Let’s face it: There is nothing quite like Champagne. But the bubbly from the French appellation of the same name is expensive when compared with sparkling wines from just about any other wine region.
One of those regions, France’s Alsace, offers delicious sparkling wines at phenomenal values. As in some other non-Champagne French regions, the sparkling wines of Alsace begin with the word “Crémant” — so in addition to Crémant d’Alsace, you’ll find Crémant de Bourgogne and Crémant de Loire, for example.
There are quite a few examples of Crémant d’Alsace available in this country, and I wouldn’t hesitate to try whatever is available at your local wine store. One worth seeking out is the Crémant d’Alsace “Tradition” Brut from Kuentz-Bas, a winery that dates to 1795 and produces a wide range of wines.
At around $25, it’s half the price of many Champagnes and is just delightful for easy sipping. Made by the Champagne or “traditional” method, with a secondary fermentation in bottle, the wine is a blend of two of Alsace’s signature white grapes: 60 percent Pinot Blanc and 40 percent Pinot Auxerrois. The combination is typical of Crémant d’Alsace.
And it produces charming results in this brut or dry-style wine, which is crisp, light, and lemony with fine bubbles. Beyond its dominant citrus character, there are subtle sour cherry and strawberry notes, along with touches of sage, minerals, and a nice creamy layer on the finish. Sounds quite like Champagne, doesn’t it?
While it doesn’t have as much of that quintessential brioche character of some Champagnes, there’s a hint of it. All in all, this is a superb sparkler that I think you’ll find every bit as fun and festive as Champagne — leaving you some cash left over for your next good bottle of wine.