Sipping French Bubbles, But It’s Not Champagne

Today we are sipping French bubbles that are not champagne — one is a crémant and the other a non-alcoholic sparkling cider made in Normandy. We have tasted Crémant de Bourgogne before, but sparkling apple cider from Normandy is new to us. We received both as tasting samples.

Cider has been made in France, primarily in Normandy and Brittany, since the 6th or 7th century according to Interprofession des Appellations de Cidricoles (IDAC). Their website provides an interesting telling of the highs and lows of cider production ever the centuries.

The French do love their bubbles. In addition to champagne, the best-known bubbles on earth, sparkling wine is made in French appellations around the country using the same method as in Champagne. These wines are called Crémant followed by the region’s name and are made using grape varieties common to each region.

Photo of wine bottle label Duché de Longueville French Sparkling Cider
Duché de Longueville French Sparkling Cider

Duché de Longueville French Sparkling Cider, Normandie, France golden color with large, generous bubbles that remain foamy in the glass. Generous aromas of fresh, crisp red apples, dried apples and apple sauce are followed by concentrated flavors of fresh and dried apples. Hints of baking spice support the apple flavors. The bubbles are soft and the finish is tart-sweet and long. 0% abv. Online price: $9 to $12

The aromas and flavors are very vibrant and fresh — reminiscent of springtime. The aromas also reminded me that it has been too long since I’ve made applesauce.

The back label has quite a bit of information — both Nutritional Facts (2 servings per 750ml bottle, 191 calories, 0.4 g total fat, 44.3% total carbohydrate 1.1g protein per serving) and Ingredients: Apple Juice, Carbonation.

I had trouble finding much background information about Duché de Longueville. The most detailed information I could find was on Importer/Distributor Skurnik Wines’ website: 

Duche de Longueville was originally founded as a distillery in 1925, and switched to cider production in 1950. It is the only commercial operation in France specialising in single-varietal, naturally-fermented ciders. These ‘artisanal’ ciders, the traditional drink of Normandy, had become virtually extinct this century before the Duché de Longueville relaunched the style.”

Retailer, Artisan Wine & Spirits, offers these details:

The Normandy region of France is home to one of America’s best-loved international ciders. Duché de Longueville comes from a 50-year-old orchard near Dieppe, France where 15 carefully chosen apple varieties are used to produce this exquisite cider.”

Photo of wine bottle label Albert Bichot Brut Réserve NV, Crémant de Bourgogne
Albert Bichot Brut Réserve NV, Crémant de Bourgogne

Albert Bichot Brut Réserve NV, Crémant de Bourgogne light yellow with generous small bubbles. Aromas include citrus zest and gravelly minerality. The bubbles are creamy and mouth filling. Flavors echo the aromas with citrus and gravelly minerality with toasty notes in the background. The finish is clean and crisp with juicy acidity. 12.5% abv. Online price: $19.99 to $24.99

This Crémant is easy sipping on its own and makes me crave something creamy to eat with it.

Chardonnay (60%) and Pinot Noir (40%) are sourced from Châtillonnais, Côte Chalonnaise and Mâconnais. The base wine, which includes 15% reserve wines, aged in stainless steel (90%) and in barrels for 6 months. The second fermentation took place in the bottle and wine aged in the bottle for 8 to 12 months. Dosage: 7 g/l.

Crémant is always a delicious substitute for champagne and so much more affordable. And it’s fun to explore the various regions of France through their sparkling wines. We also appreciate the generally modest alcohol and the wines are perfect to pair with appetizers and so many meals.

Albert Bichot remains a family-run operation since being established in 1831 by Bernard Bichot as a wine trading business. The winery is based in Beaune, but the company owns six estates in Bourgogne. Grapes are also sourced from grower partners.

With the days getting longer, the weather getting warmer and spring flowers in bloom, I cant think of a better way to celebrate the optimism of a new season than with a glass of bubbly. How about you?

Thanks to IT Public Relations for organizing our tasting.


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