The AOP Limoux

Crémant ready to pop

13 April, 2023

Crémant shares many similarities with French cousin champagne – but price isn’t one of them. Shay Waterworth reports on how the wine is growing.

Sparkling wine is becoming more popular than ever. According to Allied Market Research, the sector, in all formats, was valued at $33.9bn in 2019, and is anticipated to reach $51.7bn by 2027, growing at a CAGR of 7.3% during the forecast period. Much of the attention is on the continuous volume growth of prosecco, increasing cost of champagne and the growing reputation of cava. But there’s another French fizz which gets less attention than the big three.

Given that it’s a sparkling wine based in France, crémant often gets compared to champagne, and in some ways they’re very similar, such as undergoing a second fermentation in the bottle. However, when it comes to price points they couldn’t be further apart. The low market value of this French sparkler is probably one of reasons for it gaining a cult following among the hipster movement which, if mezcal and natural wines are anything to go by, is a good thing for sales. However, while having similar qualities to champagne at a fraction of the price is a great selling point, crémant isn’t without its issues.

There are eight appellations of crémant across France (plus one in Luxembourg), which can be a difficult concept for consumers to understand, particularly those entering the market. It’s taken years for people to get an understanding of prosecco’s two main regions – DOC and DOCG – and cava has now introduced its own similar structure. But managing eight different regions, each with its own regulations, is literally four times more difficult. Of the eight French styles, Crémant de Bourgogne, Crémant d’Alsace, Crémant de Limoux and Crémant de Loire are widely regarded as the most influential appellations, while the wine is also produced in Bourdeaux, Die, Savoie and Jura.

During Prowein this year, Drinks International was able to catch up with the major players from each of the four prominent regions and, starting with the smallest and most southerly of the quartet, we have Crémant de Limoux. Here the wines come in white and rosé styles and are always blended from four varieties, with a majority share of Chardonnay, complemented by Chenin Blanc, Mauzac and Pinot Noir.

Crémant de Limoux

Marlène Tisseire, director of the appellation, believes that, for Crémant de Limoux, climate change is one of the major issues for its future given the lack of rainfall in the region and high temperatures near the south coast of France. According to Tisseire, work is now being done to better protect the fruit and, with just four varieties to work with, these need to be durable in hotter temperatures.

Tisseire says: “We have younger consumers, which is definitely good, and they’re being attracted not just by the favourable price point but the growing reputation of crémant. In value we’re in the middle compared to other appellations and I’d say in volume too.”

Crémant de Loire

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