Cremant de Bordeaux is the regional appellation for white and rosé sparkling wines from the Bordeaux wine region of south-western France. The production of sparkling wines in Bordeaux is far from prolific and has been slowly declining in response to the obvious success of the region's still wines: red, white, sweet and dry.
Sparkling wines have been produced in Bordeaux for well over 100 years, but the appellation was not made official until April 1990. Even today, the specific style of Cremant de Bordeaux wines is not as clear as that of other French cremant appellations, such as Cremant de Loire and Cremant d'Alsace. This is probably the result of the wines having such a marginal presence in the sea of dry red wine for which Bordeaux is famous.
More than 500 parishes are covered by the Cremant de Bordeaux appellation, making it one of the largest in France in terms of geographical area. However, only 250 acres (100ha) of vineyards are currently devoted to producing these wines. The classic Bordeaux grape varieties prevail, with the sparkling wines being made from the same varieties as the still wines. These include the white varieties Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and Muscadelle and the red varieties Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenere, Malbec, Merlot and Petit Verdot.
A good Cremant de Bordeaux has tight, persistent effervescence (a defining advantage of methode traditionelle wines over those made by other techniques, such as the Charmat process) and a complex, nutty, gently honeyed nose. The use of Semillon is responsible for more floral, grassy aromas than those found in champagne and this is emphasized in those wines that are subjected to extended lees contact. There is an enforced period of lees contact in Cremant de Bordeaux wines, which must not be disgorged for at least nine months after their first bottling. It is a further requirement that the wines are released for sale no earlier than 12 months after disgorgement.