A sparkling alternative

Over the years I’ve tried every sparkling wine going. Crémant de Loire, sparkling wine from other French regions, like Alsace, prosecco, cava, even (shudder) sparkling red shiraz. But I always come back to champagne. So I wasn’t expecting too much from the Crémant de Bourgogne (Lidl £7.99) Geoff produced, not least because I’ve never had much of interest from that supermarket, preferring Aldi, with whom they are inevitably compared.

In fact it was pretty good, albeit not good enough to change my preference. A slight peach colour led into a decent mousse with fine persistent bubbles and a chalky, champagne like nose. The taste was rich and mouth filling, yeasty but rather short. No information on the grapes used but we thought is was a blend.

[Geoff: I have not tried as many different champagnes as Richard but there are some, including the big names, that I find unimpressive and overpriced. The champagne houses have done an excellent marketing job maintaining an image of quality and price premium. Now, that premium appears to be breaking down with the result that, during various times of the year, champagne can be found between £10-£15. The quality of these vary marquedly (sorry about that). This Cremant has much more character than many of those wines, being richer, not overly acidic and with a gentler mousse. (It does come from a slightly warmer climate and a soil that has more clay than the champagne region). I thought this excellent value and would certainly prefer this to Prosecco which is its direct price competitor. The grape varieties allowed in any blend include Gamay (red) and Aligote (white) – but not Pinot Meunier – in addition to the Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

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