“Not Quite Champagne Friday” because, even though it is Friday, this lovely bottle of bubbly is not Champagne. Rather, it is Crémant de Bourgogne – a Champagne-like wine made from grapes grown in Burgundy. That is not to say that the grapes for this wine were grown in Burgundy’s Cote d’Or (the area I think of when I say Burgundy). The weren’t. They were grown in what should be called “Greater Burgundy” – which includes the famous Cote d’Or as well as Chablis, the Cote Chalonaise, Macon, and a lot of other land just entitled to the name “Bourgogne” (Burgundy). Burgundy’s AOC laws require Crémant de Bourgogne to be made from at least 30% Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc, or Pinot Gris. Up to 70% Aligoté (a tart, lemony, less sought after white grape common in greater Burgundy) maybe used. Crémant de Bourgogne is made using methode champenoise but, because Burgundy is not in Champagne (although maybe Chablis should be – but going there would be a huge digression), they can’t call it that. But I can. To put it simply, the bubbles get into Crémant de Bourgogne the same way they get into Champagne (and Cava and lots of other better sparkling wines). After champenization, Crémant de Bourgogne must be aged at least one year on the yeasts (en tirage). François Labet is the proprietor of both Clos Vougeot’s Chateau de la Tour and Domaine Pierre Labet (Beaune, Savigny les Beaune, Meursault, Gevrey Chambertin, and Bourgogne Rouge and Blanc). As this François Labet Brut Crémant de Bourgogne is made from 100% Pinot Noir, it is the next best thing to a Blanc de Noirs Champagne – and is half the price.
FRANÇOIS LABET Brut, Crémant de Bourgogne, NV
Tech Note: 12% Alcohol. A blend of 100% Pinot Noir all grown in Burgundy. Made sparkling using methode champenoise. Sensory Note: Bronze-tinted-straw in color, fully sparkling; dry, medium-bodied with freshly balanced acidity. Rich and toasty with clean mineral earth, good toasty yeast notes, and a fine mix of earthy red cherry fruit and enough ripe citrus to keep it balanced. Supple but lively feel. Bear Note: Satisfying. Opens up nicely in the glass. Big enough to serve with food. Great everyday bottle of bubbly at a value price. Yum! BS: 90+ ($16.00).
And your (non) Champagne quote for the week is –
“Tiny bubbles in the wine … make me feel happy, make me feel fine.” – Don Ho
Aren’t you glad you stuck around for that?