Tag Archives: Bordeaux

Cru Bourgeois

Cru Bourgeois: High Quality Wine from Bordeaux’s Left Bank

With the incredible number of châteaux producing wines in Bordeaux, how do you know how to select a good bottle?

Sure, you can pick one from one of the five growths of the 1855 Classification – a ranking of Bordeaux’s best wines as requested by Emperor Napoleon III for the 1855 Exposition Universelle de Paris.

However, a lot has changed since 1855. So you may want to opt for something that has kept up with the times (not to mention that is also a lot easier than pulling up the list of classified estates).

When selecting a Bordeaux wine, look for Cru Bourgeois.

Cru Bourgeois logoCru Bourgeois du Médoc wines have met the strict quality selection procedure of the Alliance des Crus Bourgeois. This union was created in 1962 to study, defend and promote the interests of the owners and producers in the Médoc area. The term dates back to the 15th century, when the bourgeois (merchants) of Bordeaux were able to acquire the finest properties in the region.

“We use an external and independent verification body – Bureau Veritas – to supervise every stage of the process to ensure quality standards and impartiality at every stage,” explained Crus Bourgeois du Médoc Director Frederique de Lamothe via email.

“Since 2008, each vintage is tasted blind by external professionals and evaluated before being sold, making the ‘Cru Bourgeois’ quality approach unique and a benchmark for Bordeaux and the rest of France.”

Cru Bourgeois wines are easy to spot, thanks to an authentication sticker affixed to each bottle since the 2010 vintage.

Cru Bourgeois sticker

“This sticker not only guarantees quality, but also that the wine is representative of its specific terroir and appellation,” said Mr. de Lamothe. “The sticker also has a QR code that allows easy and immediate access to that particular château’s technical information on the Crus Bourgeois du Médoc website.”

The wines come from the famous sub-appellations on Bordeaux’s Left Bank: Médoc, Haut-Médoc, Listrac-Medoc, Moulis en Medoc, Margaux, Pauillac and Saint-Estèphe. They’re made mainly from Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot.

The wines in the Crus Bourgeois de Medoc offer variety, both in taste and price. Bottles range from $20 to $50, with the average price of a bottle currently at $25.50.

For more information on Crus Bourgeois du Medoc including member châteaux visit www.crus-bourgeois.com.

Cremant: France’s Alternative to Champagne

There’s so much more to French sparkling wine than just Champagne. Sparkling wine is produced all over France using the same traditional method (and often same grapes) as Champagne. Called Crémant, the sparkling wine can be of the same high quality as Champagne, though typically costing much less.

Click here for Champagne facts and figures

There are seven appellations which include this designation in their name: Crémant d’Alsace, Crémant de Bordeaux, Crémant de Bourgogne, Crémant de Die, Crémant du Jura, Crémant de Limoux and Crémant de Loire.

Crémant is not limited to the three grapes of Champagne (Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier). Instead it may be made from one or a blend of each region’s native grapes, which can produce a range of flavors not found in Champagne.

Don’t limit yourself to Champagne – the variety of Crémant produced in France guarantees you’ll find several that you love.

Click here to read about sparkling wines produced around the world

Here are some Crémants to try:

Crémant de Bordeaux

Jaillance Cuvée de l’Abbaye Brut Crémant de Bordeaux ($19)

This sparkling wine is made entirely from Semillon, one of the two main white wine grapes in Bordeaux (Sauvignon Blanc is the other). This Crémant is aged on the lees for 24 months.

Dry, crisp and elegant, the Jaillance Cuvée de l’Abbaye has all the desirable characteristics you look for in a brut sparkling wine. It is extremely pale yellow in color, with round and fresh flavors. Ripe lemon, white grapefruit, white raspberries, almond and a touch of brioche are enhanced by small bubbles.
Click here to read a full review of the Jaillance Crémant

Crémant de Loire

De Chanceny Crémant de Loire Brut ($14)

This sparkling wine is made from 70% Chenin Blanc, 15% Chardonnay and 15% Cabernet Franc, all grapes grown in the Loire region. The grapes were hand-picked from 30 different families of growers, and the sparkling wine was aged for 18 months in cellars that date back to the 12th century.

The sparkling wine is pale straw yellow in color, as the juice from the Cabernet Franc grapes did not have contact with the color-imparting skins. The flavors from this red wine grape enhance the flavors of the two white wine grapes, adding a slight hint of white raspberry to the white grapefruit, lemon, pear and toast notes.

Crémant du Jura

Domaine Berthet-Bondet Crémant du Jura ($19)

Jura is perhaps the least well-known wine region in France, located just east of Burgundy. Its perched village of Château-Chalon (where Domaine Berthet-Bondet is located), is classified as one of the most beautiful villages in France.

This Crémant is made from Chardonnay and Savagnin, the two white wine grapes of the Jura. It is a lovely mix of citrus and white flowers. Flavors of lemon, white grapefruit and golden apple culminate in a dry and refreshing finish.

Crémant d’Alsace

Jean Albrecht Crémant d’Alsace Brut Reserve ($18)

This sparkling wine is made entirely from Pinot Blanc, a white wine grape that is a genetic mutation of Pinot Noir. Most Crémant d’Alsace is made from Pinot Blanc, though it may also be made from Pinot Gris, Riesling, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

The Jean Albrecht Crémant is pale straw yellow in color with small bubbles. Dry and delicate flavors of white citrus and toast plus a hint of sweet apricot make this sparkling wine really enjoyable to drink.

Crémant de Bourgogne

Blason de Bourgogne Crémant de Bourgogne Cuvée Brut ($10)

With Chardonnay and Pinot Noir being the main grapes of Burgundy (Bourgogne in French), this region produces sparkling wines that are very similar to Champagne.

The Blason de Bourgogne Crémant has flavors of pear, apple and toasted bread that culminate in a crisp finish that has a hint of toasted almonds. With its small energetic bubbles this sparkling wine is easy to drink and light on the tongue, with a price tag that’s hard to beat.

 

AG Pick: Jaillance Cuvee de l’Abbaye Cremant de Bordeaux

If you love French sparkling wine but are turned off by the high price of Champagne, make Crémant your celebratory bubbly.

Crémant is the name for the sparkling wine produced in France outside of the Champagne region. Made in the same method as Champagne but typically costing much less, Crémant is the perfect blend of the finesse and flavors you look for in a sparkling wine.

The great thing about Crémant is that it is not limited to the three grapes of Champagne (Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier). Crémant is made from each region’s native grapes, which can mean a wider variety of flavors than what you find in Champagne.

For a wonderful taste of Crémant in general and Crémant de Bordeaux in particular, try the Jaillance Cuvée de l’Abbaye Brut, AOC Crémant de Bordeaux. Made entirely from Semillon grapes, this wine has mouth-filling fruit flavors that will make you a Crémant devotee.

Semillon is one of the two main white wine grapes in Bordeaux, along with Sauvignon Blanc. The sparkling wine is produced by méthode Champenoise (also called the traditional method), with the second fermentation taking place in the bottle. The Cuvée de l’Abbaye is aged on the lees for 24 months.

Right away you’ll notice how pale the Jaillance Cuvée de l’Abbaye is — extremely light yellow, almost without any color. This seems in contrast with the round and fresh flavors you get in each sip. Ripe lemon, white grapefruit, white raspberries, almond and a touch of brioche are enhanced by small bubbles. Dry, crisp and elegant, the Jaillance Cuvée de l’Abbaye has all the desirable characteristics you look for in a brut sparkling wine.

A bottle of the Jaillance Cuvée de l’Abbaye Brut Crémant de Bordeaux costs $19.

12% alcohol by volume