Bollinger earned global acclaim for its surreal, extraordinary Champagne. So when one of France’s iconic sparkling wine producers decided to purchase vineyards in the Loire Valley, it turned heads. When Bollinger took a page right out of their own Champagne-making script to produce a Crémant—harvesting every cluster by hand, gently pressing off the best free run juice and aging it an unheard of THREE years AFTER secondary fermentation in the bottle—sparkling Loire would never be the same again. The result: a beautifully complex Crémant that sings in the glass like a top-shelf Champagne, round and elegant, with a splash of reserve wine blended in from exceptional vintages, delivering creamier layers hinting at baked fruit and notes of brioche.
Among the world’s sparkling wine producers, some names are just synonymous with greatness. Bollinger’s La Grande Année, Taittinger’s Comtes de Champagne, Krug all come to mind. Schramsberg in Napa Valley, certainly. Ca’ del Bosco or Berlucchi Franciacorta from the area around Lake Iseo. But for one of the most surprising and complex sparkling wines in the world not grown on the hills outside of Reims or Épernay, it would have to be Bollinger’s Champagne-inspired Langlois-Château’s Crémant de Loire Brut.
Taking a page right out of Bollinger’s own Special Cuvée Champagne-making script, each cluster is hand-harvested into small bins, then gently pressed to capture only the best, free-run juice. Langlois-Château’s brilliant Crémant de Loire Brut is a beautifully precise blend of 60% Chenin Blanc, 20% Chardonnay, and 20% Cabernet Franc—all grown on porous schist and limestone-rich soils on six choice parcels: Côtes de Saumur, Coteaux de St-Léger, Puy-Notre-Dame, Bas Layon, Haut-Layon, and Montreuil-Bellay. Continuing to follow the same Champagne script, after secondary fermentation in the bottle, Langlois-Château Brut ages a full three years prior to release, even though only a minimum of 12 months is required.
The result is a beautifully complex Crémant, easily confused for a top-shelf Champagne. In the glass, finely delineated beads of the Langlois-Château Crémant de Loire Brut NV burst with ripe apple and pithy grapefruit notes. Round and elegant on the palate with lively acidity, complex citrus notes are underscored by roughly 10 percent of reserve wines blended in from exceptional vintages, which unfolds in creamier layers hinting at baked fruit and notes of brioche. Excellent length and tension on an energetic and crisp mineral finish.
With all the trappings of a remarkable Champagne, from an iconic producer like Bollinger, you’d expect to pay at least $75 per bottle. At the very least, that’s what you’ll pay at many of France’s Michelin-starred restaurants. Today, a bubbly lover’s dream BARGAIN.