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Langlois Brut, Crémant de Loire

This is another wine that exposes my lack of generosity and causes a "tell-no-one"
Posted 18th July 2012        

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This is another wine that exposes my lack of generosity and causes a “tell-no-one” syndrome.

I discovered the wine last year, fell in love with it at once and – after happily consuming probably a dozen of bottles, bought separately – started to think about buying a case – which makes sense moneywise and gives you peace of mind.

But then the wine went out of stock. Saying good-bye to your favourite wine might be sad anyway. It is positively annoying when you’re blaming yourself for being tardy in making important decisions. Langlois stayed a lovely memory on the back of my mind for months. I missed it and after doing some web research even thought of buying it somewhere else. And now – bingo! – it’s back.

So before it vanishes again, let me tell you about it – when I can do not just revising my memories, but sipping the real stuff. This is sparkling wine from Loire, made by traditional (i.e. with second fermentation) method. The same technique is used in Champagne, though obviously for legal reasons this sacred word is reserved for this part of France only. Also, the blend of grapes is different from Champagne’s trio of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. In this Crémant, the mix consists of Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay and Cabernet Franc resourced from the best sites in Saumur. The wine was aged for 2 years in the tuffeau (chalk rock) cellars of Langlois-Château.

It’s Chardonnay that gives this steely freshness to the nose, to which Chenin Blanc adds structure and body. You can smell character in this wine, that promises not to be one of those faceless soldiers of the Prosecco army, the ones you can drink like water without hope of ever remembering their names. Langlois is officially called Brut. But as a devoted fan, I can say that the amount of residual sugar has been changed compared to last year. The Langlois I first tasted was much closer to the idea of Brut – not Zero Dosage, certainly, but the wine that is bone dry. This new Langlois is closer to off-dry concept. I don’t dislike it personally, and it is not demi-sec or anything that gives you certainty that you’re on the sweet side. But this is definitely a gracious step towards sweetness.

Those who have a little snobbery in their attitude toward sparkling wines not coming from Champagne might be surprised by how well this wine is made.

Even with this new experimental shade of sweetness, the things I love about it haven’t changed – its richness, creaminess, minerality and diversity in being either a good food partner or a perfect aperitif. The quality is not such a surprise when you learn that Langlois-Château is owned by Bollinger Champagne house. The people who make agent 007’s favourite fizz know their thing, and though nowhere on a bottle of Langlois you will see the name “Bollinger” the skill shows itself in the wine. All the people with whom I shared my excitement about Langlois recommended to try their rosé. It is harder to find than Langlois Brut stock of which is moving quite quickly too. Partly you can blame me for that. This time I have reserved three cases – for a change I’m trying to be smart.

You can order this sparkling wine from Majestic or the Champagne Company.


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Meet the Author:
Alya Kharchenko
There is not much out there that Alya wouldn’t try out – sometimes only for the sake of it, tackling obstacles of any kind being her drug of choice. But there are other things she is fond of: especially wining and writing – so wine writing came in handy. Trained as a journalist, Alya discovered her love for wine long before she moved from Moscow to London, which became her home five years ago. After having worked for the BBC, she took a leap of faith, and a few sips of wine, and started her first full time job in the wine trade at the UK's oldest wine merchant, Berry Bros. & Rudd. Since then she's worked as a sommelier and wine advisor, but writing has never been far from her mind - as well as a bottle of nice wine, suitable for any mood and occasion.