Today’s post is about Crémant D’Alsace and is part of this month’s French Winophiles blogging group . Many of us received samples, including me, from Teuwen Communications. When the box came in the mail, I was thrilled to see three bottles of beautiful wine and decided I would write three separate posts and dive into these wonderful wines slowly. As a lover of sparkling wine, this will not be hard. While most people who know me, think of me as an Italophile, the truth is long before I fell in love with Italy, I was a Francophile. I even majored in French in college and considered becoming a French professor so these virtual trips to France through French wines make me very happy.
Crémant D’Alsace is made in the traditional method with seconday refermentation done in the bottle rather than in autoclave or tank. Many regions of France produce their own Crémant. In terms of price, these wines are all imminently affordable and this holiday season they should be on everyone’s minds as a possible alternative to more expensive ones – be it for a Thanksgiving feast, a friendsgiving or a holiday party, Crémant D’Alsace should be on your radar.
Our host this month is Kat Wisnosky of Bacchus Travel & Tours, and you can read more about Crémant and the French Winophiles group in her invitation and preview posts.
We will be chatting on Twitter later today Saturday, November 17th, at 11 am ET. Follow #Winophiles and join the conversation.
The grapes that go into Crémant d’Alsace are picked early to retain good acidity and stylistically the wines are bright and fresh. A number of grapes can be used in the production of Crémant d’Alsace including Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, Riesling and Chardonnay. Crémant d’Alsace is comes in a brut or a rosé version. I found many wines listed in wine-searcher.com for an average price anywhere between $15-$20.
Today’s wine is from Keuntz-Bas and it is a Crémant d’Alsace Brut made with Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc and Pinot Auxerrois, a sibling of Chardonnay. The chateau was founded in 1795. The domaine was created through the union of two families through marriage hence the name, Kuentz-Bas in 1895. In 2004, the estate changed hands and is now owned by Jean-Baptiste Adam. He is from an old wine-making family as well and has worked to restore the estate to its former grandeur.
The estate has 10 hectares of vines near the village of Husseren les Châteaux, the highest village on the Alsatian wine road. Most vines are between 25 to 75 years and the soils are predominantly composed of limestone-clay. Their have a number of different parcels some inside the Eichberg and Pfersigberg Grands Crus and those grapes go into their most important bottlings.
They have both organic and biodynamic certifications and follow the “lutte raisonnée, or “reasoned fight” which means that they are very attentive to what they put in the vineyards and they work to increase biodiversity and the health of their soils constantly with different natural techniques. In terms of vinification, their winemaker is Olivier Raffin who works to intervene as little as possible. The grapes are hand harvested and the whole bunches are delicately pressed pneumatically.
They have a number of different offerings. Among them, is the tradition line which I am tasting. The grapes are grown on limestone loess and loam/clay at between 300 and 400 metres in altitude. The fruit is 100% hand-harvested and the grapes pressed for 3 to 6 hours before decantation and until the beginning of the fermentation.The mature “sur lies.” The goal with these wines is to have a true expression of the grape variety. They look for fresh fruit aromas of stone fruit and floral notes with a creamy soft bouquet and a delicate fine perlage. I’d say they hit their goal. It was a lovely, round and supple wine with exactly those fresh stone fruit aromas that I hoped to find. I had it as an aperitif last night after work and it was a lovely welcome to the end of the week. It would also be wonderful with an tart from the area. I think I will prepare one when I open the other two bottles. This has been a wonderful time for me and a trip back to my first love – France – as I study for the French Wine Scholar exam with the Wine Scholar Guild.
Here’s a preview of what each of the French Winophiles will be sharing this month:
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.
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”
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”
Kat Wisnosky from Bacchus Travel & Tours will share a double delight: a food post and a travel post while
Lauren Walsh from The Swirling Dervish will share “Add a Little Sparkle to Your Holiday with Crémant d’Alsace”
and here at avvinare.com I’m sharing “French Cremant – Perfect Sparklers for the Holiday Season”
About the French Winophiles
We are a group of food-loving wine aficionados who have a penchant for French libations. On the third Saturday of each month we gather (virtually) in the Twittersphere to learn more about the history, culture, and gastronomy of France, one region or grape variety at a time. Feel free to join us next month as we prepare for A French-Style Season, to be hosted by Lynn Gowdy of Savor the Harvest. You can find us on social media any time using #Winophiles.
So impressive, the number of Alsace growers embracing organic and biodynamic viticulture!
I, too, will open each bottle separately so that I can learn about and enjoy each without competition. Very informative post. Thanks.
A wonderful read Susannah! Good lunch with the FWS!
sounds like a great wine– perfect for the holidays, as you mention!
I like your idea of spreading the Cremant tastings out over a few posts. Wish I had that much patience! Cheers!
Sounds lovely! Enjoy exploring the rest of the wines and your FWSG studies.
One of my favorite things about wine is reading about producers and these Crémant stories are so engrossing. Such great wines.