British wine writer Steven Spurrier is to release England’s first crémant in November, using wines from his estate in Dorset.
The French term ‘crémant’, meaning ‘creamy’, was classically used for sparkling wines with a lower pressure, and Spurrier’s new cuvée will have a pressure of 4.5 bar, as opposed to 6 – the standard for Champagne and English sparkling wine.
Speaking to the drinks business last week, Spurrier said that the decision to make a less fizzy English sparkling from his property in the southwest of England, called Bride Valley, was in fact driven by adversity.
“Because the 2015 vintage was so cold, we declassified the wines,” he recorded, although he did make a small quantity of Bride Valley sparkling rosé.
While most of the wine from this harvest won’t be used for English sparkling from Spurrier’s estate, he kept back the equivalent of around 7,500 bottles of wine in tank, a proportion of which he has blended with the 2016 vintage to create a slightly less fizzy version of Bride Valley sparkling.
Due to the unusually cool conditions of the 2015 vintage, the wines produced from the harvest were extremely acidic, prompting Spurrier to make a less fizzy wine, because a lower pressure sparkling wine has a softer sensation in the mouth.
“A crémant, as the French word suggests, is ‘creamy’, and so it should not be aggressive, and I am excited by this,” he said, referring to his new product, and solution to a cool vintage.
The crémant has spent 15 months ageing on its lees before disgorging. It was given a dosage of 9g/l, “which is high for me”, admitted Spurrier, but deemed necessary due to the high-acid base wines.
As the first English crémant, Spurrier said that he was applying for a protected designation of origin (PDO), which he told db was just a question of “paperwork”.
Concluding, he said, “I made it [the crémant] because I had to, but if it is popular, and I have the extra volume, then I will continue to make it.”