In France, not all sparkling wine is champagne wine. The term champagne is a specially designated term for wines made only in the Champagne region with certain grapes and by certain standards. Outside of the Champagne region, sparkling wines made in the traditional method are referred to as “cremant,” and there are seven designated regions allowed to produce cremant wines in France.
Just like champagne, cremant wines have to be hand-harvested, and there are strict restrictions on the amount of grapes grown on a given space in order to ensure quality. One of these cremant regions is the famous area of Bordeaux. Better known for big, powerful red wines, Cremant de Bordeaux wines can provide a high-quality and affordable alternative to more expensive sparkling wines.
Jaillance is one of the easier labels to find in America for Cremant de Bordeaux, and their Cuvee de l’Abbaye, a 100 percent semillon sparkling wine, retails around $14. For the price, it’s one of the better sparkling wines that you can find on the market, and at 12 percent ABV, this wine doesn’t pack a huge alcoholic punch, making it perfect for cocktail parties and midweek entertaining.
In the glass, Jaillance l’Abbaye is a light gold color with several streams of small, pinprick-size bubbles (large production sparkling wines will have large bubbles, resulting in a much harsher flavor and mouthfeel.) There is a classic bread-like note to the bouquet, similar to champagne, but also lemon zest and roasted almonds. On the palate, lemon zest, marzipan, green apple, and grapefruit notes abound with a nice minerality and refreshing acidity.
Try Jaillance l’Abbaye Cremant de Bordeaux with appetizers including caviar and blini, fruit-based desserts, and delicate seafood dishes. By itself, it’s an enjoyable sparkler with an affordable price tag, and it’s a perfect choice for holiday celebrations. Look for Jaillance l’Abbaye Cremant de Bordeaux at better wine merchants and grocers. You’ll be glad to discover that the world of French sparkling wines is much bigger than just champagne, and Jaillance l’Abbaye is a great introduction to Cremant wines.
Disclosure: I received a sample of this product from Jaillance for review. No other compensation from Jaillance was received.