What does the term ‘Crémant’ denote?
Traditional Method sparkling wines made in France outside the Champagne region.
What are the three largest Crémant appellations in France?
The seven common features of all Crémants include:
- Hand harvested;
- Whole-bunch pressed;
- Maximum press yield 100L/150kg of grapes;
- Minimum 9 months sur lie during secondary fermentation in the bottle;
- Minimum 12 month maturation between tirage + release;
- includes the 9 months sur lie above;
- Maximum 13% abv;
- Minimum 4 atmospheres of pressure.
Crémant d’Alsace accounts for ___% of the total wine production in Alsace.
What are the permissible grape varieties that can go into Crémant d’Alsace?
Which one is the most important?
- Pinot Blanc
- Pinot Gris
- Pinot Noir
What percentage of Alsace’s total vineyard area is planted to Pinot Blanc?
Give a brief description of a Pinot Blanc-based Crémant d’Alsace.
- Medium intensity;
- Ripe apple and pear, delicate florals;
- Medium+ to high acidity;
- Light to medium body.
If a wine has been aged longer sur lie, it will have medium-intense biscuity, autolytic notes.
Crémant d’Alsace is typically made in what style?
The majority of Crémant d’Alsace wines typically have dosage levels of ____ g/L to counterbalance their higher acidity.
What is the climate of Alsace?
Semi-continental and sunny, and it can be dry and hot during the growing season
What is the typical elevation of vineyards in Alsace?
200-400m above sea level
Is irrigation permitted in Alsace?
No, irrigation is not permitted in Alsace.
What is a concerning pattern that is arising for Crémant d’Alsace producers in recent years due to climate change?
Warmer and earlier springs which result in earlier budbreak, making buds susceptible to spring frost which can lead to yield reduction.
Pinot Blanc is early budding, so it is very vulnerable to spring frost.
What are the two grapes NOT allowed in Crémant d’Alsace?
What is the only appellation in Alsace in which Chardonnay is permitted?
Rosé Crémant d’Alsace can be made only from this grape.
Usually, the first grape to be harvested in Alsace is ______ for Crémant d’Alsace.
Pinot Blanc; harvest starts late August to early September.
It’s an early ripener, too – combine that with the early harvest necessary to retain acidity for sparkling wines, and producers can spread out their harvest across all other varieties.
Remember: harvest is done by hand and whole-bunch pressing is mandatory!
What is the maximum yield in Alsace, and how does that compare to the maximum yield in Champagne?
- 80 hL/ha
- vs. Champagne’s 65-75 hL/ha
How is rosé Crémant d’Alsace made?
Short skin maceration, between 12-24 hours
In what month does a winemaker in Alsace have to declare if they are going to make a single vineyard Crémant that year?
Must declare in July
Why is Crémant d’Alsace is often chaptalized?
Because of low potential alcohol (8.5%)
Is Crémant d’Alsace usually a blend of vintages or from a single vintage?
What is the typical time Crémant d’Alsace spends sur lie?
12 months, resulting in more primary fruit generally
- However, some producers will leave their wines sur lie for 2 years, e.g. Cave de Turkheim
What is Crémant d’Alsace Emotion?
A prestige category of Crémant d’Alsace that was launched in 2012:
- Must be minimum 75% Pinot Blanc, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir (separately or together);
- Minimum 24 months sur lie.
By percentage, how is the production of Crémant d’Alsace broken down between co-ops, merchant houses, and independent growers?
- 43% co-ops
- 37% merchant houses
- 20% independent growers
What is the largest co-op of Crémant d’Alsace?
- they make still + sparkling wine from 1400 ha
What are the three main grape varieties in Crémant de Bourgogne?
- Pinot Noir
- Gamay, up to 20%
Why are Chardonnay and Pinot Noir the dominant grapes used in Crémant de Bourgogne production?
Because they display autolytic notes so well (much like Champagne)
What are the other grapes allowed in Crémant de Bourgogne besides Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Gamay?
- Pinot Gris
- Pinot Blanc
Crémant de Bourgogne accounts for how much of the total wine produced in Burgundy?
What is the flavor profile range for Crémant de Bourgogne?
Lightly fruity with green apple and citrus notes to more intense apricot with rich toasty, brioche, autolytic notes.
What is the appellation boundary for Crémant de Bourgogne?
The same as Bourgogne AOC
Grapes for Crémant de Bourgogne can be sourced from which of Burgundy’s départements?
Any of them!
- Yonne (Chablis)
- Côte d’Or
- Saône-et-Loire (Chalonnais, Mâconnais)
- Rhône (Beaujolais)
Distance north to south is ~250km, so regional fruit varies in fruit character and acidity.
The main sources of grapes for Crémant de Bourgogne come from:
- cooler + cheaper vineyard areas
- warmer + more expensive vineyard areas
Cooler + cheaper vineyard areas, including:
- Mâconnais, for Chardonnay in particular;
- Chalonnais, especially around Rully;
- Around Chablis and Côte d’Or;
- Hautes Côtes de Beaune + Hautes Côtes de Nuits.
How does Burgundy’s climate change from north to south?
Describe how this affects the grapes.
- North (e.g. Chablis) cool climate; grapes usually have light body and high acidity; vineyards will face south/southeast to get most sun;
- Central: Continental climate; grapes usually just-ripe with high acidity, although not a lot of grapes from here go into Crémant since the grapes fetch high prices;
- South (e.g. Beaujolais): Mediterranean influence; ripe fruit character and lower acidity.
What is the maximum yield for Crémant de Bourgogne?
By when do growers need to declare if they’re making a single vineyard Crémant de Bourgogne?
By the end of March
Does Crémant de Bourgogne usually go through malolactic conversion?
It depends on the winemaker
- the base wine is early-harvested fruit, so the winemaker needs to see what the acidity levels are, what the ripeness is like, etc.
What are the permissible grapes for Crémant de Bourgogne Blanc?
- Minimum of 30% Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc or Pinot Gris, either separate or blended;
- Maximum Gamay allowed is 20%.
What are the permissible grapes for Crémant de Bourgogne Blanc de Blancs?
Chardonnay and other white varieties only
What is the only grape allowed to go into Crémant de Bourgogne Blanc de Noirs?
What grapes are allowed to go into Crémant de Bourgogne Rosé?
Mostly Pinot Noir but a small amount of Gamay is permitted to help with the color
By percentage, how is the production of Crémant de Bourgogne broken down between co-ops, merchant houses, and independent growers?
- 30% co-ops
- ~66% merchant houses
- 2% independent winemakers
Name two significant producers of Crémant de Bourgogne.
- Jean Charles Boisset
- Louis Boillot
Exports of Crémant de Bourgogne account for what percentage of total sales?
What are the top export markets for Crémant de Bourgogne?
- USA, Sweden
What are the two top-tier classifications recently introduced for Crémant de Bourgogne?
- Crémant de Bourgogne “Eminent”
- Crémant de Bourgogne “Grand Eminent”
What are the requirements for Crémant de Bourgogne “Eminent”?
Minimum 24 months sur lie
What are the requirements for Crémant de Bourgogne “Grand Eminent”?
- For whites: Pinot Noir and Chardonnay only;
- For rosés: 20% Gamay permitted;
- Vintage is optional but commonly used;
- Minimum 36 months sur lie plus 3 months in the bottle prior to release;
- Brut only.
How many sparkling wine appellations are there in the Loire Valley?
3 principals to know for the exam are:
- Crémant de Loire
- Vouvray Mousseux
- Saumur Mousseux
Saumur is the production center for Loire and Saumur Crémants
Who owns many of the Crémant de Loire and sparkling Saumur companies?
e.g. Bollinger owns Langlois-Château
- Most Crémant de Loire is what color?
- Most Crémant de Loire is what style?
- Which grape dominates Crémant de Loire?
- Chenin Blanc
Where are the grapes for Crémant de Loire grown?
Anjou-Saumur and Touraine only
What is the climate like for the majority of the areas where the grapes for Crémant de Loire are grown?
Continental with mild Atlantic Ocean influence
What are two major issues Crémant de Loire producers deal with every year?
- Too much rain which can affect flowering, fruit set, and harvest;
- Fungal diseases.
What is the range of soils found in the areas that make Crémant de Loire?
Clay-limestone, flint-clay, sand, gravel and tuffe
- Touraine has more chalk
- Anjou has more schist + limestone
Good drainage and water retention are key
The high lime content in the Loire soils means vines are vulnerable to chlorosis.
Which two rootstocks are used to help protect the vines from chlorosis?
- Riparia Gloire de Montpellier
What is the maximum Cabernet Sauvignon and Pineau d’Aunis allowed in Crémant de Loire?
30% (together or separate)
What are the grapes allowed to go into Crémant de Loire?
- Chenin Blanc
- Cabernet Franc
- Cabernet Sauvignon
- Grolleau Noir and Gris
- Pineau d’Aunis
- Pinot Noir
What is the one Loire grape that is NOT allowed in Crémant de Loire?
What is the maximum yield for Crémant de Loire?
In what month do Loire producers have to declare if they will be making Crémant de Loire that year?
Crémant de Loire producers typically press grapes using a Coquard press or a pneumatic press?
Pneumatic press, to produce a wine with low phenolics
Crémant de Loire:
- Always goes through malolactic conversion.
- Never goes through malolactic conversion.
- Malolactic converstion depends on the producer.
Depends on the producer
Crémant de Loire is usually fermented in which vessel?
Stainless steel, but a few producer use oak (e.g. Bouvet-Ladubay “Cuvée Trésor”)
Oak is generally not a desirable flavor in Crémant de Loire
What is the new top-tier category for Crémant de Loire?
Why was it created?
- Prestige de Loire (launched in 2018);
- Created to set a category at a minimum price of €10 in France.
What are the regulations surrounding Prestige de Loire?
- White only;
- Must be made from Chenin Blanc, Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay, or Pinot Noir, separately or blended;
- Minimum 24 months sur lie;
- Must be vintage dated;
- Must have 12 g/L dosage or less (Brut or under);
- Producers must achieve set of environmental standards within 5 years (e.g. sustainable viticulture).
How is the production of Crémant de Loire broken down between co-ops, merchant houses, and independent growers (in whole numbers, not percentages)?
- 10 co-ops
- 19 merchant houses
- 400 independent producers
9 of the large merchant houses account for 80% of the production! The top 5 are:
- Ackerman, Bouvet-Ladubay, Gratien + Meyer, Veuve-Amiot, Langlois-Château
What are the top export markets for Crémant de Loire?
1/2 total Crémant de Loire production exported, the other 1/2 stays in France
Saumur Mousseux must be a minimum ___% of this grape.
60% Chenin Blanc
Saumur Mousseux may contain a maximum of ___% of this grape.
10% Sauvignon Blanc
Saumur Mousseux Rosé must be:
- minimum ___% this grape
- may contain a maximum ___% this grape
- Minimum 60% Cabernet Franc
- Maximum 10% Sauvignon Blanc
Saumur Mousseux must all be hand harvested or is it allowed to be mechanically harvested?
It can be mechanically harvested
What is the press limit for Saumur Mousseux?
100 litres from 130 kilos
The maximum yield for Saumur Mousseux is:
The maximum yield for Vouvray Mousseux is:
Vouvray Mousseux must be a minimum ___% of this grape.
What is the other grape permitted in Vouvray Mousseux?
Minimum 95% Chenin Blanc (but can be 100% Chenin Blanc)
Other grape permitted: Orbois, a local Loire grape variety.
Vouvray Pétillant is:
- fully sparkling
- lightly sparkling