When it comes to sparkling wines, Champagne is king. However, technically Champagne may only be called "Champagne" when it's a bubbly made in the DOC region of Champagne, France, about 80 miles northeast of Paris. All other regional sparkling wines from France are dubbed "crémant." French for "creamy," crémants are crafted using the traditional "méthode champenoise" (where the secondary fermentation takes place in the bottle not a fermentation tank) and they lean heavily on the influence of local grapes, going way beyond the legally dictated grapes of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier found in Champagne's best bottles.
Crémant - Regional Names, Regional Grapes
Most major French wine-producing regions make a sparkling wine or crémant. These wines bear the name of the region tagged onto the end of the term "crémant." For example, a Crémant from Alsace is labeled "Crémant d'Alsace," likewise a Crémant de Limoux hails from the southern French wine region of Limoux. Crémant de Bourgogne is from the French region of Burgundy, and on the labels go.
Typically, crémants offer stellar deals in terms of price and quality. Most fly under $25 tops and boast abundant flavor, finesse, and classic French sparkling wine style. Keep an eye out for Lucien Albrecht's Alsatian Crémant or Jean-Charles Boisset's Burgundian Crémant for solid distribution, fair pricing and consistent quality.