In November, the French #Winophiles reviewed festive holiday-worthy crémants from various wine regions of France. Crémant is the official term for a sparkling wine made anywhere outside Champagne, even if it's made in the Champagne method or, methode champenoise. We received samples of 3 different Crémant d'Alsace AOP wines thanks to Teuwen Communications (http://teuwen.com/), and we've reviewed two of the bottles here. Like in Champagne, the sparkling wines of Alsace are made using white and red grapes, and can be white or rosé in colour. The grapes used for Crémants d'Alsace - in various combinations or as a single varietal - are riesling, pinot blanc, pinot gris, pinot noir, chardonnay, auxerrois blanc.
In the festive spirit, we decided to do more than just sip the wines as apéritifs or with a meal: Crémant d'Alsace cocktails! Many of the classic Champagne cocktails work brilliantly with Crémant d'Alsace - both Alsace and Champagne are far north, have the same bottle shape, and are comparable in many ways despite the soils being rather different. E.g. Champagne does not have the volcanic soil that parts of Alsace do. Nevertheless, cocktails it was!
LUCIEN ALBRECHT CRÉMANT D'ALSACE BRUT NV, SRP $21.99
The history of Maison Lucien Albrecht dates to the 15th century in southern Alsace. From then to now, they have gained a reputation as one of the premier wine makers in Alsace. Although in 2012 they joined the Wolfberger family, they continue to uphold the discerning Albrecht approach to winemaking. The Brut has fine persistent bubbles, a beautiful straw colour, and a nose full of floral aromas. Juicy acidity on the palate with toast and white flowers, a balanced wine with a medium finish. We enjoyed the delicious Lucien Albrecht blanc de blancs in two different ways: a classic elderflower cocktail and a blood orange cocktail.
Both cocktails were excellent with the crisp fresh crémant, and the rosemary sprig added just enough resinous woodsy flavour to complement the floral notes in the wine. A combo we'd gladly do again! The cocktails come together quite quickly, making them ideal for a party of two or twenty alike! We also had a salmon, corn, and orzo pasta with a lemony dill vinaigrette - superb with the wine! Overall the Lucien Albrecht crémant is a versatile wine - equally at home with food, on it's own, or mixed into a cocktail.
GUSTAVE LORENTZ CRÉMANT D'ALSACE BRUT NV, SRP $24.99
Domaine Gustave Lorentz was established in 1836 and remains a family owned winery that has consistently upheld their vision and quality. It is also one of the most widely distributed Alsace brands, sold in 57 countries!
The Brut is a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc and Pinot Noir. A lovely straw colour leads to small and persistent bubbles, a nose of autumn fruit like pears, and of course, the yeasty aroma of brioche. The same notes show on the palate, along with a lively minerality and smooth mouthfeel.
We made two different cocktails with this one as well: one with a bit of raw sugar and Grand Marnier, which only enhanced the other white fruit on the palate. Topped slowly with the crémant so as not to stir it up too much. A most refreshing cocktail! The other with a hint of raw sugar soaked in cognac and lemon juice then topped with the crémant.
Also see what exciting things the other Winophiles did with their crémant samples:
Liz Barrett from What’s In That Bottle is writing “Affordalicious Alsace: Best Bubbles for the Buck”
Jill Barth from L’Occasion will show us “A Festival of French Crémant”
Robin Renken from Crushed Grape Chronicles will publish “A Sparkling Rosé by any other name…just might be a Crémant”
Camilla Mann will talk about a tasting pairing, Lingcod, Legumes, and Domaine Mittnacht Frères Crémant d’Alsace on her blog Culinary Adventures with Cam.
Susannah Gold from avivinare.com will share her post “French Cremant – Perfect Sparklers for the Holiday Season” Susannah is also on Twitter @vignetocomm and Insta: @vignetocomms)
Martin Redmond will be “Elevating Weeknight Fare with Cremant d’Alsace” at the Enofylz Wine Blog
Nicole Ruiz Hudson’s post on SommsTable.com will be “Crémants for Going Out and Staying In”
Wendy Klik of A Day in the Life on the Farm is writing “Rustic Elegance; Fall Vegetable Soup paired with Cremant” which sounds perfect for Thanksgiving!
Jane Niemeyer will teach us “How to Pair Crémant d’Alsace and Food” at alwaysravenous.com
Payal Vora’s post at Keep the Peas will be called “Crémant d’Alsace: More Than Just A Sparkling Wine”
Lauren Walsh from The Swirling Dervish will “Add a Little Sparkle to Your Holiday with Crémant d’Alsace”.
Jeff Burrows will be pairing “Elegant Crémant de Bourgogne Served with Lobster Two Ways” at foodwineclick.com
Gwendolyn Alley from winepredator.com is going to be looking at Crémants from a variety of regions in her post this weekend.
David Crowley from cookingchatfood.com will be discussing the “Best Food Pairings for Crémant d’Alsace”
Rupal Shankar the Syrah Queen will be giving us “Five Reasons to Drink Crémant d’Alsace this Holiday Season”
Neil will be joining us from Eat, Live, Travel, Write with a post entitled “Champagne taste but not a Champagne budget? An exploration of France’s Crémant wines”