The iconic structure of Château Moncontour was built by Charles VII in the 15th century and lies in the heart of Vouvray, high on a ridge above the Loire. The winery, dug into the hillside beneath, was established in the 4th century and is one of the oldest in the Loire Valley. Christian Feray, a surgeon, bought the Château in 1994, having coveted it since he was a child, and has moved Moncontour to the forefront of the Vouvray renaissance. Winemaker Jérôme Loisy makes thoroughly modern wines – fresh, racy and full of ripe orchard fruit – across his dry and sparkling range.
Château Moncontour has 130 hectares of vineyards. Its dry Vouvray comes from a unique parcel in the village of Rochecorbon, near to Vouvray. The vines are aged from 10 to 45 years old. Solis are chalky and clay like.
The Vouvray Brut NV is made using the Traditional Method. The grapes are pressed slowly and gently, and the must is carefully selected during the pressing phase, choosing only the free run and first press juice. Fermentation takes place in temperature controlled tanks at 17-18°C over a period of three weeks. The wine is carefully blended and bottled, then matured for an average of 12 months on the lees after the second fermentation in bottle.
100% Chenin Blanc.
Residual sugar = 11g/litre (and thus at the off-dry end of the Brut range).
Pale yellow with green hints. A fresh nose, with white flowers, brioche and apple aromas. Harmonious palate with a nice acidity and finesse.
ABV = 12.0%.
Elegant toasted aromas opening up with ripe peach and pineapple notes. Fine and persistent bubbles. Smooth and lively with long finish with aromas of dried fruits and white flowers.
Alliance Loire is a group of winegrowers who decided in 2002 to pool their resources in order to offer a complete range of authentic, well-balanced wines from Muscadet to Vouvray along the Loire River. The winegrowers are driven by the strong but simple values of the modern cooperative - solidarity, respect and creativity - values enhanced by a real team spirit, which enriches each stage of the wine production process. Alliance Loire groups together 8 cooperative cellars, representing all the diversity of the terroirs and appellations of the Loire Valley. Loire wines in general are known as reasonably priced refreshing wine. De Chanceny is their sub-emblem for know-how in producing fine, sparkling Loire wines according to the méthode traditionnelle, originally established in 1953.
The grapes for the De Chancenys cuvées come from selected clay-limestone, tufa chalk, and shale terroirs to the south of the Saumur area. Careful ageing in tufa chalk cellars enhances its freshness and finesse.
Hand picking, gentle pressing, and cool fermentation (18°C) ensure that all the aromas are preserved. Second fermentation occyrs in bottle of a selection of the best wines, according to the méthode traditionnelle. The bottles are stored horizontally on wooden laths in our tufa cellars for a minimum of 18 months to develop a particularly fine bead/mousse, body and extra flavour/aroma complexity.
Chenin Blanc 65%, Chardonnay 20%, Cabernet Franc 15%.
Pale yellow color. Fine, persistent bead. Fine, lively, complex bouquet, combining the freshness of Chenin Blanc and the floral overtones of Chardonnay with Cabernet Franc fruit. Lively initial impression on the palate, with a rounded structure, and an elegant follow-through. Lovely, long aftertaste, with hints of fresh fruit (pears, peaches).
The nose opens up with notes of crystallized lemon, yellow peach, mint and pastry cream. Creamy bubbles, ample and smooth on the palate. Long aftertaste with aromas of dried fruits.
Stéphane Aladame is one of the stars of the younger generation of French producers. Whereas many young winemakers inherit their estate, Stéphane began from scratch in 1992, at the age of 18. He completed his studies in Beaune before renting vineyards in Montagny, in the Côte Chalonnaise. The wines of Montagny can easily rival those from the more famous Côte de Beaune, which lies immediately to the north, and often at considerably better prices. Stéphane is also a bit of an anomaly in Montagny, as the village is dominated by cooperatives (at around 75%), with only 18 independent producers. Stéphane now cultivates eight hectares, with seven hectares situated in Montagny Premier Cru.
Grapes for this Crémant de Bourgogne were grown in the Aladame family's Montagny vineyards, in the far south of the Côte Chalonnaise. This is a Blanc de Blancs sparkling wine, made only from white grapes, from the classic Burgundy grape, Chardonnay.
The grapes are picked by hand in open boxes and gently pressed immediately after. The first fermentation is carried out in temperature controlled, stainless steel tanks. The wine is then bottled and stored on shelves for 9 months. The length of time before release varies depending on the vintage.
100% Chardonnay (it's a Blanc de Blancs!)
Aromas of white fruits with notes of acacia. On the palate, the Cremant is supple, attractive and dominated by peach flavours. It is fresh and crisp with good minerality and a long finish.
ABV = 12.5%.
Awarded 90 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their August 2018 edition expert review of French Cremant(s) (see blue link below).
The Dopff family has been winegrowers since 1574 and still manage the 70 hectare estate near the charming medieval town of Riquewihr. The vineyards are more than 300 metres above sea level, nestled in the foothills of the lower Vosges. As a family of pioneers, they were responsible for the use of the stemmed wine bottles, which today distinguish Alsace wines from other regions. In 1900, tenth generation Julien Dopff was so impressed by the Champagne tastings held in Paris' World Exhibition, he learnt the art of winemaking in Champagne for two years before returning to Alsace. After WW II Julien Dopff strongly believed that a Crémant made from local grape varieties and reflecting the terroir of Alsace should be produced and protected. In 1976, together with five other producers, he finally obtained official recognition for Crémant d'Alsace as an AOC.
Made from 50% Auxerrois, which is a sibling grape variety of Chardonnay, mainly grown in Alsace. It is an earlier ripener, added to the blend for its low acidity and body. The grapes are mainly sourced from vineyards in the Colmar area. Grown in a light sandy soil, with good drainage, the vines are trained according to the Guyot method. Green harvesting takes place along with meticulous canopy management to ensure good light penetration and air flow. Rest of blend not specified by Dopff.
The grapes are gently crushed and pressing is limited to 100 litres of must per 150kg of grapes. The first fermentation is carried out in stainless steel and glass tanks, while the second fermentation takes place in the bottle, using the traditional Champagne method. The wine is aged for 18 months in bottle on its lees with automatic riddlings using gyropallets. This Crémant D'Alsace is mostly based on a single vintage, currently being 2012 crop.
Dry and elegant Crémant, showing hints of quince and white flowers, fine bubbles with good length and weight. Ideal as an apéritif or excellent white fish, sushi, oysters or fresh fruit.
This wine is suitable for vegetarians and vegans.
ABV = 12.0%.
Jean-Charles Boisset was born into a winemaking family in Burgundy. Today, he is the proprietor, along with his sister, Nathalie, and parents Jean-Claude and Claudine Boisset, of a collection of more than twenty great producers from the world's pre-eminent wine producing regions. Created by Jean-Charles, the innovative JCB Collection brings together two worlds of winemaking - Old and New. Each wine in the collection is a limited edition, and is "named" with a number. These numbers relate to a wine style that Jean-Charles strives to achieve vintage to vintage, while also symbolizing important ideas, passions and moments in his life and wine career. 'N° 21' because 21 is the French government's 'department' number for the Côte d'Or. Jean-Charles was born in 1969, the year that mankind went to the moon. And 69 represents unlimited expression, freedom, and refinement.
The `JCB No. 21` Crémant de Bourgogne is an unusual blend of grapes, which are all sourced from parcels located across Burgundy. The vines grow on south-east facing slopes and are planted on clay and limestone soils. The Pinot Noir and Aligoté come from vineyards situated throughout the Côte d'Or. The Chardonnay and Gamay are sourced from the Mâconnais. All harvesting is done by hand.
This wine was made according to the traditional method, with the second fermentation taking place in bottle. All four grape varieties were vinified separately in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks. Blending took place in April following the harvest with 20% reserve wine added to the final blend. The wine was bottled in May for the second fermentation, after which it aged on lees for a minimum of 12 months to add depth and complexity. Following disgorgement a light dosage of 10g/l was added before release.
40% Pinot Noir , 35% Chardonnay, 20% Gamay, 5% Aligoté.
Pale and vibrant in colour, the JCB No. 21 Crémant boasts aromas of citrus fruits, almonds and white flowers on the nose. The palate has refreshing and lifted acidity, coupled with a lovely, rich texture from the lees ageing.
ABV = 12.0%.
Louis Bouillot was founded in Nuits-Saint-Georges in 1877 by Jean Bouillot. With over 130 years of experience, Bouillot is one of the oldest producers of Crémant de Bourgogne, as well as being the largest. Today, the house is owned by the Boisset family, but expertly guided by Crémant specialist winemaker Olivier Medigue. Perle d'Aurore is a Crémant Rosé, made from Pinot Noir, while Perle Noire is a sparkling, Brut style made from Pinot Noir and Gamay and aged on its lees for 15 months.
The Pinot Noir fruit for the Perle d'Aurore is sourced entirely from Burgundian vineyards in the Côte d'Or and Côte Chalonnaise. The Gamay is from the Maconnais.
The Perle d'Aurore is a sparkling rosé produced from a majority of red grapes (90%). It is made by the 'méthode traditionnelle', the same as in Champagne. The grapes were lightly pressed after a short maceration on the skins. The individual parcels of wine were blended, then the 'liqueur de tirage' of sugar and yeast was added, before the wine was bottled ready for the second fermentation. The bottles were aged for over 24 months at a constant temperature of 12°C, rather than the six months legally required before disgorgement. The bottles were then topped up with a liqueur de dosage before release.
70% Pinot Noir, 20% Gamay,10% Chardonnay.
Lovely rose pink in colour, with fine bubbles and a light mousse. Perfumes of blackcurrant and strawberry follow through to a fine, ripe fruit on the palate, balanced by a freshness and clean finish with a lingering hint of strawberries.
ABV = 12.0%.
Gilles Gaudron's know-how is the result of family techniques passed down by three generations of wine-makers settled in Vernou sur Brenne. For Gilles, tradition is not enough: he is always trying to improve the quality of his wines and make them better products. As a result, his Vouvray wines are highly regarded by both experts and consumers.
The grapes are grown on densely-planted (6600/ha) 25 to 35 year old short-pruned bushvines. These are situated on chalky clay with silica (silex) on gently south-east-facing slopes generally around the village of Vernou at around 70m above sea level.
The wine undergoes preparation and first fermentation and racking as for Gaudron's still Chenins. It passes top second (in-bottle/trad method) second fermentation, spending 18 months en tirage/on the lees, in the domaine's old cellars at 12 deg C, before disgorgement.
100% Chenin Blanc.
Residual sugar = 12g/litre.
Fine, persistent mousse. Notes of honey and fresh hay very typical of Chenin. Beautiful vein of acidity. Mineral. Complex with a hint of biscuity character.
ABV = 12.5%.
Veuve Ambal has 230 hectares of vineyards in Burgundy and is one of the most prestigious wineries in the region. All of the company's domaines are managed using sustainable methods. The use of specific cultivation techniques aims to reduce the use of treatments by optimising their position and efficiency. This approach is an indication of Veuve Ambal's desire to reduce its impact on nature. These environmental concerns are at the core of the company's ethos, from the vineyards right up to the vinification of the wines.
The domaines are located in 6 different terroirs. This diversity brings richness and aromatic complexity to the wines produced. This Crémant de Bourgogne draws on the unique characteristics of each Burgundian terroir, just as an artist uses his palette of colours in order to magnify the beauty of his painting.
See blue link below for the fiche technique/technical and tasting note from the winemakers at Veuve Ambal.
40% Pinot Noir, 30% Chardonnay, 10% Gamay, 10% Aligoté.
Predominantly a blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, this Burgundy Crémant offers remarkable complexity, doubly so at the price. It is full, well-structured and balanced on the palate. Aromas of red and citrus fruits dominate, but the nose has hints of flowers and butter too.
ABV = 12.0%.
The Lorentz family has been making wine since 1836 in the heart of the Alsace, which lies in the northeast corner of France, along the Rhine River. Charles Lorentz Sr., grandfather of the current president of Gustave Lorentz, developed his vineyards on the hills of Altenberg de Bergheim, in the foothills of the Vosges Mountains, which has grown to 85 acres in this extraordinary terroir, with four acres planted on the hills of the Grand Cru Kanzlerberg and 30 acres in the Grand Cru Altenberg de Bergheim.
The current management, led by Georges Lorentz, is the sixth generation of the family firm, headquartered in the medieval village of Bergheim, in the Haut-Rhin. As far back as anyone can recall, the grapes harvested from this extraordinary terroir have been vinified separately. Thus, Riesling, Pinot-Gris, Gewurztraminer and other Muscat varieties from the Altenberg de Bergheim vineyards unerringly express their unique qualities in these wines year-to-year. The family is very proud that the wines are “gastronomic,” meaning fresh, clean, well-balanced and mostly dry – great matches for many of the cuisines from the more than 55 countries where the wines are sold. As they have down through the generations, the Lorentz family hues to tradition while also employing state-of-the-art vinification techniques and equipment. Gustave Lorentz was among the first producers in the Alsace to use stelvin (screw-cap) closures. In 2012, the Gustave Lorentz vineyards became certified organic by Ecocert.
For this Cremant d'Alsace, the grapes are carefully selected and vinified according to the methode Champenoise/traditional method. After traditional fermentation to vin de base in tanks, a second fermentation (prise de mousse) takes place in the cool, winery cellars for 3-4 years. Ageng is done sur lie with daily bottle rotation, going from a horizontal to vertical position, in order for the yeast deposit to accumulate in the neck of the bottle. At the time of degorgement, the neck is frozen and, enclosed in ice, the sediment is ejected by natural pressure, after which the bottle is corked and wired.
Residual sugar = 7-8 g/litre.
The balance and freshness of Cremant d’Alsace come from the subtle match of the three grape varieties (of which, equal thirds of each): Chardonnay for its vivacity & fruit, Pinot Blanc for its refined elegance and Pinot Noir for its persistence and subtle dark fruit. Clean and zesty, there's a lemon rind quality to the nose along with whiffs of red fruit. The palate is refreshing, balanced and has a big personality.
ABV = 12.3%.