Les Grappes magazine with le parisien
The magazine Les
Grappes & Le Parisien
Everything you always wanted to know about wine but never dared to ask

"Shall we have a drink tonight?", "Definitely!". How about tonight instead of having a beer or a glass of wine we have some bubbles? For the most part, sparkling wines are synonymous with celebration and have no place in everyday life.

At Les Grappes, we want bubbles every day and not just Champagne! Here we go for a short overview of sparkling wines in France.

The different ways of making sparkling wines?

"Sparkling is not good!"
There are so many different denominations that we get a little lost. Let's start by explaining the technical terms.

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

  • The traditional or Champenoise method (for the wines of the region with the same name): this method consists of making a still wine to which a second fermentation is applied. We find here the crémants, the Champagne or the sparkling wines of Savoie. This method is considered to be the one that produces the most qualitative wines.
  • The rural or ancestral method: This method consists in bottling wines whose alcoholic fermentation has not yet finished to contain the CO2. We find here wines like Clairette de Die, Blanquette de Limoux, the sparkling wines of Touraine...

In addition to the production 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 to choose between all these wines? Some will tell you that by taking Champagne you are sure not to be mistaken. Certainly, the reputation of Champagne is well established but it is necessary to be aware that there are bad Champagne (except on Les Grappes 😉) and that in some cases, a good crémant will be better than a bad Champagne.

The key is to stay open and let yourself be carried away by the magic of the bubbles. The reputation of champagne increases its price. A priori, 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 consider it as the bottom of the Champagne range, whereas there are obviously superb crémants!
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, while it is at least 12 months for Champagne) and their colour is a few details similarly ready. 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 a more flexible specification 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 their happiness there!

At Les Grappes, we advise you:

Why do we like Pet Nat?

When we talk about sparkling, how can we not mention natural sparkling wines? A real success in bars and restaurants, this new type of sparkling wine, considered less stuffy and more affordable, 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 over his rights. Here not two but only one alcoholic fermentation, the one that occurs naturally after the grapes have been picked and pressed. Thus in this type of wine we find only juice, yeasts and residual sugar. These wines are generally very fruity with a light foam and a sweet taste.

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

At Les Grappes, we advise you:

Champagne: not only 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 occasions, Champagne would be reserved for certain very special occasions.

However, this tends to be relativized, many people try to decomplex all the symbolism that can be found 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 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 high quality!

To conclude, let us live on bubbles and fresh water, especially since, like water, bubbles match almost everything. No need to worry about setting up a menu: it will be bubbly as a starter, main course and dessert!

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