JWL Issue #082: A Crémant Special from the Supermarket and Beyond

January 14, 2020

From the beginning of March, I will be working full time on The Wine List.

In May 2018, I started this newsletter with the intention of helping you learn more about wine in a fun and easy way. 82 newsletters, a whole English wine podcast, and a year later, the idea evolved. One early piece of feedback I had was that one was far less likely to buy a non-supermarket wine because of the hassle of buying online.

The Wine List emerged from that idea. The goal was the same: I want to help you learn about wine. But the vision is slightly bigger. Learn all of the principles about wine, with great bottles in front of you to test out that learning.

I’ve been doing this around my full time job in marketing for a tech startup, but now is the time to take this idea and really dedicate to it the time it deserves.

I want to thank you all dear readers. Without you, none of this would have been possible. All of you who reply, all of you who share, those who read religiously every week, and those who dip in and out. None of this would be here without you.

There’s a lot planned for The Wine List (and this newsletter as well), and as a reader, you will be first to learn about its developments.

This week’s newsletter has a focus on crémant: as I plan what could be the inaugural toast to the next chapter in my life.

Josh

Taste

We drank Bruno Sorg’s Crémant d'Alsace on New Year’s Eve outside Corks at Cargo in Bristol. The shop was an instant delight and one I wish had been on my doorstop daily. This was the best display of crémant I’d tried all year. The wine spends three years on lees, which gives it an autolytic (yeasty) creaminess that Champagne heads will love, with a finish that keeps going and going. Delicious. Available at Richard Granger, Corks, & Selfridges(~ £20).

As Autumn was truly settling in, we were invited to a friend’s for some drinks and dinner recently. She opened a bottle of Sainsbury’s Crémant de Loire (£11.50). This has a richness on the palate, an appley crunch, but with a real elegance about it. This punches well above its weight. Also available in magnums and who doesn’t love a magnum.

I first tasted crémant in France, as we found a plethora of it in the local supermarkets, mostly for around a fiver. Not expecting to hit such luck in England, finding Lidl’s Crémant de Loire (£7.99) was a real pleasant surprise. This is biscuity, fresh with a balanced fizz. For a sparkler under a tenner, there’s not much better.

Learn

What is Crémant?

Crémant is sparkling wine from France from a handful of regions – though not Champagne. It’s made using the traditional method, though is not as specific with grape choice.

Because of its production method, like Champagne, Cava, and most English Sparkling, it produces a drier fizz than Prosecco, with autolytic notes. Autolysis is the reaction that happens when wine spends time on the dead yeast cells (lees). It produces aromas of bread, toast, brioche, dough, yeast, and gives the wine a creamy texture and richness.

Other flavour aromas will depend on region, which you can often see depicted on the label with Crémant d'––––––.

It’s been growing in popularity over the last year in the UK, with all the supermarkets now stocking at least one.

If you’re fed up of Prosecco, which if consumer trends seem to be going by, it seems you are (and rightly so for the most part), crémant is a perfect sparkling to get your teeth into.

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