Les Grands Chais de France Group is a company based in the Northern Vosges region of France. It’s run by the Helfrich family. When Joseph Helfrich founded the winery in 1979 he made the decision to sell Cognac and brandy around the world – wine followed soon after. Les Grands Chais de France Group is one of the largest vineyard owners in the world with more than 30 wineries in France, and they produce some interesting and good-value wines which are well-worth seeking out.
Here are a few to consider. No, they might not be expensive Champagnes, but they are delightfully quaffable and won’t break the bank – for they are actually very creditable sparkling wines, and the majority of your guests are unlikely to notice the difference:
This is perhaps my favourite of the bunch – Terre de La Baume Crémant de Limoux (not yet available in UK). Delicate bubbles, apples, white blossom, hint of lime, refreshing and light. Seek this out on your next trip to France.
Calvet Crémant de Bordeaux Rosé – great value for money. Delicate fruit on both nose and palate. Aromatic and slightly flinty, creamy with red berries. Available at Ocado.
Arthur Metz Cuvée 1904 (not yet available in UK) – bright, traditional with good body, well-balanced and elegant.
Crémant de Sauvion – brioche on nose and palate, good bubbles, white fruit, well-balanced, perfect for aperitif. Available at Oxford Wine Company.
Any of these sparkling wines would find a place at your table or on your drinks trolley at Christmas. They offer an affordable alternative to Champagne and can be enjoyed with white meat, white fish, canapés and fruity desserts. Serve chilled to get the best from these bottles.
Drinks review by Chrissie Walker © 2018