Crémant d’Alsace sparkles
Crémant d’Alsace is second only to Champagne in sales of French sparkling wine. It’s only a fraction of Champagne sales, but still highly significant, accounting for about a quarter of the region’s wine.
“Crémant is the big story in Alsace today,”
Said Alain Beydon-Schlumberger of Domaines Schlumberger.
“It is very good quality – we win all of the tastings of crémant in France – and it’s much cheaper than Champagne. You can buy it for as little as 6 Euros.”
According to the general manager of Cave de Beblenheim, Patrick Aledo, Alsace produces more than half the crémant in France – 45 million bottles – a big increase from a decade ago when it was less than 30 million.
The co-operatives produce the largest volumes: Wolfberger produces 6 to 7 million bottles a year (half its total production); Cave de Beblenheim produces 2 million bottles a year and Kuehn 1 million.
The wines are made mainly from pinot blanc and pinot auxerrois. Strangely, both varieties can be labelled pinot blanc. Chardonnay, pinot noir, pinot gris and riesling can also be included, and the method is the same as for Champagne. Indeed, it was after a visit to Champagne that Julien Dopff pioneered Crémant d’Alsace in the year 1900. Dopff au Moulin’s wine, named Cuvée Julien after him, is still among the region’s best. The AOC Crémant d’Alsace was created in 1976.
The wines tend to be clean and well-made, fresher and lighter than Champagne and less complex: good aperitif styles.
Some good examples of Crémant d’Alsace:
- Joseph Cattin 2010 Brut Millésime (Importer: Bacchus Wine Merchant – tasting)
- Albert Mann 2013 Extra Brut (Importer: World Wine Estates – tasting)
- Dopff au Moulin Cuvée Julien (Importer: Woolworths / Dan Murphy’s – tasting)
- Wolfberger (Importer: Coles / Vintage Cellars – tastings)
- Kuehn Extra Brut Cuvée (Australian retailer: Mr Liquor stores – tasting)
- Kuehn Brut (tasting)
- Jean-Marc Bernhard 2013 Brut Reserve (tasting)
*The final 50-odd tasting notes from my Alsace trip have been uploaded to the app. Search for these producers:
- Domaine Bott-Geyl (tastings)
- Jean-Marie Haag (tastings)
- Domaine Hubert Metz (tastings)
- Joseph Cattin (tastings)
- Domaines Schlumberger (tastings)
- Domaine Jean-Marc Bernhard (tastings)
- Klur (tastings)
- Cave de Beblenheim (tastings)
- Kubler (tastings)