Friday, January 17, 2014

They Often Call Me Champagne, But My Real Name Is M. Crémant

This may not be looked upon by some as a great or fitting bubbly with which to ring in the new year, but I have found that inexpensive wines are often vastly underrated.  The Blason de Bourgogne Crémant de Bourgogne Brut Reserve is a ten-dollar wine at a Trader Joe's, where some great deals on under-the-radar wines can be found.

This came to us in a gift basket from the mom-in-law on our holiday trip to Las Vegas.  I was not expecting a new wonder of the world here, but was hopeful upon popping the cork that it would add some cheer to the year's end.

Blason de Bourgogne is a cooperative which, as they say, "represents 800 winegrowing families throughout the region, from Chablis in the North to Mâcon in the South, passing through Beaune in the centre.  Each and every wine provides a glimpse of the character of Burgundy, thus together they paint the whole glorious picture."

This sparkling wine is called crémant, since it is not produced in Champagne.  It hails from another part of Burgundy around the village of Saint-Bris.  The Crémant de Bourgogne AOC designation was created in 1975 for the white and rosé sparkling wines of Burgundy produced in the traditional method outside of Champagne.

It's a rather unusual sparkler, in that it is made from Pinot Noir and Gamay grapes, according to the Blason website.  I have seen references to the inclusion of Chardonnay and Aligoté grapes as well.  Alcohol is very reasonable, at 12%.  Aging in the bottle lasts for one year.

This sparkler pours up very bubbly with large bubbles, settling into fine ones.  Fruit and a little yeast make a festive nose, as if the bubbles need any help in the festive department.  Pears, peaches and apples are the big show on the palate, with a touch of toast and a little blast of earthiness offering backup.  The wine is very dry and plenty of fireworks are provided by an outstanding level of acidity.

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