Crémant is now the ‘acceptable’ fizz – and these are the best bottles to buy

Crémant: the go-to budget sparkling wine for pros and those in the know
Crémant: the go-to budget sparkling wine for pros and those in the know - getty

Crémant has long been the go-to budget sparkling wine for wine pros and those generally in the know. Over the past few years, more and more wine lovers have been catching on and now the secret is well and truly out. Waitrose has just reported that its crémant sales have overtaken those of Spanish cava for the first time.

What’s more, its crémant sales are up 51 per cent on those from the same period last year – a figure considered “mind-blowingly phenomenal” by the supermarket’s sparkling wine buyers. “We sell five crémants out of 185 sparkling wines (this includes champagne) and one in nine bottles we sell today is a crémant,” says a spokesman.

Crémant is the name given to certain sparkling wines made in France, outside the Champagne region but using the same process as champagne – meaning that the bubbles come from a secondary fermentation in the bottle.

Crémant can’t be made just anywhere. There are specific crémant appellations, each of which has its own rules, specifying, for instance, which grapes can be used in that region. Currently, crémant is made in Alsace, Burgundy, Bordeaux, around the town of Die in the Rhône, the Jura, Limoux, the Loire and Savoie.

Differences in climate and indeed in the grapes used in each of those regions means that crémant has different characteristics depending on where it is from. But because it is always made using that process of secondary fermentation, which gives the wine contact with the lees (dead yeast cells), it will always have at least a trace of the biscuity richness that isn’t present in prosecco.

I always recommend picking a good crémant over a super-cheap champagne because you get a much better quality of wine. The bottles below prove that this fizz is more than acceptable to quench our thirst.


Extra Special Crémant d’Alsace Brut NV, France

12%, Asda, £9 down from £11 until April 3

A few years ago you’d have struggled to find crémant from Alsace on the supermarket shelves. Now there are loads of them and this is terrific value on the offer price. Subtly floral and clean-tasting, it is made mostly from the auxerrois grape with about a third pinot blanc.

Specially Selected Crémant de Bordeaux Rosé, NV

12%, Aldi, £9.49

Sparkling rosé? From Bordeaux? Yes, indeed. Bordeaux makes wine in all colours and at all levels of sweetness and this attractive example is new into Aldi stores this week for the spring and summer seasons. It’s made from 60 per cent merlot with 40 per cent cabernet franc and has soft red berry flavours.


Taste the Difference Crémant d’Alsace NV, France

12%, Sainsbury’s, £10.50 down from £11.50 until April 2

Another crémant from Alsace and this one is notably sweet in style. If you prefer something a little dryer go for the Asda example above or the Cave de Turckheim Crémant in Waitrose that comes down from £13.99 to £10.49 on its current 25 per cent off mix-six promotion.

Morrisons The Best Crémant de Limoux NV, France

12.5%, Morrisons, £9.50

Limoux is a region in the cool foothills of the French Pyrenees that makes crystalline still chardonnay, attractive still pinot noir and very good sparkling wine. This example is made from half chardonnay, with chenin blanc, pinot noir and mauzac and it’s tingly and refreshing.


La Maison du Vin Crémant de Loire NV, France

11.5%, Co-op, £12.75

The Loire produces about 20 million bottles of crémant a year, from a range of grapes. This one is made from chenin blanc, chardonnay and cabernet franc and it has a creamy palate followed up by a refreshing, lemon-and-sour-apple zing.

Morrisons The Best Crémant de Limoux Rosé NV, France

12%, Morrisons, £10

The wine just mentioned is good, but, for me, this rosé has the edge over its white sibling. Both are made by the excellent Sieur d’Arques co-operative but this pink is just a little bit more elegant, with a bigger chunk of pinot noir. It smells of wild raspberries with a waft of florals and it’s brilliant.


Berry Bros & Rudd Crémant de Limoux by Antech Brut NV, France

12%, Berry Bros & Rudd, £14.95

It’s a little more expensive than supermarket options but the additional quality does show: this is a superbly sleek and classy sparkling wine. Taut and tangy, the base is chardonnay (70 per cent) with chenin blanc and the local mauzac providing notes of apple.

Domaine des Haut Perrays Crémant de Loire NV, France

12.5%, Lea & Sandeman, £16.95, or £15.50 in a mixed case

This family domaine in the Loire is based in Coteaux du Layon, an area best-known for its tangy, sweet wines made from chenin blanc. I’ve been recommending it for years as an alternative to cheap champagne because it looks good on the table and tastes good in the glass. It’s based on chenin blanc, with a little chardonnay and cabernet franc.