Monday, October 6, 2014

French sparkling-wine map

Sparkling wine production in France can be placed into four broad categories:
  1. Champagne -- King of the hill. Reserved for sparkling wines produced within the delimited area of the Champagne wine region.
  2. Crémant -- sparkling wine made using the méthode traditionelle. Wines in this category include Crémant de Loire, Crémant d'Alsace,  Crémant de Bourgogne, Crémant de Bordeaux, Crémant de Die, and the newly minted Crémant de Savoie. These wines have to adhere to the following restrictions:
    1. Harvested by hand within set production quotas
    2. Whole-bunch pressed
    3. Sulfur dioxide use limited
    4. > 9 months on lees
    5. About half the carbon of Champagne
    6. Submitted to a QC tasting panel for approval
  3. Méthode Ancestrale -- wines are generally bottled with residual sugar. Effervescence gained via refermentation (or continued fermentation) in the bottle.
  4. All others -- sparkling wines made in any of the available sparkling wine production methods to the exclusion of the Méthode Ancestrale.
These four sparkling wine types are mapped to their respective regions in the figure below.

Some observations:
  • There are a total of 25 sparkling wine appellations in France with one designated as Champagne, eight as Crémants, four as Méthode Ancestrale, and 12 not-otherwise-attributable.
  • Jura and Savoie (seven) and The Loire Valley (five) are the French wine regions with the most sparkling wine AOCs.
  • A total of 26 separate varieties are utilized in the production of sparkling wine in France.
  • Chardonnay (13 instances), Pinot Noir (10 instances), and Chenin Blanc (7 instances) are the varieties most frequently encountered in French sparkling wines.

©Wine -- Mise en abyme

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