It’s party time (or as much as the pandemic will allow) so what better way to celebrate Christmas with the tipple that’s known as a “party wine”? The Crémant de Luxembourg appellation may be “small beer” in the grand scheme of wine growing but, even so, it marks its 30th anniversary this year. So a new promotional campaign to raise awareness of this relatively little known wine is perfectly timed.
Crémant is by definition a party product but, since the start of the pandemic, it’s not really been a time for celebration. But, despite the ongoing health crisis, there’s arguably never been a better time than the upcoming festive season to (re) discover this lovely wine. For the uninitiated, look on it as roughly something between champagne and sparkling wine.
Crémant producers were in Brussels recently to help spread the word about their delightful product to, they hope, a wider audience.
As one Crémant producer, Andre Klein, told Travel Tomorrow, there’s no doubting the quality of the wine, the only thing missing is that too few people know about it. Belgium is one of its biggest exports markets but, even here, sales are relatively small.
We want more people to know, firstly, that Luxembourg actually produces very good wines – you’d be surprised maybe at how few do – and, secondly, that Cremant is rather good and is especially ideal at this time of year when people are celebrating Christmas and the New Year.André Klein, sales director at the Alice-Hartmann Wine Estate in Luxembourg
The 19-year-old estate produces about 100,000 bottles of the stuff each year but, as with most of the country’s Cremant producers, the vast bulk of consumption remains in Luxembourg itself.
His comments are shared by another Cremant producer, Michelle Mannes, of the Haremillen vineyard, located on the site of an old mill, who said, “Our focus is on producing an elegant wine. Ours is fruity with a slight almond taste.” “I fully support efforts to publicise Crémant to a wider public.” About 3.5 million bottles are produced each year and Luxembourg crémant is a quality product due to the hard work the winemakers, like André and Michelle, put into producing the best fizz. Efforts have been made to in recent years to increase visibility of the wines but more is needed, partly because of relatively low export sales of Luxembourg cremants.
Sales dipped sharply at the start of the lockdown as they did for all products intended for special occasions but people have now started buying wine and cremants again.
Both André and Michelle were among a group of producers from Luxembourg who presented around 20 Crémant du Luxembourg vintages.They were specially brought together for the occasion by the Les5duvin – one of the references of wine criticism in Europe – at Armes de Bruxelles in Brussels.
The event, organized with the support of the Institut Viti-Vinicole du Luxembourg, coincides with the 30th anniversary of Crémant de Luxembourg.
Claire Sertznig, of the Ministry of Agriculture in Luxembourg, who helped organise the event, says one measure of the grape’s success is that it wins medal after medal in major competitions, against the most prestigious appellations. It is little wonder since as, with Crémant de Luxembourg, the country’s winegrowers have set particularly high production standards.
This, says Claire, involves selection of the best grape varieties, limited pressing and ageing on slats.The result is that Crémant de Luxembourg, she says, is equal to the best bubbles in the world. But, if you, like many in Belgium and elsewhere, are new to this grape variety why not try it yourself and form your own opinion. And, as they say on the banks of the Moselle, “Zu äre Gesondheet!”