Oenologie - Les alternatives au Champagne ! - Les Grappes

Alternatives to Champagne!

"Shall we have a drink tonight?" "Absolutely!". And if tonight instead of having a beer or a glass of wine, how about having some bubbles ? For most people, sparkling wines are synonymous with celebration and have no place in everyday life.

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

The different ways of making sparkling wines?

"-The sparkling is not good!"
There are so many different names that you get a little lost in it. 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 from the region bearing the same name): this method consists of making a still wine which is then subjected to a second fermentation. 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 in order to lock up the CO2. We find here wines like the Clairette de Die, the 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 to choose between all these wines? Some will tell you that by taking Champagne you are sure not to make a mistake. Certainly, the reputation of Champagne is not to be made but it is necessary to be conscious 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 increases its price. 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!
The Crémant and the Champagne are both produced according to the same method of wine making, namely the traditional method (with a shorter maturing time for the crémant between 9 and 12 months whereas it is of minimum 12 for the Champagne) and that their dress is with some details almost similar. At first sight it is not always easy to differentiate the two.

However, while Champagne is produced in a single region, Crémant is produced in 7 different wine 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 what they are looking for!

At Les Grappes, we advise you:

Why do we like Pet Nat?

When we talk about sparkling, how not to evoke natural sparkling. A real success in bars and restaurants, this new type of sparkling wine considered less stilted and more accessible in terms of 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 back its rights. Here not two but one alcoholic fermentation, the one that starts naturally after the grapes have been picked and pressed. Thus only juice, yeast and residual sugar are found in this type of wine. 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 the 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 occasion, Champagne would be reserved for very special occasions.

However that tends to be relativized, many seek to decomplex all the symbolism that there can be around this drink. A recent campaign carried out in June 2019 by the SGV (general union of the winegrowers of Champagne) 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 matches proposed by this campaign are unexpected. The products chosen are simple (sardine, boiled egg, chouquette, artichoke... ) but of quality!

To conclude, let's live on bubbles and fresh water, especially since, like water, bubbles go well with almost anything. No more need to bust your head to establish a menu: it will be bubbles as a starter, main course and dessert!


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