pink fizz from Bordeaux at Ocado
Bordeaux is one of the most varied and versatile wine regions in France; its wines are fresh, yet substantial enough to match with food.
Pink fizz may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you consider Bordeaux but the region can do traditional-method crémant pretty much as well as any other area in France.
At just 1% of production, Crémant makes up a small part of Bordeaux's output, but it is growing rapidly, in part due to the popularity of Prosecco. Like Prosecco, Crémant de Bordeaux is slightly riper with more fruit and less yeasty-biscuity autolytic character; it has a shorter secondary fermentation period making it inexpensive to produce and an easy-drinking fizz.
Crémant is also less expensive than Champagne and, whilst quite a different drink, can often be better value. Without aspiring to be at the level of Champagne, in terms of price or quality at the top end, a good Bordeaux fizz will beat many a similarly-priced Champagne.
Pink fizz is less than half of Crémant of production, about 0.3% of Bordeaux's total output, but also growing rapidly. It must be made from black grapes only, often Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, unlike rosé Champagne, which is based on Pinot Noir and / or Meunier,
In summary, then:
- the traditional production method of crémant gives the elegance of a Champagne
- the warmer climate provides a Prosecco-like fruit ripeness
- the grape varieties bring a Bordelais flavour profile
So, where to start?
Calvet is is a reliable regional producer, making good, typical and inexpensive wines; it is the best-selling French brand in the UK, so they are clearly doing something right.
Calvet Crémant de Bordeaux Brut Rosé (£12.99, Ocado)
The wine is a blend of traditional Bordeaux grapes, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, and made like Champagne using the Méthode Traditionnelle, in line with the strict Crémant production regulations in place to ensure quality remains high, the grapes are hand harvested and the wine then spends 11 months in bottle before disgorging and dosage.
This is a 2018 Brut, so it is fully dry with a little bottle age and some complexity. The grapes undergo a short cold soak maceration to give a very pale pink colour and a cool fermentation to preserve the fruit aromas. The slightly longer aging gives more sophistication.
There are fresh, elegant redcurrant fruits, a leesy-creamy texture, fresh red summer berries, florality and some pastry notes. The bubbles are fine and the finish is long and complex.
Fresh enough for an aperitif, it also has the savoury versatility to match with a range of lighter foods, such as chicken or ham salads and mixed antipasti.