FRANCE magazine - juillet 2016 - n° 214


"An old stone quarry in burgundy creates the ideal conditions for producing Crémant sparkling wine.

There is something special about sipping a glass of sparkling wine and feeling the bubbly, tangy flavours dance on your tongue. Champagne is the king of fizz, but its popularity has tended to overshadow the equally appealing Crémants, produced in seven regions of France using the same methods.

One of the leading makers can be found just south of Auxerre, in the heart of northern Burgondy’s wine country. Set deep within chalky cliffs that rise from the river Yonne lie the Caves de Bailly Lapierre, which has been producing Crémant de Bourgogne since 1972.

The cellars are in an enclosed medieval quarry that supplied stone for some of France’s grandest monuments, including the Panthéon and in Paris, and chartres cathedral. Quarrying ceased in the early 20th century, but the opportunity to produce wine in such a setting was too good to miss.

The galleries, located 50 metres underground, are spread across four hectares and provide ideal conditions for making Crémants. A natural temperature of 12°C and 80 per cent humidity enable the wine to age well, while the soft lighting preserves the flavour and colour.


Out of these galleries emerge bottles that have sealed Bailly Lapierre’s reputation. Most Crémant de Bourgogne are made with pinot noir and chardonnay grapes, but Bailly Lapierre’s Reserve bottle is a blend of the appellation’s four varieties: Pinot noir, Chardonnay, Gamay and Aligoté. Other vintages include the flagbearing Vive-la-Joie, which is left to age slightly longer than its other bottles.

Guided visits, complete with wine tasting, are available all year (admission €5) and tours of the surrounding vineyards are held from April to September."


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