I do not know a lot about wine and before I embark on this short blogpost I shall proffer apologies for my ignorance to any Francophiles who are reading this - such as Cro Magnon or Susan in Glentham, Lincolnshire.
Let us think about champagne. I am sure that nearly all readers will be aware that the term "champagne" is reserved for sparkling wines produced in the Champagne region of France using the méthode champenoise.
In my life I have drunk many awful glasses of champagne - usually at weddings but some thirty years ago I tasted an expensive champagne that was just heavenly. It knocked me for six. Suddenly, I realised why there was so much fuss about this beverage. Bubbles bursting in your mouth with just the right level of sweetness and so light. Like a happy summer's day.
Sadly, really good champagne comes at a price that is slightly prohibitive for everyday consumers.
However, a few months ago I was listening to a food and drink programme on BBC Radio 4. The wine enthusiast on the show explained that though champagne can officially only be created in the Champagne region, nine other regions of France produce almost identical sparkling wines using the méthode champenoise. These wine regions use the alternative term "Crémant". Usually such wines are a hell of a lot cheaper to purchase than champagne just because of the name thing.
That piece of information stuck in my brain and I have since bought and drunk three different bottles of "Crémant" from our local Lidl store at just £7.99 a bottle. We have tried "Crémant de Bourgogne", ""Crémant" de Loire" and ""Crémant" d'Alsace". They have all been delightfully palatable.
If like me you also enjoy good champagne, please give "Crémant" a try. Connoisseurs say that the best "Crémants" are easily as good as or better than your average champagne. Having supped three bottles I can heartily agree. The one I enjoyed the most was from the Bourgogne region - a deeper more honeyed version of the drink.
Hey, we have a Lidl store here in Florence. I like champagne so I will look for these! Thanks for the tip!ReplyDelete
You have Lidl in America? Well, I never!Delete
Thank you for this post! I am one that loves "good" champagne but unfortunately I have only had it a few times. My other experiences with champagne were sadly the bad versions that led me to drink something else instead. Now I know to look for a "Crémant"!ReplyDelete
But don't become an alcoholic Bonnie!Delete
I love the occasional glass of chilled bubbles on a summer's day but much prefer to drink a glass of affordable Crémant than Champagne. A favourite we used to buy in France cost about three euros a bottle.ReplyDelete
Good endorsement. Thank you Sue.Delete
When I used to stay in France a lot we used to drink Saumur as our preferred affordable fizz and, in the warmth and ambience, I enjoyed it. I have noticed over the last few years that the English sparkling wines have been outclassing the Champagnes in some of the blind tastings. I've had one or two and they were good. So much, though is personal taste with wines as it is with almost anything else we consume through our mouths. A year or two ago I shared a bottle of Opus One (several hundred pounds and I did not buy it) and we both agreed that ten or more bottles to our taste at £20 would almost certainly provide greater enjoyment.ReplyDelete
Are there any vineyards on The Isle of Lewis - what with climate change and everything? "Chateau Eagleton" would be deep and fruity I am sure.Delete
We have had the Crémant d'Alsace from Aldi before as they will ship to us over here. I rather like it. That reminds me, I must check to see if they have any back in stock. It all seems to heve disappered lately.ReplyDelete
I would like to try all nine of the regional crémants. One of them is from Luxembourg.Delete
At last, an explanation why Paul McCartney was so exuberant in Hands Across The Sky when he wrote "Lidl Lidl be a gypsy, get around (get around), get your feet up off the ground, Lidl Lidl get around."ReplyDelete
If Lidl's top executives see your comment they may adopt "Hands Across The Sky" for advertising purposes!Delete
I agree that once you have tasted a really nice champagne it overshadows everything else. There are a lot of really nice sparkling wines and also some awful ones - often the cheap ones. To some extent you do get what you pay for in sparkling wines!ReplyDelete
In France we drink Crémant de Loire which is lovely. Also a very inexpensive Saumur sparkling wine that we get in Aldi.
By the way, did you know that Wirksworth (you wrote about it recently) is twinned with Die in the Drôme? You can get Crémant de Die and also Clairette de Die, both sparkling wines from that area and both delicious. I can recommend if you ever see them for sale here.
Thank you for sharing that knowledge Jean. Who would have ever have guessed that that bashful young schoolgirl from Wirksworth would become a wine connoisseur?Delete
Not so much a connoisseur as an enthusiast!Delete
Can't stand the stuffReplyDelete
One does have to have a rather cultured palate my good man.Delete
The Roman's grew grapes and made wine in Northumberland I prefer Newcastle Brown Ale when one can get it. Will have a look for the Cremant. Cheers🍇.ReplyDelete
Gosh, Northsider, you've suddenly awakened my tastebud memories. I used to drink good English draught beer but also had a taste for Guinness and then one day I was instantly very ill after drinking just a half pint and went off it. Then I discovered Newcastle Brown. Wonderful stuff.Delete
Hello Graham. They call it a "bottle of dog" in Newcastle. Theres an off licence in Tralee in County Kerry that sells it. Must order some online.ReplyDelete
Northsider, I haven't tasted it for a long time. When I came to Scotland and the Isle of Lewis 45 years ago I could never get into Scottish 'heavy' and I've never been a lager drinker. Eventually I settled on a wine drinks diet. Nowadays I tend to drink non-alcoholic beers when I'm out and driving and wine at home. I shall try and find some NB.Delete
What a good bit of consumer information! I had no idea. I drink champagne about once a year, though!ReplyDelete
I hope the word crémant stays with you Steve. Of course there will be excellent and average crémants - just like champagne.Delete
Not a fan of champagne although I do like Proseco with juice in the summer.ReplyDelete
Prosecco has become very popular in England in the last five or six years but most of the prosecco drinkers know nothing of crémant.Delete
Round here (Haute Savoie, near Chamonix) they serve what they call "kir" and often use crémant. Just basically a dash of fruit liqueur (I like peach personally) and top it up with crémant. Lovely and refreshing on a hot day!ReplyDelete
I read that Savoie is one of the nine regions that produces crémant. The drink you described sounds just right for summertime Treaders.Delete
Our favourite brand of sparkling wine is Kessler (from Esslingen near Stuttgart). Mr Kessler, the founder, learned his trade with Veuve Cliquot, the lady who made real champagne famous. When he left her winery and went back to Germany to set up his own business, he produced sparkling wine exactly like he had learned from her, only that he used grapes from other regions and therefore was not allowed to call it champagne. It is so to this day.ReplyDelete
By the way, the crémant sold by Aldi regularly features on my shopping list. Occasionally, I buy a bottle of Aldi's champagne (Monsigny); not bad, either.
Thanks for the Kessler tip. Maybe we have it over here. I will keep my eyes open for it.Delete
No Lidl here, but I often buy Prosecco from Aldi. I have one precious bottle left, waiting to celebrate the end of Covid19 - but will there be an end?ReplyDelete
Autocorrect tried to make Cremant into Fremantle or Cremation!ReplyDelete
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