This French Crémant (crim-AUNT) hails from the Alsace region of France, where they aren’t allowed to call their sparkling wines Champagne. They fear the thousand farmers with axes who could descend upon their vineyards and wreak grape havoc. Yes indeedy, they respect the boundaries of their fellow growers to the south and label their bubblies the correct way.
But it’s got to be tempting to break that rule. Outside their homeland, so few people understand what “Crémant” means on a label that it hurts their sales. Sure, the French know what it is — an inexpensive alternative to Champagne made in the same way — but the growing American wine drinking public generally don’t. This is kind of a good thing. Like Pinot Noir drinkers before Sideways released, people “in the know” can enjoy great Champagne-esque wine at lower prices.
Like this one from a French wine family that dates back to the 1400’s: Lucien Albrecht. Made from 100% Pinot Blanc grapes (prevalent in Alsace – read my story on Alsacian wines), it has a different flavor profile than bubblies made from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Medium-bodied, it sports ripe red apples, flowery dried apricots, roasted nuts and a slight earthiness, reminiscent of wet rocks on the finish. Clean, refreshing and fantastic wine for the money.
Sweetness: 1 out of 10
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Occasion: Tasted at a holiday party and very much enjoyed.
Availability: Fine wine shops and occasionally at big box discount stores.