Oenologie - Causons bulles : la success-story du crémant ! - Les Grappes

Let's talk bubbles: the success story of crémant!

The festive season is a great time for sparkling wines. The success of Champagne wines is worldwide, but this wine is no longer accessible to all budgets. Now excellent crémants compete with generic champagnes. Let's try to understand why.

According to researcher and physicist Gérard Liger-Belair, the bubbles of all effervescents are not the same. However, during an interview, he explains:

"It is impossible to differentiate between the bubble of a champagne and that of a crémant, because they are two traditional methods. But it is possible to differentiate between the bubbles of different sparkling wines. The size of the bubbles remains a distinctive quality criterion for the consumer. The closed tank method generates coarser bubbles, which are visible to the naked eye. This is due to the fact that foaming is faster in this process. »

When this researcher speaks of the traditional method, he refers to the method known as champagnisation. The term "Méthode champenoise" is only reserved for sparkling wines produced on the soil of Champagne. For other users of the said method, they now use the term "Méthode traditionnelle".

The history of crémant is written empirically. Crémant means "wine that cream". Let us wonder how crémants differed from sparkling wines. Throughout France, Champagne has been a model of effervescence. But there have been historic effervescents in the Loire Valley, in Burgundy, in Alsace, in Bordeaux, more modestly in Limoux, in Die...

In the past, when a winegrower wanted to learn champagnization, he went to Epernay. Thus several generations of winegrowers learned how to make pinots noirs, chardonnays and chenins foam. And this among other grape varieties. For these crémants are made from grape varieties that are destined to effervescence and are often local.

So since the middle of the 19th century, the term crémant has been used in Champagne to designate half a mousse. Because the inferiority of the pressure in the bottle was about half. Closer to champagne, this half-foam was widely distinguished from other sparkling wines. Especially by the lightness of its foam.

The word crémant was thus given up by Champagne to these historic demi-mousses. Today, 8 French appellation crémants have joined forces:

With Luxembourg, there is even a ninth crémant. In France, nearly 10,000 hectares of vineyards are reserved for crémants. In all these vineyards, more than a thousand winemakers harvest the grapes by hand.

But then, how many bottles does that make? All regions combined, let's say about 87 million bottles produced. And the French can rejoice! This crémant market has developed especially in France. In white as well as in rosé, crémant can be produced in organic farming.

Now that we are reassured about quality, let's look at prices. Most of these crémants are around 6-10 euros when the first prices of champagnes are already at 16-20 euros, to speak only of the mass distribution. This is why sales are expected to grow by 15 % by 2025.

In less than ten years, the market would therefore be able to absorb more than 100 million cremant collars. In addition, the rise in quality of these French crémants will accompany this progression.

Burgundy has already undertaken a new hierarchy of the AOC/AOP Crémant de Bourgogne and selects its Eminent and Grand Eminent wines annually through a competition. This new horizontal classification makes it possible to identify more complex crémants de Bourgogne. The winemakers are rushing to these competitions to present their exceptional crémants. The annual competition of the crémants de France is also becoming increasingly popular.

For all these reasons, prices should be turned upside down. Let's say that by 2025, the average would rise to 10-13 euros a bottle. That's why crémants are riding the wave of effervescence. Their price/quality ratio has never been better.

Christelle Zamora@BonBecBoheme

Bordeaux's gourmet Saturdays put thecrémants de Bordeauxin the spotlight.

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