I said yesterday that one the things about calling something Blanc De Blancs is that it’s made of 100% Chardonnay. That’s not actually strictly true.
In the Champagne region it is. Chardonnay is the white grape that is synonymous (oi oi the dictionary!) with Blanc De Blancs. When the champagne houses started making Blanc De Blancs then they used the white grape they had available to them, which was Chardonnay.
It’s true in a lot of the New World too, as wine makers want to use the fame of Blanc De Blancs from Champagne, so they mostly use Chardonnay. Makes sense.
Chardonnay’s great because it can be all things to all men. It’s fruity, it’s minerally, it can be creamy, it lends itself well to oak. It also takes on flavours well. So think of the yeasty flavours you get from traditional production methods. They just sit really well with Chardonnay.
Lots of other wine growing regions in France and Spain have starting using the Blanc De Blancs fame though. And they can’t all use Chardonnay. They use whatever’s native which is fair enough.
Jura and Burgundy in France, and now Cava in Spain, produce Blanc De Blancs using Chardonnay still, but also throw in a couple of natives to blend with. They’re all white grapes so they stick with the Blanc De Blancs label.
The famous ones that have nothing to do with Chardonnay are Crémants in Bordeaux and in the Loire. They use Sauvignon Blanc mostly, but throw in a bit of Semillon and Chenin Blanc if they have it available.
I know this is all a bit wordy and I’m throwing loads of grapes and regions at you, but once you get drinking the different ones, you’ll notice the difference in tastes. And this is why!
Other Posts in NWTW #53
Photo: Two of my wines this weekend, one Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon, the other Chardonnay