From: Cramant, Champagne, France
Taste: Composed of 100% Chardonnay from all grand cru vineyard plots, this release is normally a blend of 2 vintages. It has floral and citrus aromas, a creamy texture with a fleeting note of apricot, and a long, fine, and mineral finish. Upon a second glance, you’ll pick up more distinct aromas of wildflower honey, crisp apples, lightly toasted almonds, and fresh, perfectly ripened citrus. These same aromas evolve into flavors on the palate. Ultimately, it’s a joyfully romantic champagne, and will brighten a gloomy day or elevate a celebratory occasion.
Pairing: Oysters and caviar are classic partners with Blanc de Blanc as they match the intensity and freshness of the wine. Also look to fried foods, including Fish 'n' Chips and calamari, or smoked fish like salmon gravlax. Some recommend lobster, but I feel it's too rich for this style of champagne. I prefer dungeness crab (or ,check out the recipe below for a delicious soft-shell crab pairing!) , sushi, and vegetable tempura alongside a wine like this. I suppose you could boil this all down to “fresh or fried” when thinking of what to enjoy with this champagne; this bottle is a friend to leafy greens and your favorite produce too!
Soft-Shell Crab With Preserved Lemon and Almonds
By David Tanis
About. The village Cramant is located south southeast of Épernay, as one of the villages on the “genuine” Côte des Blancs slope. The village itself is located in the middle of the slope, along the D10 road that runs from Épernay to several other Côte de Blancs villages.
The Cramant commune covers 537 hectares and has 889 inhabitants (as of 2012), referred to as Cramantais and Cramantaises.
Cramant is usually considered to give somewhat “creamier” Champagnes than the other Côte des Blancs villages, and therefore not as “hard” as those of Avize (where there is a higher proportion of pure east-facing slopes), but with more concentration than those from Cuis (where there is a higher proportion of north-facing slopes) and more dominating minerality than those in Chouilly. It can be noted that there is some variation of slope (steepness) and direction in the vineyards of Chouilly, so some sites are likely to deviate from the “standard style”. There are also those that describe the villages differently than the version above, and another version describes the Cramant-style as powerful and the Avize-style as characterised by finesse.
Crémant de Cramant
In former times, there existed a designation called Crémant de Cramant for low pressure Champagnes from Cramant. A classical Crémant was supposed to hold 3,6 atm overpressure, in comparison to up to 6 atm for a fully sparkling Champagne. After Crémant in the 1980s came to be a designation for sparkling wines produced using the “Champagne method” in other wine regions, including Alsace, Burgundy, and Loire (after they no longer could use the designation “méthode champenois”), Crémant was removed from Champagne usage in the early 1990s. The wine style itself still exists, though rarely seen here in Seattle. I can only surmise that it’s probably because of market demands and cost.
The Champagne region, like that of Burgundy, has many producers with double-barreled names. These names usually occur when the offspring of one producer marries another, creating a new identity for certain parcels of vines passed on by the parents. Voirin-Jumel, a récoltant manipulant located in the grand cru village Cramant, is one example of this.
Jean Voirin, who owned some vines and sold all his grapes in bulk, decided to begin bottling his own champagne at the end of World War II. The Jumel family started producing champagne around the same time—René Jumel had a transport business and his wife's family had some vines that they cultivated. As the champagne market grew, René began selling some of his trucks and buying vineyards around the Côte des Blancs, which his wife, Paulette Richomme, worked and oversaw. Between 1950 and 1970, all the grapes were sold in bulk.
In the early 1970’s, Francoise Jumel (daughter of Paulette and René) began bottling champagne with her husband Gilles Voirin under the name Voirin-Jumel. That year they sold nearly 10,000 bottles.
In the 1990s, Francoise's children, Patrick and Alice, along with Patrick's wife Valerie, began running the domaine. Today it is a true family affair, and they own 11 hectares of vines in 11 different villages (broken down to approximately 10% Cramant, 20% Chouilly, 10% Avize, 5% Oiry, 10% Oger, 10% Mareuil-sur-Ay, 10% Vertus, 15% Verneuil and the remaining 10% in 3 other villages).
At harvest, each lot of grapes is vinified separately and each tank goes through malolactic fermentation. In January, the wines are stabilized. Shortly thereafter, the vins clairs (still wines) are tasted and it is determined which lots will be used for each specific release. All the champagnes are given very low dosages, and are aged for 3-4 years minimum, thus ensuring fresh, lower-acidity champagnes that really highlight their varied terroirs. All their production is bottled and sold at the domaine.
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