Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Last Night's Tipple

Champagne is the king of French sparking wines, but there are many other regions in France that produce sparkling wine. Sparkling wine from an appellation d’origine contrôlée is generally called crémant. The ones that I have seen most frequently in the United States (not that I have been paying that much attention) are from Limoux (in the Languedoc), Alsace, and Bourgogne. Crémant de Bourgogne, it seemed to me when I was browsing the sparkling wine section at Central Market, should be the most like Champagne of all the French crémants since Bourgogne uses mostly the same grapes as Champagne does (namely, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay) and since it's relatively far north in France and would consequently be able to produce grapes high in acidity, as it should be with sparkling wine. Central Market had both a Blanc de Noirs and a Blanc de Blancs from Louis Bouillot, a Crémant de Bourgogne producer about which I knew nothing; but the price was decent and I thought what the heck. Given the fact that I typically like Blanc de Noirs better than Blanc de Blancs, I bought the Blanc de Noirs.

I don't know much more about Louis Bouillot than I did when I bought the bottle a couple of days ago. Their importer's website says that they began producing sparkling wine since 1877. The bottle says that they're based in Nuits-St-Georges in the heart of Burgundy, although that's not necessarily where the grapes they use for the wine are grown. Louis Bouillot Perle de Nuit Blanc de Noirs Crémant de Bourgogne is made from Pinot Noir from around Yonne and Gamay(!) from the Mâconnais. Well, this is a little bit different. Gamay isn't used in Champagne, and it's the grape of Beaujolais. I like (good) Beaujolais because it's fresh, fruity, and exuberant, so this is very promising. The wine is a deep straw color with just a tinge of salmon. The nose is, as one would expect, fresh, fruity, and exuberant. It is more immediately pleasing than any sparkling wine that I have tried on this latest binge. In the mouth, it's round and berry-like with plenty of body. I like this very much.

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