So after a brief flirtation with the greatness that is Italian Franciacorta sparkling wine, I have come down to earth with a sparkling style of wine I’ve been wanting to try for ages – Cremant d’Alsace.
Now I have not seen many positive reviews on CellarTracker at all on this stuff and can’t even find one that breaks the 90 point score. Yet, they must be doing something right because the stuff sells like hotcakes out of the LCBO here in Ontario, especially Rosé versions. I literally got one of the last two bottles throughout the entire system two weeks ago and have finally cracked it open. So how is it?
PIERRE SPARR NV CREMANT D’ALSACE BRUT ROSE – A very pale translucent pink in the glass. On the nose, light aromas of fresh strawberries and toast. In the mouth, some subtle and rather dilute strawberry fruit flavors take a backseat to high acidity and yeast flavors.
The body is nice and creamy with a fine mousse but not a persistent one; on mouthfeel alone I can tell there is far less pressure here than in a grower’s champagne. If I needed any more convincing, the telltale sign of little to no bubbles rising in my still glass gives it away.
Mixed feelings on this one. On the one hand, it’s a good wine with subtle fruit flavors, creamy body and decent acidity. On the other, the wine is unbalanced because the fruit flavor is too subtle and therefore as a whole it leans far too much in the favor of the acidity and the yeast. it’s pleasant and definitely a good QPR value but could definitely use more fruit flavor and would have been amazing with it. As it is, it doesn’t come anywhere near the nice grower’s Rosés I’ve had over the last year.
I should also point out that the wine is a great match with salty food which really brought out more of the strawberry flavors. So much so that a slice of multigrain bread with salted butter was actually quite a good food match with it as was a vegetable crudité with fresh blue cheese dressing.
I will enjoy the rest of this bottle but don’t really feel the need to purchase another as I lean more towards Rosé grower’s champagne.
I would pour out a glass, put the champagne stopper in the bottle and put it back in the fridge for a few days. This will soften it a bit and the fruit should come out more. But it will never be like a grower rose (but is obviously 1/2-1/3 the price).
My local World Market was recently blowing this out at about $6 a bottle. I bought all that was left–a measly 4 bottles or so–and nearly threw my arm out patting myself on the back all the way home. Nice bottle!
What a fantastic deal on this wine. I’ve only had one bottle and loved it. But I can’t locate it locally now. Kept the bottle though, just to remind myself to keep trying to find it. I’d pay $20 no problem, but $6 is giving it away.
Sorry, I should point out that the Pierre Sparr is indeed 100% Pinot Noir as well. It’s high-enough quality that I am still somewhat curious about how Alsacian Pinot Noir and Pinot Noir Rosé would be like despite everyone here telling me on the board that Alsacian producers themselves don’t think much of it.
Regarding the advice above to save the wine and try it over a few days, after initially having two glasses after opening the bottle last night (one to savor with dinner and the other to focus on and make the intial TN of this thread with) I have in fact transferred the remaining contents of the bubbly into a glass-lok bottle which actually did an excellent job of preserving fizz overnight.
I will give the wine another try over the next couple of days and report on its evolution.
Oh yes, great job on the acquisition for $6 a bottle. Despite my mixed review above, I would’ve done exactly the same thing in your position if the wine had been on sale for that price.
Of course, if any of you have seen the LCBO documentary I linked to previously in a different thread, you’d know that’s just a pipe dream here in Ontario…
Sorry for the thread drift and thanks for posting this note, but yes I was pleased. World Market is a strange place. Largely mass market wines that merit little attention, but they always seem to have something on extreme clearance or some one-off lot from a small producer I’ve never heard of that can sometimes entice. They have a bunch of back vintages of Covey Run wines right now, and while that’s a cheapie to begin with, the riesling is quite nice for $3.99.