Best French Sparkling Wine for New Year's Eve: Crémant d'Alsace Brut Rosé

Best for the money, that is….read on!

Lucien Albrecht Crémant d'Alsace Rosé. French elegance for around $20 a bottle.

Lucien Albrecht Crémant d’Alsace Rosé. French elegance for around $20 a bottle.

I once wrote for a travel magazine that stood behind its hotel and restaurant recommendations so thoroughly that the editor would cut a check for anyone who wrote to complain that we had misled them into dining or staying at a place that wasn’t worthy of their time and money.

During the five or so years that I wrote for them, such a thing only happened once that I know if. That’s how thoroughly vetted our recommendations were.

Imagine Yelp doing that! Ha!

Just tasted this one recently, and enjoyed it very much.

Fabulous for the price. You could spend twice or three times as much for a similar bottle from Champagne, France, but this version is made with the same grape (Pinot Noir) and using the same elaborate time-consuming methods.

If I had the budget that this magazine once hand, I would do the very same about today’s recommendation. I am so confident that you will like Crémant d’Alsace Brut Rosé, that I’d almost be willing to reimburse you for the bottle if you didn’t. (Alas, I can’t quite do that….but do understand my commitment to this recommendation!).

One caveat: I should qualify this by saying that if you love dry blanc-de-noir sparkling wines—those made from Pinot Noir—that cost under $25, then you’ll enjoy Crémant d’Alsace Brut Rosé.

At their best, they bring lively red-fruit notes that toggle fascinatingly between fresh and dried strawberries, with a nicely creamy texture. I love the whisper of powdered-sugar sweetness that sometimes unfolds. And I mean a whisper—it kind of reminds me of the way strawberries have a tartness, so you sprinkle them with a wee bit of powdered sugar, which dissolves on the tongue while the berries do their jazzy berry thing. That’s what I think of when I taste that phantom sweetness in a good Crémant d’Alsace Rosé.

Oh….and if you want a second opinion about these wines, here’s what Tom Stevenson, author of the Sotheby’s Wine Encyclopedia, has to say about Sparkling Rosés from Alsace:

“These delightful wines can have a finer purity of perfume and flavor
than many pink Champagnes.”

He’s talking specifically about Champagne with a capital “C”—those hallowed (and expensive) bottles from the Champagne region of France.

And while certainly, if someone were going to offer me a choice between a gift of a $75 pink Champagne or a $20 of pink Crémant d’Alsace, I’d probably chose the former. But if I have to shell out my own money, I’m definitely going to choose the latter, and spend the savings on some great French cheeses…..

PS: Generally, Crémant d’Alsace rosés weigh in at just 12% alcohol, which truly makes them my kind of wine.

Pâté Canapé: Lush, elegant choice for New Year's Eve.

Pâté Canapé: Lush, elegant choice for New Year’s Eve.

What to Serve with Crémant d’Alsace Brut Rosé

Anything! Seriously–sparking wines in general are some of the most food-friendly wines around, and sparking pinks that are made of Pinot Noir can’t be beat. If, however, you’re looking for some specific ideas for New Years Eve or New Year’s Day, check out these links:

• A Canapé for the Holiday: Elegant, easy three-ingredient nibble.
How to Serve a Cheese Course: You are planning a cheese course for your New Year’s Eve party, right? Crémant d’Alsace would go swimmingly with that!
Salmon and Herb Crêpes for New Year’s Eve: Smoked salmon is classic French New Year’s fare. And here’s a great way to serve them.
French brunch eggs: Baked eggs–super simple for New Year’s Day…and the Crémant d’Alsace will go swimmingly with it!

Useful Vocabulary Words

• Crémant: A term used for certain French sparkling wines made outside of the Champagne region of France (winemakers outside of Champagne cannot label their bottles “Champagne”). The term is usually followed by where it’s from: Crémant d’Alsace, Crémant de Bourgogne, Crémant de Loire, etc.

• Blanc de Noirs: A term that literally means “white from black,” and refers to light-color Champagnes made from dark (i.e. red) grapes, specifically Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier.

• Rosé Sparkling Wines: A more broad term for pink sparkling wines. Some are made just like Blanc de Noir (that is, from Pinot Noir and/or Pinot Meunier), but they can also be made from other red grapes, or even blends of red and white grapes.

Enjoy. And Happy New Year.

 


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