The magazine “Tanin” puts the Chenin grape variety in the spotlight
Sparkling wines in Loire Valley
In the family of fine bubbly wines, champagne is no longer the only favourite of oenophiles. Crémants also know how to make a place for themselves on good tables. Crémant from Alsace, Burgundy, Jura… And of course, the Loire!
The proof? Domaine de Rocheville was pleased to see its Crémant de Loire La Favorite 2016 featured in issue no. 4 of Tanin, a quarterly magazine that aims to take an uncomplicated approach to wine.
With the provocative and tempting title “Le chenin a de la gueule”, this edition devotes 12 pages to the emblematic white variety of the Loire Valley…
A vinted cremant made of pure chenin
Crémant de Loire is produced in a large part of the vineyards of the Loire Valley. Several varieties of white and red grapes can be used, alone or in a blend, in its composition: cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon, pineau d’Aunis, pinot noir, chardonnay, etc. The sparkling wine obtained can thus be white or rosé.
La Favorite is a single-variety wine. Chenin, also known as “Pineau de Loire”, is the only component. Born in Anjou, this grape variety is a real nugget which has the advantage of offering a wide range of aromas suitable for producing still dry, semi-dry, sweet and fine bubbly wines.
Freshness and balance
Tanin magazine gave Favorite a glowing tasting commentary, highlighting its fine bubbles, harmonious flavours and ‘excellent balance’.
“A superb Chenin effervescent! A fresh texture accompanied by a fatness and a brioche aspect brought by the ageing in wood. A great mastery! A reassuring wine, which allows itself to do better than many other French effervescents.”
And the tasting committee, made up of five specialist journalists, even concluded that it was “walking on the chenin of glory”!
The secrets of making fine bubbly wines
How are the bubbles made in a Crémant de Loire?
Who has never wondered, while tasting a flute as an aperitif, how bubbles are formed in a sparkling wine? Here is our secret!
The traditional method in 4 steps
Of the 5 different methods of setting the bubbles, it is the traditional method (it is forbidden to speak of “méthode champenoise” outside of Champagne) that gives Favorite its fine and delicate bubbles.
The basic wine
It all starts with a basic wine, a still white wine made from hand-picked grapes. The base wine is aged on its lees in oak barrels for 6 months.
Adding the “tirage liqueur”
After bottling, a so-called “tirage liqueur” (blend of sugar and yeasts) is added to trigger a second fermentation in the bottle. This is how the bubbles form, as the yeast transforms the sugar into alcohol and carbon dioxide.
ageing on slats
Then the wine is aged on slats (i.e. the bottles are laid down on wooden laths). This stage is highly regulated. A minimum of 12 months’ ageing on laths is compulsory for the Crémant de Loire AOC (as it is for champagne). But Favorite 2016 benefits from a special treatment: it remains on laths for no less than 42 months to develop a very fine bubble and unique aromas. It’s all about patience!
Disgorgement and dosage liqueur
Finally, the lees, the residue of the foam, are stirred into the neck of the bottle. Then the disgorging process takes place: the neck of the bottle is immersed in a liquid that freezes the contents. When the bottle is opened, the CO2 expels the ice cube of lees, creating a drop in level which is compensated for by the addition of a dosage liqueur (home-made recipe!).
All that remains to be done is to add the wirehood and the cork to the elegant bottles, not forgetting of course the label with the vintage and the famous little silhouette of our character.
What is the difference between a Crémant de Loire and a Champagne?
This is a question that all wine lovers ask themselves one day! Crémant de Loire is an effervescent wine just like champagne, the champagne method is almost similar to the traditional method used to make our crémant. The difference lies in the area of production. Champagne must be produced in Champagne, and Crémant de Loire in the departments of Anjou, Touraine and Saumurois.
What dish should you drink your favourite Crémant de Loire with?
Elegant and distinguished, La Favorite can seduce you from aperitif to dessert. To celebrate a big event in good company or simply to celebrate the pleasure of reuniting with friends, it is perfect accompanied, why not, by a few Comté cheese puffs or Touraine goat cheese puffs.
As a starter, it can be enjoyed with a tartar of sea bream, mango and avocado, or more simply with oysters.
If you wish to continue the meal with our Crémant de Loire, then the ideal is to serve it with a salmon pie. The flaky pastry and the fat of the salmon will go perfectly with the toasted flavours obtained from the barrel ageing and the citrus notes of the Chenin.
On the cheese board, place preferably goat’s cheeses, such as Valençay and Selles-sur-Cher.
Finally, with a Crémant extra-brut, it is preferable to end the meal with a light and fresh dessert such as a crémet d’Anjou, which will be ideal with our Loire sparkling wine.
These are of course only a few gourmet tips. It’s up to you to try your own food and wine pairings, but don’t forget to share them with us!