Crémant d’Alsace is a sparkling wine made in north-eastern France in the wine growing region of Alsace. It is made in the same production method as Champagne. (Legally only sparkling wine grown and produced in the Champagne region of France can be called Champagne). Crémant d’Alsace comes in right behind Champagne as the second best selling sparkling wine in France. While the winemaking method and regulations of Crémant are similar to Champagne, the price is much lower, making it a quality wine, at a great value. So, what is the flavor profile and how and what foods to pair with Crémant d’ Alsace?
Crémant d’Alsace Flavor Profile
The grape varieties used in Crémant d’Alsace are; Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, Riesling, Auxerrois, and Chardonnay. The grapes are harvested earlier and exhibit fresh, crisp flavors with green fruit; apples and pears for the white grape varieties and red fruit; strawberries, cherries, and red currant for the Pinot Noir. The wines are often a blend of the grapes varieties, but can also be single varietals. For rosé wine, only Pinot Noir is allowed.
The Alsace growing region is warmer and sunnier than Champagne producing fruit that is riper, rounder, and with more body.
Crémant d’Alsace wines are aged for a minimum of 9 months on their lees (yeast cells) resulting in a richer, creamier texture with more complexity.
Disclosure: The wines were provided to me as media samples. All opinions are my own.
Helfrich Crémant d’Alsace Brut
12% abv | $24.99 SRP (sample) | 100% Pinot Blanc
Pale yellow in color. Fresh, crisp acidity with medium body. Notes of golden apple, pear, and lemon.
Lucien Albrecht Crémant d’Alsace Brut Rosé
12% abv | $22.00 SRP (sample) | %100 Pinot Noir
Pale salmon pink in color. Fresh, bright acidity with medium body. On the palate strawberries and cherries with a creamy mouthfeel.
Meyer-Fonné Crémant d’Alsace Extra NV
12% abv | $26.00 SRP (sample) | 60% Pinot Auxerrois, 20% Chardonnay, 15% Pinot Blanc, 5% Pinot Noir
Medium straw in color with hints of green. Notes of fresh apples and brioche with clean, crisp acidity and minerality.
How to Pair Crémant d’Alsace with Food
#1 Match the fruity flavor notes, creamy texture, and acidity in the wine with your food.
Lucien Albrecht Crémant d’Alsace Brut Rosé paired with Glazed Beet and Burrata Crostini – This appetizer from Food & Wine Magazine matches the fruity notes of the beets with the red fruit notes in the wine. The creamy burrata cheese and yeasty notes in the bread are matched with the creamy mouthfeel of the wine from aging on its lees. And finally, the acidity in the reduced sherry vinegar is matched in the fresh, crisp acidity of the wine.
#2 Contrast the fatty, salty flavors in the food with the acidity and bubbles in the wine.
Helfrich Cremant d’Alsace Brut paired with Spiced Calamari (recipe below) – The deep fried calamari with spices makes for a nice flavor contrast to the acidity in the wine, and the bubbles cleanse the palate. The aioli with its creamy texture also plays as a contrasting element.
#3 Counterbalancing the flavors and matching textures in both the wine and food.
Meyer-Fonné Crémant d’Alsace Brut Extra paired with Chicken Marbella (recipe below) – The bubbles in the wine counterbalance the briny salty capers and olives. While the yeasty, creamy notes found in the wine match the texture of the chicken and softened baked dates. The oregano and garlic help to elevate the minerality found in the wine. Complex flavors in both the wine and food make for an interesting match.
- 3 cups canola oil, for frying
- 1 lb. squid tubes and tentacles, cleaned (frozen works well)
- 1 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoons crushed sea salt flakes, less if using table salt
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon Piment d'Espelette
- 1/2 scant cup flour
Put the canola oil in a large stock pot over high heat. Get the oil very hot but not smoking.
While the oil warms up, cut the squid tubes into 1/2 inch thick rings and leave the tentacles whole. Dry them well with paper towels.
In a wide medium bowl, add black pepper, salt, cumin, coriander, Piment d' Espelette and flour. Mix well.
Add the squid to the spice flour mixture. Lightly toss and coat the squid.
Shake off excess coating from squid and fry them in batches. Cook for about one to one and half minutes or until golden in color. Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with paper towels. Serve hot with aioli and a glass of Crémant d' Alsace.
- 4 chicken breasts, skin on and bone in
- 5 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
- 1/2 + cup fresh oregano leaves, plus more for garnish
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup Cerignola green olives, pitted
- 6 tablespoons capers, with 2 tablespoons of their brine
- 5 oz. Medjool dates, pitted and cut in half lengthwise
- 2 bay leaves
- salt and pepper
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1 tablespoon molasses
In a large nonreactive container place the chicken, garlic, oregano, vinegar, oil, olives, capers, dates, bay leaves, and one teaspoon salt and freshly ground black pepper. Mix ingredients together and cover. Refrigerate for 1-2 days, stirring and turning chicken half way through process.
Preheat oven to 400 F.
On a roasting pan or oven proof baking dish with sides, place and spread out the chicken with all the ingredients and marinade. In a small bowl or glass measuring cup, whisk the wine and molasses together. Pour over the chicken. Place in the oven for 40-45 minutes or until chicken registers 165 F on an instant thermometer. Basting 2-3 times during cooking.
Serve on a large platter with oregano leaves as a garnish.
Check out my fellow French Winophiles for more great reading on Crémant
Thanks to our host Kat at Bacchus Travel and Tours!
Liz Barrett from What’s In That Bottle is writing “Affordalicious Alsace: Best Bubbles for the Buck”
You are reading L’Occasion, “A Festival of French Crémant”
Robin Renken from Crushed Grape Chronicles will publish “A Sparkling Rosé by any other name…just might be a Crémant”
Camilla Mann will talk about a tasting pairing, Lingcod, Legumes, and Domaine Mittnacht Frères Crémant d’Alsace on her blog Culinary Adventures with Cam.
Susannah Gold from avivinare.com will share her post “French Cremant – Perfect Sparklers for the Holiday Season”
Martin Redmond will be “Elevating Weeknight Fare with Cremant d’Alsace” at the Enofylz Wine Blog
Nicole Ruiz Hudson’s post on SommsTable.com will be “Crémants for Going Out and Staying In”
Wendy Klik of A Day in the Life on the Farm is writing “Rustic Elegance; Fall Vegetable Soup paired with Cremant” which sounds perfect for Thanksgiving!
Jane Niemeyer will teach us “How to Pair Crémant d’Alsace and Food”at alwaysravenous.com
Payal Vora’s post at Keep the Peas will be called “Crémant d’Alsace: More Than Just A Sparkling Wine”
Lauren Walsh from The Swirling Dervish will “Add a Little Sparkle to Your Holiday with Crémant d’Alsace”.
Jeff Burrows will be pairing “Elegant Crémant de Bourgogne Served with Lobster Two Ways” at foodwineclick.com
Gwendolyn Alley from winepredator.com is going to be looking at Crémants from a variety of regions in her post this weekend.
David Crowley from cookingchatfood.com will be discussing the “Best Food Pairings for Crémant d’Alsace”
Rupal Shankar the Syrah Queen will be giving us “Five Reasons to Drink Crémant d’Alsace this Holiday Season”
Neil will be joining us from Eat, Live, Travel, Write with a post entitled “Champagne taste but not a Champagne budget? An exploration of France’s Crémant wines”