Crémants from Maison Simonnet Febvre

Published by Sally on January 13, 2013

 When they set up business in Chablis in 1840, Maison Simonnet Febvre only made sparkling wine. Sparkling Chablis as it was then, made by the traditional method. Now they are the only winery in Chablis making sparkling wine. Crémant de Bourgogne as it is now. But this producer has branched out into still wine, so about a quarter of their total production is Crémant. The rest is Chablis and other still wines from the region, including reds.

One of the things that makes their style of crémant special is that a lot of fruit is sourced from the cooler, more northerly vineyards of Burgundy, which are actually closer geographically and climatically to Champagne than they are to central Burgundy. Indeed some fruit is sourced just 10km from the south of Champagne. Managing director Jean-Philippe Archambaud said much of “the pinot noir comes from Auxerrois, on a higher altitude plateau about 250m above sea level, where they pick about fifteen days early to get the necessary higher acidity.”

There was definitely a freshness and lightness of being about these crémants, without them being light on flavour or integrity.

Given the northerly location, Archambaud said “we do full malo on everything [still and sparkling] even in 2006 and 2003.” He said they like the wines to be very precise, and they also have length and creaminess from malo and lees ageing.

Since 2003 the company has been owned by Louis Latour.

Tasting, in situ, July 2012

Maison Simonnet Febvre, Cremant de Bourgogne Brut NV ~£15
60% chardonnay, 40% pinot noir. 7g/l dosage.  24 months on lees
Jurassic clay and limestone. Most of the chardonnay comes from Tonnerrois, 20km east of Chablis, which is also about 10km from the Champagne region.
Delicate white flowers on the nose, not overt autolysis. Soft, creamy, not quite frothy attack, sweet white fruits and elegant fruit focus. Attractive wine that’s flavoursome without being complex. A relaxing wine with a fine mousse.

Maison Simonnet Febvre, Cremant de Bourgogne Brut P100 Blanc de Noir n/a in UK
100% pinot noir. 6.5g/l dosage.  24 months on lees.
Fruit from Yonne in the north of Burgundy.
Crunchy strawberry and cranberry, with a positive hint of phenolic muscle on the backbone. Fine fruits and intensity of fresh flavours with a good length.

Maison Simonnet Febvre, Cremant de Bourgogne Brut cuvee S2008 n/a UK
70% pinot noir, 30% chardonnay. Dosage 4.5g/l. Four years on  lees. Fruit from Yonne in the north of Burgundy.
Fresh ‘Nice’ biscuit on the nose, with citrus too. Floral hint palate attack, then more muscle comes through, with cranberry and vinosity and perky acid freshness alongside citrus cream flavours.

Maison Simonnet Febvre, Cremant de Bourgogne Dosage zero, blance de Blanc 2008
100% chardonnay, 36 months on lees. Fruit from Yonne in the north of Burgundy.
Archambaud  “you need to do zero dosage on a special vintage, and 2008 was the perfect vintage – high acid and ripe.”
Citrus and pebbly notes on the nose followed by citrus on the attack, ripe enough fruit, and very perky, erring to tart, in a good way. Good intensity of citrus, pithy flavours. Sharp and precise.

Maison Simonnet Febvre, Cremant de Bourgogne Brut Rose £15
100% pinot noir.  8g/l dosage. 24 months on lees.
Lovely bright rose petal pink colour. Sweet ripe strawberry nose, aromatic and enticing. Feel that bit of juicy, sweet fruit in a good way. This is attractive and easy to drink.

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