Many people would drink bubbles every night of the week if possible, but one of the barriers to this kind of cool (and sometimes necessary) nightly ritual is price. It’s just not feasible to buy Champagne on a regular basis. Enter the Loire Valley. Crémant de Loire is the term used for high quality sparklers made by the traditional (Champagne) method but made in France’s Loire Valley, rather than in Champagne. Crémant de Loire can be made in the appellations of Anjou, Saumur and Touraine, and can be labeled with those appellations of origin, or simply as Crémant de Loire.
Indeed, all Crémant de Loire must be made in the traditional style like in Champagne, meaning that the second fermentation happens in the bottle, but Crémants are aged for less time on the lees, which means they have less complexity and fewer yeasty flavors than Champagne. Crémants are made from the classic grape chardonnay, but also sometimes contain chenin blanc and even the red grape cabernet franc. These sparkling wines have fine, persistent bubbles, fresh acidity, and aromas and flavors of hazelnut, vanilla, and floral components (from the chenin blanc). With an average price of around $15, Crémant de Loire could become a regular indulgence.
Here are a few of our favorites:
BOUVET-LADUBAY Saumur Brut Non-Vintage (Saumur, Loire Valley) $14
CHATEAU DE L’AULEE Crémant de Loire Brut Non-Vintage (Loire Valley) $16
LANGLOIS Crémant de Loire Brut Rosé Non-Vintage (Saumur, Loire Valley) $21
DOMAINE HUET Cuvée Brut Non-Vintage (Saumur, Loire Valley) $22
Have a favorite Crémant de Loire or other sparkling wine? Tell us below.
Photo Credit: Jean-Pierre.