ALISTAIR GIBSON: There's more to sparklers than Champagne and prosecco

Exquisite Collection Cremant Du Jura
Exquisite Collection Cremant Du Jura

One of the great wine stories of the past few years has been the almost unbelievable rise in popularity, and thus sales, of prosecco. 

Since 2008 the volume of sales in the UK have risen by more than 6,000 per cent.

L'Extra par Langlois Brut NV Crmant de Loire

L'Extra par Langlois Brut NV Crmant de Loire

It’s been an unqualified success but what’s really interesting is that the sales of Champagne, although having slipped slightly, have not really suffered comparably.

Here in the UK we are still the world's second largest consumers of Champagne, taking second place to France. 

What is also clear is that sparkling wine in the UK is no longer reserved for weddings and other celebrations, it seems it's almost become a fridge staple.

What the rise of prosecco has also achieved is to allow consumers to look at other fizzy alternatives and it would appear the French crémant is the current benefactor of this.

Bouvet Saumur Ros Brut

Bouvet Saumur Ros Brut

It can be produced in a number of French regions, including Alsace, the Loire, Burgundy and Limoux. 

Each region has its own style, making it perhaps a little more interesting to explore than prosecco, which can only come from Italy’s Veneto region.

It's generally made in the traditional Champagne method, and sales figures released by both Waitrose and Majestic show that crémant sales rose very strongly last year.

Here are a few to try while you push the prosecco bottle further back into the fridge.

Exquisite Crémant du Jura 2015 (Aldi £7.99) has appeared in this column before but it continues to offer outstanding value-for-money and is the perfect stepping stone into this category of fizz.

Jura is a region that sits between Burgundy and Switzerland, which is beginning to gain more recognition for its sparkling wines.

Made from 100 per cent chardonnay, it’s quite full-flavoured with a constant stream of small bubbles, the nose shows citrus fruit and maybe even just a touch of brioche and spice. 

The palate is quite creamy with fresh acidity and it has great length for a wine at this price. L'Extra par Langlois Brut NV Crémant de Loire (Majestic £13.99 or £10.99 if part of a mixed six) is made by Langlois-Chateau which is owned by Champagne Bollinger, so it has pretty good credentials!

Made from a blend of chardonnay and chenin blanc, what I really like here is the freshness with green apple and lemon to the fore. It's very clean with lively acidity and some real

elegance on the finish.

Bouvet Saumur Rosé Brut (Majestic £10.99 or £10.99 if part of a mixed six) is not technically a crémant but worth including here as it's very similar in style.

It's produced by Bouvet-Ladubay, one of the oldest houses in Saumur and made from cabernet franc.

The wine is pale pink with a good mousse, which looks lovely in the glass. There are soft red fruit notes and a little spice on the nose with a creamy palate and a crisp finish.