100% Pinot Blanc
- Bubbles from Alsace! Who knew!?!? Well, me…but that’s only because I’m a nerd for this stuff. Seriously though, Alsace barely gets a look-in on most restaurant wine lists and even less on retailers’ shelves. Shame really, since they tend to be some of my favorite white wines coming out of France. Petition your local Sommelier, I say!!!
- The Helfrich family, even though they’re “old school Alsace,” and farming from some of the oldest vineyards in the region, have a tendency to employ more modern winemaking practices, but with a minimalist touch. Can you taste all of “that” in the wine? Well, kind-of. It’s all to do with “letting the grapes do the talking.” What would be the opposite of this approach? Pickup a bottle of Apothic…
- Similar to the grapes that go into Champagne, grapes for Cremant d’Alsace wines must be hand harvested and must be made using much of the same techniques as they use in Champagne. If a winery doesn’t adhere to these rules, they would lose the right to label as Cremant d’Alsace.
- Alsace is the second northernmost growing region in all of France, right after Champagne. Why does that matter? Well, it’s further from the equator so it’s quite a bit chillier than the regions of Rhone or Bordeaux etc. For this reason, the grapes are mainly white.
- The most widely planted grapes in Alsace include: Muscat, Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer and Riesling. Red grapes don’t get much of a say in matters, since their skins tend to be thicker than white grapes and need more sunlight to ripen. They do grow a bit of Pinot Noir in Alsace, but I’ve never been much of a fan.
I definitely think the Helfrich Cremant d’Alsace over-delivers for the price. It has the yeasty-bready nose you would expect from a Champagne, with the usual green apple, pear and a hint of vanilla. Plenty of minerality, with a smidge of lemon zest and honey. Medium-long dry finish. Good juice.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, bubbles are some of the most food-friendly wines on the planet! Pair this with anything. Seriously. Anything.