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Everything you've always wanted to know about wine but were afraid to ask.

"Shall we go for a drink tonight?", "Totally!". How about tonight instead of a beer or a glass of wine, we have bubbly? For most people, sparkling wines are synonymous with celebration and have no place in everyday life.

At Les Grappes, we crave bubbles every day and not just Champagne! Let's go for a little overview of sparkling wines in France.

The different ways of making sparkling wines?

"- Sparkling wine is no good!"
There are so many different denominations that you get a little confused. Let's start by explaining the technical terms.

When we talk about sparkling wines, we generally distinguish 2 main techniques:

  • The traditional or Champenoise method (for wines of the region bearing the same name): this method consists of making a still wine to which a second fermentation is carried out. We find here the crémants, the Champagne or the sparkling wines of Savoy. This method is considered to produce the highest quality wines.
  • The rural or ancestral method: This method consists in bottling wines whose alcoholic fermentation is not finished to lock up the CO2. Here you can find wines such as Clairette de Die, Blanquette de Limoux, the sparkling wines of Touraine...

In addition to the manufacturing methods, the richness of the French terroirs and the different grape varieties used bring even more diversity to sparkling wines.

Pet Nat' or 'Crémant', what's the difference?

But how do you choose between all these wines? Some people will tell you that if you take Champagne you're sure you're not mistaken. Of course, the reputation of Champagne is not to be made but it is necessary to be aware that there are bad Champagne (except on Les Grappes ???? ) and that in certain cases, a good crémant will be better than a bad Champagne.

The trick is to stay open and let yourself be carried away by the magic of the bubbles. The fame of champagne makes its price go up. In principle, a sparkling wine more expensive than champagne will have needed more work and could bring you more pleasure.

Why do we like crémants?

Wrongly, some people consider it as the bottom of the Champagne range, whereas there are of course superb crémants!
The Crémant and Champagne are both produced according to the same winemaking method, i.e. the traditional method (with a shorter maturing time for the Crémant between 9 and 12 months whereas it is at least 12 months for the Champagne) and their colour is similar in some details. At first glance it is not always easy to differentiate between the two.

However, while Champagne is produced in a single region, Crémant is produced in 7 different wine-growing regions and has more flexible specifications in terms of the grape varieties that can be used. There is then a very rich aromatic palette among the crémants and everyone can find what they are looking for!

At Les Grappes, we advise you:

Why do we like Pet Nat?

When we talk about fizzy, how can we not talk about natural fizzy. A real success in bars and restaurants, this new type of sparkling wine, considered less stilted and more affordable in price, is the new darling of bubble lovers.

Produced according to the ancestral method, this wine is a pure expression of its terroir. The winegrower lets nature take its course. Here not two but one alcoholic fermentation, the one that starts naturally after the grapes have been picked and pressed. Thus we find in this type of wine only juice, yeast and residual sugar. These wines are generally very fruity with a light froth and a small sweet taste.

It is in the Loire that we find many winegrowers who lend themselves to the elaboration of "Pet'nat'" because the chenin is a grape variety that lends itself well to ancestral winemaking.

At Les Clppes, we advise you:

Champagne: not just for special occasions

"I can't live without Champagne. In case of victory I deserve it; in case of defeat I need it". This famous quote from Napoleon Bonaparte highlights the importance of this drink in our society. Synonymous with luxury and great occasion, Champagne would be reserved for certain very special occasions.

However, this tends to be relativized, as many seek to decomplex all the symbolism that can be around this drink. A recent campaign carried out in June 2019 by the SGV (general union of Champagne winegrowers) tries to give a simple image of Champagne by showing that it can interfere in our most banal daily life and thus make it exceptional. The food and Champagne pairings proposed by this campaign are unexpected. The products chosen are simple (sardine, boiled egg, cabbage, artichoke ... ) but of quality!

In conclusion, let's live on bubbles and fresh water, especially since, like water, bubbles can be used for almost anything. No need to bust your head to set up a menu: it will be bubbly as a starter, main course and dessert!

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