It’s New Year’s again. A time when enjoying wine on the night before and the day of is not only condoned but expected. So start anew with resolve and gratitude while celebrating with the ol’ bubbly.
French Champagnes make a terrific sparkling wine choice. Bien sûr! But well made sparkling Crémants from Alsace and the Loire can match Champagne for quality but with better prices. Success turns on starting with high quality grapes and then relying on the time-tested method of using secondary fermentation in the bottle for nose tingling, taste bud teasing bubbles.
In Eguisheim, Alsace, talented vigneron Philippe Zinck (pictured above) makes the delicious N.V. Domaine Zinck, Crémant d’Alsace Brut, France (around $20 nationally) from Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes. For added complexity, secondary fermentation occurs in the bottles on the lees over twelve months. The wine offers frothy berry and citrus aromas with light yeastiness. Ripe fruity notes balance the clean, dry finish. Zinck’s meticulous attention to detail and passion shine in this lovely, inspiring wine. Highly Recommended.
In the Loire Valley, vigneron Vincent Girault uses a blend of hand-picked Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay and Cabernet Franc grapes for the terrific N.V. Clos de la Briderie, “Pureté de Silex,” Crémant de Loire Brut, France (around $20 nationally). The vines grow near the Loire River in flinty limestone soils. Girault farms biodynamically without synthetic chemical applications. His living soils and hardy vines naturally highlight the terroir by producing fruit with distinct personality.
“Wine is a four-sided pyramid consisting the terroir of the soil and sub-soils, the climate, the grape varietals and agriculture methods,” Girault notes. “No great wines without great terroir, and no good wines without good agriculture.”
Secondary fermentation and aging of the wine on the lees in bottles takes place over two years. The wine’s complexity and quality shine beginning with the dusky pink color and the persistent bubbly beads. Inviting peach and light smoky aromas open to fresh citrus and peach flavors. Vibrant acidity and clean minerality balance the fresh, dry finish that persists with frothy delight. Délicieux! Highly Recommended.
Cheers and Happy New Year! Bonne Année! Felice Anno Nuovo!