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Marcel Martin Cremant de Loire Brut Tete de Cuvee 

Loire Valley, France

Retail $23

Cremants are French sparkling wines made in the methode traditionelle, in which the second fermentation takes place in the bottle, just like Champagne. The wines generally are less expensive than those from the Champagne region. The Loire Valley, one of France's eight sparkling wine appellations designated "cremant," is the country's largest sparkling wine producer after Champagne. Located on the Loire River's southern banks, Saumur and its surroundings are the center of the zone's sparkling wine production. Laws and strict production methods require hand-harvesting, limited yields and a year's bottle aging. The grapes for this wine, a cuvee of 70 percent chenin blanc, 20 percent chardonnay and 10 percent cabernet Franc, were sourced from Anjou and Touraine. Along with lively effervescence, it offers aromas of lemon curd, green apple and floral notes. On the palate, taste pear, more citrus, hints of almonds and toast. Drink it as an aperitif or with smoked salmon, caviar, foie gras, shrimp remoulade, crabmeat dishes, soft, mild cheeses and popcorn. Buy it at: Bin 428 and Swirl Wine Bar & Market. Drink it at: Restaurant August, Atchafalaya, Dante's Kitchen and Andy's Bistro.

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