acidity of fruit like lemon. If you enjoy stone fruit flavors like apple and peach, this expression of Burgundian identity is well worth your time. While this wine doesn’t have exotic fruit qualities, it does have notes of aging like toast and brioche.

Albert Bichot Cremant de Bourgogne brut (Retail Price: $30)

This sparkling wine is made from the Chardonnay grape, similar to Bourgogne chardonnay. The wine flavor profile includes strong tree fruit notes of apple and pear, balanced by citrus and lemon. This non-vintage or “NV” wine is affordable and offers plenty of acidity.

The Albert Bichot winery has been in business since the 19th century. Today, the winery has six estates in France.

Henri Champliau Cremant de Bourgogne Brut (Retail Price: $30)

Pinot Noir has a prominent role in this wine, a blend of 85% Pinot Noir and 15% Chardonnay. The grapes are hand-harvested, and the wine is produced using the traditional method. The flavor profile includes green apple rather than yellow apple. The primary fruit flavors are citrus, so expect to enjoy lemon citrus and lemon zest.

Cremant de Bourgogne In Summary

Whether you like lemon freshness or a toasty aroma, Burgundy sparkling wines have it all. Burgundian producers use similar production methods to the champagne wine region. The wine grapes used – typically Chardonnay and Pinot Noir – are similar to Champagne. Fortunately, Cremant de Bourgogne is less well known in the English-speaking world, so you can often get excellent sparkling wines for a great price.

Cremant de Bourgogne: The French Rival To Champagne You Need To Know About
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