Albrecht Cremant d'Alsace Brut Rosé
You didn’t think we would do anything without including bubbles did you? Cremant d’Alsace is one of our favorites too so let’s break it down.
Alsace (Pronounced: Al-zas) is a wine region on the very eastern side of France in a valley along the Rhine River. It’s a very interesting region because at times the area has belonged to both France and to Germany and there are definitely influences from both cultures on the region and on the wine.
90% of the wine produced here is white. And Crémant d’Alsace is the fastest growing AOC in the region (an AOC is a French certification granted based on specific geographical indications - basically it is similar to the AVA system here in America but much stricter and with more rules and guidelines). Alsace has also been referred to as “the best value for the money in non-champagne French Fizz”
The white brut-style sparkling for this area is primarily made with Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, and Riesling - because this region has a ton of germanic influence they are most known for producing varietals like Riesling and Gewurztraminer.
But the Rosés from this region are pretty special because they are 100% Pinot Noir. The reason that is so special is because sparkling wines are so often a blend of many different grapes, and even the rosé sparkling wines tend to be a mix of red and white varietals, often with the color coming not from skin contact but from the blending of red wine to tint the overall color.
This wine is a cremant and the term cremant refers to any traditional method sparkling wine from France made outside of the Champagne region. I’m sure you’ve heard it before, but wines can only be called Champagne if they were made in Champagne. That means even if they are made using the same method of production they have to be called something else, and in France that term is Cremant. Additionally Cremants have slightly less regulation around them than Champagne so producers have a little bit more room to play around. And unlike Champagne which is largely made from just 3 different grapes: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, Cremants can be made from any grapes and will typically be those most common to the region.
If you’re wondering what the traditional / Champagne method is we’ll break it down for you quickly.
The grapes are harvested and a still base wine is produced. This is through the same primary fermentation process that still wines go through - namely the grapes are crushed and primary fermentation occurs when yeast converts the natural sugars in the grapes into alcohol. At this point you officially have wine and you could technically bottle and sell it as a finished product from here.
The wine however is placed into bottle at this point and the next step in the process is the “tirage”. Tirage or Liqueur de Tirage is a liquid solution of yeast, wine and sugar that is added to the still base wine in order to start a secondary fermentation in bottle.
After the tirage is added to the base wine the bottle is sealed with a crown cap and this secondary fermentation takes place inside each individual bottle. This is really where the magic happens. This secondary fermentation is the exact same process as the primary fermentation - the yeast converts the sugar into alcohol. But an important byproduct of fermentation is CO2. As this chemical reaction occurs CO2 is given off - during a typical fermentation the CO2 would simply float off since typically fermentation takes place in an open container.
But because this secondary fermentation is taking place within the closed bottles the CO2 gas has nowhere to go and instead it gets absorbed into the wine - thus creating the bubbles.
Albrecht Cremant d’Alsace Brut Rose
Lucien Albrecht Winery was founded in 1698 and they were actually one of the wineries that was instrumental in securing the cremant designation in Alsace. Though they also make delicious still wines they are known primarily for their sparkling wines. All of their wines are estate grown with minimal intervention and as of 2012 the winery and vineyards are certified sustainable.
This wine is loaded with red fruits, you can even tell but the rich color that it has a lot going on. Tons of wild strawberries on the nose and on the palate this is a very fun, very rich and savory sparkling wine that will be great all on it’s own or with an equally rich and decadent cheese platter.