What We Were Drinking For Christmas

This Christmas I spent my time off with my girlfriend and her lovely family in Clare. Christmas morning we all got up, wished each other well and sat down to open presents and eat breakfast with a glass of something bubbly. As I mentioned in my previous post, I had been looking for some alternatives to Champagne and had found 2 bottles of Cremant de Bourgogne which is sparkling wine from Burgundy. The reason I chose Burgundian sparkling wines is that it has a similar climate to Champagne. As well as this, the grapes used are Chardonnay and Pinot Noir and the wine is made from the traditional method as with Champagne so there will be more than a few similarities.

The wines are from a producer named Jean-Charles Boisset, a gent from Burgundy that wants to celebrate where he comes from and these wines are part of that. They are named using numbers and there is a meaning behind each of the numbers.

First we popped open the white – no.21 – named after the area code of Burgundy, and therefore paying homage to Jean-Charles’ home town. This had a beautiful golden colour to it with the instant biscuit and honey on the nose was matched by some delightfully fresh lemon and lime. It didn’t disappoint in the mouth either with lively acidity and citrus and I found a nice flavour of stone fruits, almond and honey to match with the minerality that was also present. A good finish on it left me salivating and before I knew it my glass, and the bottle, was empty! A blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, as well as the traditional method used to make this, made it more than a match for any Champagne.

Once that bottle had been finished (rather quickly) we moved on to the rose – no.69 – named as a reference to a balance between masculinity and femininity. And, yes, it is in that way that you’re thinking. The best way to understand this is to let the man himself explain in the video below:

This wine is 100% Pinot Noir and has a beautiful and bright salmon colour to it. The nose is different to the no.21, as you would expect, still with that lovely complexity of biscuit and toast, but with more red berry fruits and some lovely cranberry scents. The mouth has a beautiful light body and fresh acidity to it that allows the fruit to dance around your palate with flavours of shortbread, raspberries, ripe red cherries, rosewater and orange blossom. The length (how long the flavour lasts) was long and the taste stayed with me after each mouthful. This was the overall winner of the morning and I’ll be looking to get a few more bottles in when I get back to Dublin, I could happily drink this everyday!

With a decent Champagne setting you back around 50 euro + these bottles came in at around the 25 – 30 euro mark and easily stand up along side the Champagnes and other sparkling wines twice the price. This research into Champagne alternatives seems to be a lot of fun and if anyone has any recommendations I’d love to know in the comments below!


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