Celebrate with Bubbles
Bubbles are typically what we celebrate with at New Year’s. Some people celebrate with them for birthdays, anniversaries, and other special occasions. Some other people celebrate days that end with the letter “Y” with bubbles. I probably fall somewhere in the middle of all that. If I am starting an evening, or outing, with someone that enjoys bubbles, what better way to start? There is something about the pop of the cork that shouts, “Let the fun begin!” If you want to really impress someone, you can saber a bottle, but be careful if you do.
I have some rules for bubbles. First, always have a bottle chilled in your fridge. You never know when you’ll have something to celebrate. You may run into an old friend, celebrate a promotion, job offer, or great day in the market. You might be sitting there enjoying a sunset with your significant other and the mood hits to have some champagne and take it to the next level. Inspiration is everywhere. There is a footnote to this rule: have a wine bar that has a good selection of sparkling as well.
Secondly, I keep different types of sparkling around for different purposes. Higher end champagnes are reserved for VERY special occasions, or when I am trying to impress a fellow wine lover. Champagnes can be pricey as their entry level retail price is still around $30 and up. I don’t typically keep the Armand de Brignac, the “King of Champagnes”, in the fridge. For an occasion that would call for a bottle that costs $325, it’s usually planned and less spur of the moment. As a result,So when it comes to everyday celebrations, the more affordable choice, and at about half the cost of true Champagne, is a Cremant.
Cremants are some of my favorite sparkling wines. They are made in the same way that Champagne is made, but from areas outside of Champagne. Some of theMost cremants best come from BurgundyAlsace, a region that was German, then French, then German, then French. They grow many German varietals as a result with French influence. Sparklings from Alsace and are called “Cremant d’e BourgogneAlsace”. Make no mistake though, the French love their bubbles, so every wine region makes a Cremant. Burgundy, Limoux, Loire, Bordeaux, Jura, Die, Savoie, and the only area outside of France that can legally call their sparkling “cremant”, Luxembourg, all produce exceptionally high quality to price ratio Cremants.
It can sound confusing and overwhelming, and every region has their own styles. They also use different grapes, as the French grow their grapes based off the terroir of the region. They don’t try to force a grape to grow where it doesn’t yield grapes that produce great wine. While Champagne uses the same three grapes (Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier), Cremants have much more versatility and diversity in the grapes used. For instance, the only region that produces a Cremant with Sauvignon Blanc as its base is Bordeaux. This being said, explore! Wine is a journey and an adventure. It can take you to new places and help expand your palate.
I encourage everyone to celebrate with Cremants from every region. Some regions are going to be much more difficult to find, and to a self-professed wine geek like myself, that’s half of the fun! It almost becomes a scavenger hunt. Reading wine lists and saying to yourself, “A Cremeant du Jura! I’ve never seen one in the states!” See which ones you like more than others. One thing is for certain, they are bubbles, and who doesn’t like bubbles? As a matter of fact, bubbles are probably the most food friendly wine that there is: Great with seafood, sushi, and dishes with creamy sauce; rich foods, light foods and everything in between; clean food and those sinful fried foods.
This year when you go the “Celebration of Bubbles”, at the “Seeing Red” wine event on November 11th, don’t pass up the Cremants. When you find one that makes you swoon, stop by 45 Central wine bar and order it anytime you want to start the night with a celebration, or just to treat yourself to a glass and some sushi. No need to travel any further than the heart of Seaside to enjoy these amazing sparklings. Cheers!