Veuve Ambal is a house devoting its time to traditional method Sparkling wines. Being in Burgundy they have the advantage that they can use Pinot Noir and Chardonnay: The two quality grapes of Champagne. Therefore their wines have character and charm. They are not Champagne, they are lighter and less complex. They are a fraction of the price of Champagne though. Veuve Ambal and Cremant, in general, are a great alternative to Champagne.
“A blend of mainly pinot noir and chardonnay with a small amount of aligote and gamay. Quite a weighty, flavoursome wine with subtle tropical fruit, lychee and citrus flavours. A simple, appealing wine with a good sugar-and-acid balance.” BOB CAMPBELL MW The Real Review, 18 December, 2019
The classic part of Burgundy known as the Cote D’Or (the slope of gold) is essentially one vineyard that is 60km long and maybe 5km at its widest. From this limestone ridge, some of the most complex, long-lived and aromatic wines are produced from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The Cistercian monks who owned the land codified the entire region and so each small plot has a name.
Crémant de Bourgogne
Sparkling wine appellation in Burgundy that was given AOC status in 1975. It comprises of hand-harvested grapes that are crafted into sparkling wines using the methode traditionelle. Made from a minimum of 30% Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, Chardonnay or Pinot Gris. Aligoté is often added to fill out the blend. Quality and styles vary greatly. The best are very good replacements for Champagne!
This is the most elusive grape. It is relatively early ripening and extremely sensitive to terroir. Its perfect place on earth is the Cote d’Or in Burgundy. So haunting are great red Burgundy’s charms that growers everywhere try to emulate them. Pinot Noir is not just a one-trick pony, it can make great reds, rosé, sparkling and even sweet wines, whites on occasion and I’ve tasted a decent fortified Pinot Noir too.
The grape that you can plant anywhere, in any climate and do anything to and it will still taste like an OK wine. When people hit the sweet spot of site, climate, cropping and winemaking, Chardonnay becomes a magical wine that will age gracefully but charm you at any age. Chardonnays can range from cool-climate lean and citrusy to warmer climate tropical and overt. Oak and lees can add flavouring as can malolactic fermentation.
Grown in the French regions of Beaujolais and Loire Valley. It is early budding, high cropping, aromatic and high acid. It was outlawed from Burgundy by Duke Philippe the Bold for being disloyal but has no doubt made up for that with honourable service. The best wines from Gamay can be Burgundian in flavour and well worth seeking out. Often they are exceptionally good value too.
A variety that shares the same parent as Chardonnay and Pinot Noir but not their glorious outlook on wine. Making mealy, lean, mineral and citric wines that tend to lack fruit. Aligote is rarely described as a great wine, perhaps because the best terroirs are planted to other grapes?