Vitteaut-Alberti – Crémant de Bourgogne, Blanc de Blancs
Style: Blanc de Blancs, Crémant de Bourgogne AOP
Grape Variety/ies: 80% Chardonnay, 20% Aligoté
The Vitteaut-Alberti family estate is situated in Rully, in the Côte Chalonnaise region of Burgundy. For three generations, the Vitteaut-Alberti family have specialised in sparkling wine, aiming to produce only the highest quality products and to pass down their knowledge and expertise for years to come. Their passion and authenticity extends itself to the vine growers, cellarhands and other team members, combining many ideas and techniques with one clear purpose.
Lucien Vitteaut and his wife, Maria, (née Alberti) founded the estate in 1951. At the time, Crémant as a category did not exist, instead people referred to the non-Champagne sparkling wines as Vin Mousseux. The term Crémant originally came about as the wines were usually made with lower carbon dioxide pressure and thought to have a “creamy” texture as opposed to a fully sparkling one.
However, the majority of Crémant today have equal pressure levels to Champagne. Crémant de Bourgogne was designated its own category in 1975. Within AOP law, Crémant de Bourgogne must be made from at least 30% Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc or Pinot Gris and aged for a minimum of one year.
The Vitteaut-Alberti’s decision to use higher percentages of the classic grape varieties, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, along with extended aging helps to create fuller-bodied, richly textured wines.
In 1968, Lucien and Maria’s son, Gérard joined the business along with his wife, Danielle. They aimed to develop the sales activity of the company and set up a personalised customer service scheme to maintain loyalty amongst their customers. At this point, 30,000 bottles were being sold each year.
The 1970s saw investment back into the business with improvements taking place in the winery with a new bottling line, mechanical disgorgement and automatic labelling machines. The only slight downside is that it had to be built over the vegetable garden!
At the forefront of the burgeoning sparkling wine industry, Gérard Vitteaut was the youngest member of the group which began the creation of the Crémant de Bourgogne appellation.
Leading on from their continued successes, both politically and in the vineyard, Gérard and Danielle decided to plant a vineyard specifically based on the terroir, the grape varieties and the viticultural techniques used. We may think these are obvious considerations now, but they were ahead of the time.
In 1977, the company owned nine hectares of vines: three of Chardonnay, four of Pinot Noir and two of Aligoté. The vineyards are at 400 metres above sea level and on a mixture of clay, marl and limestone soils.
In 1998, the Saint-Vincent Tournante festival was held in Rully. For the first time in its history, Crémant de Bourgogne was served in recognition of the AOP.
To celebrate their 50th anniversary in 2001, the family produced a limited-edition Blanc de Blancs from 100% Chardonnay.
From 1968 to 2002, from 30,000 bottles produced to over 300,000 bottles.
Agnès Vitteaut joined her mother and father in the business in 2004 after having studied Law and Oenology. Her focus is mainly on expanding the sales activities and exporting to new markets. As such, it was time for another reboot of the facilities with a complete overhaul bringing all aspects of winemaking under one roof. Agnès also introduced a system to create traceability of every bottle from vine to customer.
By 2009, the company had increased its vineyard holdings and now owns almost 17 hectares in both the Côte Chalonnaise and Hautes-Côtes de Beaune.
Progressing with the theme of success which this family estate thrives on, the vineyards themselves are far from overlooked. A ‘lutte raisonnée’ approach is taken, which means that the vines are left alone as much as possible. The use of fertilisers are limited and only carried out when the vines require them, rather than systematically by a calendar. Soil analysis is regularly gathered in order to maintain a healthy balance between the earth and pesticide use. The vines are all trained on high trellises with classic Guyot pruning and grass is encouraged to grow between the rows to aid biodiversity.
The Vitteaut-Alberti family are focusing on working with nature
and minimalising their environmental impact.
As dictated by AOP law, the grapes must be hand-harvested. The grapes are handled carefully to avoid them being crushed and releasing free-run juice. Whole bunches are brought to the pneumatic press via conveyor belt where they are pressed in stages. Each grape variety is vinified separately at this stage.
Crémant de Bourgogne is produced using the traditional method, the same as Champagne. Maison Vitteaut-Alberti use 50hl pneumatic presses with controlled, progressive increases in pressure. The must is fined and settled for 24 hours prior to fermentation which is inoculated with specially selected strains of yeast. Standard vinification occurs in thermo-regulated stainless steel vats at 20°C. The wine then undergoes malolactic fermentation and is left to rest on its lees in tank for the entire winter. The following Spring sees the final assemblage, (blending) commence. Secondary fermentation is started by the addition of the tirage, (sugar and base wine) and aging takes place in temperature-controlled cellars at 15°C. The wine is aged in bottle for a minimum of 16 – 18 months. The final product will reach approximately six bars of pressure, the same as Champagne.
Appearance: A rich golden hue with plenty of reasonably sized bubbles.
Aromas: Crisp green apple, elderflower and gooseberry aromas are balanced by a touch of brioche in the background. Gentle notes of baked lemon and stewed apples.
Palate: A rich mouthfeel with a very generous texture. Vibrant green apple and gooseberry flavours with a tiny note of tropical sweetness. Zesty citrus with gentle baked pastry undertones creating good depth. Ripe peach tones appear as the liquid warms up.
This is a superb wine with the right balance of complexity and refreshing acidity. A high quality everyday sparkling. The ethos of the whole production is amazing.