Hidden Treasure of France – Crémant d’Alsace
In the UK, when we think of sparkling wines, the first and favourite that springs to mind is Italian prosecco. This fizzy tipple has become so popular that, for the first time in history, Britons spent more on prosecco during 2014 than on it’s more prestigious French counterparts from Champagne. However, I believe that the sparkling wines of Alsace are very underrated in the UK, and they offer great quality for their price.
Crémant d’Alsace, the most prolific appellation in France is made from either a blend of grape varieties (the most common method) or from a single variety, which must be stated on the label. The permitted grape varieties used to create Crémant d’Alsace include Riesling, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir, Auxerrois and Chardonnay.
As with all French sparkling wine appellations, the methode traditionelle is employed. This means that the wines must spend a minimum of nine months maturing in their lees to ensure a certain complexity of flavour. The finished wines often have a toasty, nutty, sometimes flinty character. Immediately after disgorgement, a dosage is added to the wines to bolster their sweetness. The balance of sugars and wines administered in the dosage determine the sweetness of the final product – brut (very dry), sec (dry) or demi-sec (medium-dry).
If you’ve not tried Crémant d’Alsace, I would encourage you to do so. Or if you’d prefer to experience them at their point of origin, check out SmoothRed‘s website for some wine tour inspiration. Below is a list of my personal favourites to start you off. Enjoy!
- Wolfberger Crémant d’Alsace Brut, France, Pinot Blanc £8.00
- Pfaffenheim – Pfaff Crémant d’Alsace Blanc de Blancs Brut, France, Pinot d’Alsace £9.00
- Wolfberger Crémant d’Alsace Chardonnay Extra Brut, France, Chardonnay £9.00
- Louis Sipp Crémant d’Alsace, France, Rare white blend £15.00
- Rene Sparr Crémant d’Alsace ‘Excellence’ Rose Brut, France £13.00