We love bubbles. They bring a fresh touch and give life to our glasses. But what are the differences between champagne, crémant and other sparkling wines? Jean-Marc Hubertus, product manager for wines and champagne at Cactus, explains the characteristics of each bottle.
Champagne, like crémants, is made according to a traditional method, formerly called méthode champenoise. For champagne, three grape varieties dominate: pinot noir, pinot meunier and chardonnay. Other grape varieties are also authorised, but they represent less than 0.3% of the vineyards: pinot blanc, pinot gris, petit meunier and arbane.
To obtain crémant, the winegrower can use all the grape varieties authorised on his territory. In Luxembourg, one finds mainly blends of pinot blanc, chardonnay, pinot noir, pinot gris, auxerrois or even riesling. There are important similarities between champagnes and crémants. I have often had the opportunity to taste crémants of a higher quality than some champagnes… The soil or the length of production have a major influence on the taste of the wine. A grape variety such as Chardonnay will not give the same gustatory result if it is produced in Champagne, in Luxembourg or in Alsace.
The Spanish cavas are also made according to a traditional method and undergo a second fermentation in the bottle. However, the grape varieties used are completely different and specific to Spain. If you want to enjoy a sparkling wine with a main course or tapas, it is better to serve a champagne, crémant or cava. This is because the traditional method provides more power, acidity and complexity than the closed tank method.
In the case of Prosecco, the closed tank method is used.
It is a much faster method than the traditional one, which requires less handling, and therefore the production costs are lower for Prosecco, which explains its very advantageous quality-price ratio. An additional indigenous grape variety is used for Prosecco: glera. Prosecco can be a good option, as you can get 2 to 3 bottles for the price of a champagne. It is the perfect base for cocktails, like the Aperol spritz.