Have yourself a very merry Christmas with a sparkling showstopper to set the tone. There are a myriad of sparkling wines to choose from, so . . . where do you start? We recommend you commence celebrations with a Cremant. Not just any Cremant mind you, a real dazzler. One of our best discoveries has been de Chanceny Cremant de Loire Brut. You could easily mistake de Chanceny for an elegant Champagne; in fact, it’s made exactly the same way. It smacks of quality, is delicious to the last sip and is the perfect aperitif.
- Priced at £11.99 this is a stunning sparkling wine from the talented vigneron Eric Laurent who is the Cellar Master of the Cave des Vignerons de Saumur; famed for its catacombs deep underground in Saint Cyr. It’s excellent and would go down a treat at Christmas.
An ancient centre of Angevine viticulture, Saumur is renowned for its sparkling wines and Champagne House Taittinger has a base here. The region has all the same advantages for sparkling winemaking as Champagne: the same northern cool, climate and the same chalk and limestone soil.
- The historic town of Saumur is part of the Loire Valley and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It lies between the Loire and Thouet rivers and the skyline is dominated by its huge medieval castle that towers over the town.
There are miles of caves in and around Saumur and along the cliffs on the river front you will see the facades of houses, carved out of the soft limestone, fronting underground dwellings, museums and workshops . . . and wine cellars. The underground cellars have a constant temperature and humidity level making them ideal for the aging of sparkling wines. Eric uses the same method as Champagne producers (the Méthode Champenoise) to make his de Chanceny Cremant, which means that the second fermentation occurs in the bottle. The wine then spends 18 months aging before disgorging to develop an incomparably fine bead. The result is a very fine Cremant indeed, and one that you would be hard pressed to differentiate from Champagne.
- De Chanceny matches with a whole range of foods from party nibbles to a four course dinner. It’s refreshing effervescence is lovely with rich creamy dishes, seafood, poultry, feathered game or pates and its refreshing citrus flavours pair well with fruity desserts and sorbets. It’s also great with hot and spicy appetizers, pastries and finger food.
A fine mousse of bubbles and persistent delicate bead. Nervy, fresh and complex with a luscious creamy mid palate. Flavours of pear, peach and lemon with notes of jasmine, leafy mint and lime blossom. Undertones of brioche and almonds with a lovely chalky minerality. Long lingering quince scented finish. Cellaring potential 5 years.
65% Chenin Blanc, 20% Chardonnay, 15% Cabernet Franc. 12% abv. 75cl.