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Jul 19, 2009 06:06 PM


That's the generic French term for bubbly. When it goes flat does it become ex-crémant?

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    1. Actually, it isn't a generic term. It is the process by which those particular wines are made bubbly. Not Methode Champenoise.

      15 Replies
      1. re: ChefJune

        You're right that it's not the generic for bubbly; that'd be mousseux. However, it's also not a process. These days the term is used for high-quality sparkling wines made with the champagne (aka traditional) method in certain non-Champagne appellations: Crémant de Bourgogne, Crémant du Jura, etc. The permitted grape varieties and other rules differ from appellation to appellation, but the basic winemaking method doesn't. Perhaps you're confusing it with the Charmat (aka cuve close or tank) method?

        1. re: carswell

          The term can also refer to a sparkling with with lower PSI than most method champenoise wines.

          1. re: Brad Ballinger

            I believe that meaning has been generally if not officially superseded by the new meaning. Has any Champagne producer made a crémant since, say, the 1980s?

            1. re: carswell

              Launois makes a NV cremant labeled "Quartz." Used to be labeled "Sable," but I think there was some problem with that name.

              1. re: Brad Ballinger

                Yeahbut they don't actually dub it a crémant, do they? Can't seem to find the word on pics of the label. Several wine shop blurbs refer to it as "crémant style," though their listings refer to it only as a blanc de blancs.

                Interestingly, the Quartz cuvée isn't mentioned on Launois's website. The Sable is, though; looks like it's the name of their 1997 vintage cuvée.

                1. re: carswell

                  Right, the word Cremant may not appear on the label. I have three bottles of Quartz in my cellar. Purchased within the last three months. I'm positive Quartz replaced Sable. Also, the bottle shape is retro for the Quartz--big fat bottom portion, skinny skinny neck.

                  If you go to the K&L web site (www.klwines.com), it might still be in their inventory, and you'll find a picture.

              2. re: carswell

                Mumm makes a Crement style. Bottled at about 4 atmospheres, IIRC, in comparison to Champagne's normal 6 or 7. I love it. Haven't had it for about
                four years. The magnum was one of the most unusually shaped wine bottles
                I've ever seen -- it looked like a caveman's club.

                E-A...I am confused. I thought Cramant was a village in Champagne, and cremant a style of Champagne.

                Cremant now refers to bubbly made in areas outside Champagne. But does that bubbly have less pressure as well?

                1. re: maria lorraine

                  According to my caviste, Crémant (we were talking about Crémant de Bourgogne, so this may not apply to all Crémants, but I think it does) needs to be made with the méthode traditionelle, and must have a pressure of 5-6 bars, just like Champagne.

                  1. re: maria lorraine

                    tmso's right. Most if not all Crémant de Bourgogne, Crémant du Jura, Crémant d'Alsace, etc. is 5-6 atmospheres.

                    My point above wasn't that the Champenois have stopped making the slightly less fizzy (2-3 atmopheres) style of Champagne but that, as far as I know, they've stopped referring to it as Crémant.

                    There is a Cramant just south of Épernay but, according to the Robert, *crémant* derives from the verb *crémer*, to cream or become creamy, as in a *mousse qui crème*.

                    1. re: maria lorraine

                      Cramant is a village in Champagne and it is not unusual for people to see that on a label and think it means "Cremant"...

                    2. re: carswell

                      Mumm used to make untill recently a wine labelled as Crémant de Cramant where Crémant indicated it had a lower pressure than usual Champagnes and Cramant is the village in Champagne where the grapes were grown. The wine is now labelled Mumm de Cramant.

                      The Champagne region gave up the usage of the word Crémant in a quid pro quo with other regions giving up the usage of the words 'methode champenoise') on their labels.

                      Crémant now indicates (in the EU) a wine made outside the Champagne region by the traditional method of secondary fermentation in the same bottle the wine is sold in.

                      I don't know the year when Champagne makes stopped using the term Crémant but I bought a Mumm Crémant de Cramant at the winery about 8 years ago.

                      1. re: Gussie Finknottle

                        Correct. There are actually 7 appellations (Alsace, Bordeaux, Bourgogne, Die, Jura, Limoux and Loire). They must comply with both French Crement regulations (eg hand harvest, bottle fermentation, whole bunch pressing) and AOC regulations concerning yield, transportation from vineyard to winery, permitted grapes etc..

                  2. re: carswell

                    For some weid reason, Blanquette de Limoux, which is a
                    sparkling wine preceding Champagne, is now called
                    Cremant de Limoux.

                    1. re: bclevy

                      Blanquette de Limoux still exists. It's required to be at least 90% Mauzac and can also contain Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc. Blanquette Méthode Ancestrale is 100% Mauzac and undergoes secondary fermentation in the bottle but isn't disgorged.

                      Crémant de Limoux contains between 80% and 90% of a blend of Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc (20-40%), with Mauzac and/or Pinot Noir making up the remainder (the Pinot can't exceed 10%).

                      See www.limoux-aoc.com

                  3. re: ChefJune

                    Chefjune it is not charmat a process it is cremant

                  4. "That's the generic French term for bubbly".

                    Well, not quite.

                    In fact, even the French don't seem to agree on a definition for the word.
                    Some examples:

                    1) Littré dictionary ( one of the most authoritative ):
                    "Vin de Champagne crémant, vin se couvrant d'une mousse légère et peu abondante"
                    [ A crémant wine from Champagne, wine with a light froth ]

                    2) mediadico on-line dictionary
                    "Se dit d'un vin de Champagne dont la mousse est légère."
                    [ similar to Littré above ]

                    3) dictionnaire.sensagent.com
                    "vin mousseux de Champagne ou d'Alsace"
                    [ bubbly wine from Champagne or Alsace

                    4) In fact, the most sensible definition seems to be in en.wikipedia:
                    "The French terms "Mousseux" or "Crémant" are used to refer to sparkling wine not made in the Champagne region"

                    5) The Grand Robert pretty much agrees with Littré:
                    Champagne crémant, ou, n. m., crémant : vin de Champagne à mousse légère (spécialement préparé à cet effet). | Boire une coupe de crémant.

                    Etymologically: 1846; p. prés. de 1. crémer [ present participle of the verb crémer ]
                    Verb "crémer" has 3 meanings:
                    a) burn
                    b) cover with creme
                    c) give the color of creme
                    I'd bet $0.01 c) is the correct answer in this case.

                    6) Larousse:
                    adjectif et nom masculin
                    (de crème)
                    ■Se dit d'un vin de Champagne qui se couvre d'une mousse légère et peu abondante.
                    [ evidently, all the biggies just copy form each other ]

                    7) Contradicting what I just said above, here's a different one from CNRTL

                    XIXe siècle. Participe présent de crémer. ŒNOL.

                    ★ I. Adj. m. Seulement dans l'expression Champagne crémant, vin de Champagne légèrement pétillant, à la mousse peu abondante.

                    ★ II. N. m.
                    ☆ 1. Champagne crémant. Boire une coupe de crémant.
                    ☆ 2. Par ext. Vin mousseux élaboré selon la méthode champenoise, à faible pression. Un crémant de Loire, de Bourgogne.
                    [ By extension: a bubbly wine made by méthode champenoise under low pressure. ]

                    8) The French version of ENCARTA matches the OP's claim to perfection:
                    - vin blanc vinifié en mousseux
                    [ white wine vinified as bubbly

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: RicRios

                      What? The word "petillant" didn't appear in all that research? :o)