Veuve Ambal Cremant de Bourgogne is quite an appealing wine. The blend of classic Champagne grapes with Aligote and Gamay makes for a great mix of flavours. Veuve Ambal has a lovely creamy. Mouth-filling sensation with the fruit and bubbles. It is not Champagne, but Veuve Ambal is not trying to be. There is a savoury, leesy flavour but nowhere near autolytic. Veuve Ambal is a great wine to drink young and fresh. I think Veuve Ambal is better than most Cava and Prosecco at similar price points.
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.
Veuve Ambal Cremant de Bourgogne Blanc Burgundy NV Wine Review
“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 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.
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. Adding body, perfume and richness to Champagne, it also adds red berry and floral/rose petal notes along with spice and subtle layers.
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?
The land that so many New World (not European) wine producers look to emulate. To generalise about French wine, I would say it is savoury, lighter-bodied wines. They are the definition of elegant, complex. There are many styles, though. And there is a French wine for every palate. They lead the world in Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in Burgundy. Sparkling Wine in Champagne. Cabernet and Merlot in Bordeaux. Syrah(Shiraz) and Grenache in the Rhone Valley. Riesling, Gewurztraminer, and Pinot Gris in Alsace. Sauvignon Blanc, and Chenin Blanc in the Loire Valley. Gamay in Beaujolais.
Wine is the result you get from fermented grape juice. There is proof of wine production dating back 8000 years ago. Fashions, innovations and many other factors have influenced the way wine has evolved over the years.
The wine grape is impressive. It contains everything you need to make grape wine except for the yeast, which lives on the outside of the skins.
Human inputs can influence the final product, including the viticulture (growing) choices. And the winemaker can shape the wine to a point too.
The best wines of the world often refer to terroir. Terroir is a French term that refers to all the climatic, geological and topographical influences on a specific piece of land. And it is true that neighbouring vineyards, grown identically, can taste noticeably different.
Fizz, bubby, bubbles. It is a wine with bubbles in it. There are many ways to put the bubbles in and many styles and flavours you can find. Important to know that you should never buy cheap Sparkling. Champagne is still the quality leader of the world. But great Sparkling can be found in Moscato (sweet), Prosecco, Franciacorta (Italy), Cava (Spain), Australia, New Zealand, Loire Valley and Burgundy Cremant (France).
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I, Phil, have been running The Wine Depository since 2011. The Wine Depository exists to make sure you are drinking the good wines. You can browse and pick what is interesting to you. Or you can make contact with me. I’ll make sure you get what you want, to your palate, to your budget and to your door.