While Champagne is probably the most prestigious sparkling wine, there are many superb options produced throughout the world using the “Champagne Method”. In France, but outside the borders of the official “Champagne” region, you find Crémant made in eight areas. Virginie Aubrion is making two of them via biodynamic methods in Bordeaux.
Aubrion is not your ordinary woman. Deciding to change her life is how she, her husband and kids landed in Bordeaux making organic wines at Château de Piote.
Originally from the south of France, Paris offered a great job with world travel after studies. And it offered a further opportunity to develop a palate for nice wines.
Mark and I met Aubrion through his former classmate, her son Corentin, who generously invited us to spend a spring day at the Château a few years ago.
Knowing she makes two very nice sparkling wines, in addition to red and white wines, I reached out to buy some and ascertain the latest happenings at the Château.
The spurring of my interest comes from the March French #Winophiles theme: Crémant de Bordeaux. Our group convenes today on Twitter at 11am ET, 17:00 in France using hashtag #winophiles to converse our discoveries.
Let’s jump in and learn about Aubrion and her Crémant!
First a Farmer, Second a Winemaker
From the beginning she eschewed the use of herbicides or pesticides knowing it was better to work the land versus spraying it. Further thought concluded biodynamic principles were yet more logical. As a result, the estate was Demeter certified. It was initially a rocky ride but the biodynamic stamp officially secured in 2018.
With biodynamics, various vineyard treatments are allowed. Aubrion buys some preparations and grows plants to make others- nettle, horsetail, fern, valerian and dandelion. Once cut, they are dried and infusions are prepared. A most difficult item is spraying these preparations. While they could use a tractor Aubrion prefers limiting tractor use thus all vineyard work is by hand. Most plowing is done with a horse, while other animals roam the property. In fact three lambs were just born!
In the cellar, her passion for quality wine comes through strongly. She loves to experiment, using different shapes and materials- terracotta amphorae, sandstone eggs, cement tanks and less common wine bottle shapes. She’s also experiments with longer macerations, some six months to a year.
Perles at Piote
Two sparkling wines are in her line up- a white and a rosé. For these she wants ripe grapes with higher acidity, something not always achievable especially given the warming planet. For this reason she doesn’t make Crémant every year. But when nature provides both- ripe grapes with good acidity- her average production is just 3,000 bottles. Ecocert certifies both wines organic and as of her 2018 vintage, biodynamic.
I hope I got you in the mood for Crémant! Here are my tasting notes for Aubrion’s Perles. Both are lovely wines, excellent quality, 9.50€ per bottle, which I happily paid!
Crémant de Bordeaux AOP Rosé Brut – 2014
100% Cabernet Franc – Clear, pale salmon color. Rich red fruit notes (strawberry and plum) with a hint of toast. Strawberry mouse emerges on the bright palate. Balanced structure with attractive acidity that carries on. Dry with a medium body and medium finish.
Crémant de Bordeaux AOP Blanc Brut – 2014
Aubrion adds Colombard, naturally a high acid grape, to tip the ‘fresh’ scale of this wine.
Clear, pale yellow color. Fruity aromas of apple and pear mingle with lemony toast. Chamomile, pear and lemon emerge on the fresh, bright and soft palate with hints of brioche. Delicate yet persistent mousse. Dry with a medium body and a finish that lingers.
If you’ve ever thought about doing a “WWOOF” (Willing To Work On Organic Farm), Château de Piote is a great option. Read what people say about their experience.
French #Winophiles Talk About Crémant de Bordeaux
- Cam at Culinary Adventure with Camilla shares Definitively Bordeaux: Cannelés + Crémant without the Champagne Price Tag #Winophiles
- Linda at My Full Wine Glass enjoys Date night during a pandemic with Crémant de Bordeaux #Winophiles
- Lynn at Savor the Harvest introduces and showcases Making Biodynamic Crémant in Bordeaux #Winophiles
- Robin at Crushed Grape Chronicles introduces Bordeaux Bubbles? #Winophiles
- Jeff at Food Wine Click! recaps A Stroll Around Saint Emilion with a Visit to Les Cordeliers #Winophiles
- Cindy at Grape Experiencessays Welcome Spring with Amelia Crémant de Bordeaux Rosé and Raspberry Clafoutis #Winophiles
- Terri at Our Good Life serves Warm brie, cool bubbles #Winophiles
- Gwendolyn at Wine Predator tells Clink Different with Cremant: Bordeaux’s Sparkling Wine Paired with Crab Cakes, Squash Fritters, and the Daughters of Dada #Winophiles
- Wendy at A Day in the Life on the Farm serves Wilted Spring Greens Soup with Amelia Brut Rose #Winophiles
- Susannah at Avvinare enjoys Cremant de Bordeaux, An Unexpected Pleasure – #Winophiles.com
- Our host, Pinny at Chinese Food and Wine Pairings, Drinks Cool Malesan Crémant de Bordeaux and Eats Chinese Hotpot #Winophiles