Try French Crémant As A Budget-Friendly Alternative To Champagne

Linda sipping
Linda sipping at wine tasting

Crémant has been around for ages, but now it appears to be having a moment. Sparkling wine’s popularity continues unabated and consumers are finding Crémant to be a terrific budget-friendly option that offers complexity and finesse [ . . . ]

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Below are top selections of Cremant that won’t disappoint:

Robitaille’s Recommendations:

André et Mirielle Tissot, Crémant du Jura Rosé Extra Brut: This is a delicious wine from the Jura made by a very conscientious family of farmers. The blend of Pinot Noir, Trousseau, and Poulsard is a pure expression of the people and the place. Fresh, crisp, balanced with an almost ethereal texture, this wine is just heavenly.

Domaine Belluard, Les Perles du Mont Blanc: From the town of Ayse in the Savoie, this is a beautiful wine that absolutely shows the potential for Crémant wines in the French Alps. Dominique Belluard has been running the domaine since 1988, and nearly single-handedly rescued the Gringet grape from extinction. Gringet, an old indigenous varietal of the Alps, has very high natural acidity, making it perfect for crisp, bright sparkling wine. I always find a deep mineral core in this, and something beautifully aromatic, like preserved Meyer lemon.

Victoria James’ Recommendations:

Domaine François Mikulski and Jean-Noël Gagnard, Brut Grand Lys (2014) Both of these Crémant de Bourgogne selections are cult favorites and make great bubblies.

Domaine Mittnacht Freres Crémant d’Alsace

André & Michel Quenard, Vin de Savoie Crémant Extra Brut (NV)

Château de Brézé, (NV) and Château de Brézé, Rosé (NV) Crémant de Loire: Both the rosé and white Crémant that are search-worthy.

Other Excellent Selections:

Gratien & Meyer Brut and Rose: Founded by Champagne producer Alfred Gratien (of Champagne Alfred Gratien) in 1864. Winemaker Florence Hayes strives to craft sparkling wines with freshness and finesse.

Jaillance Cremant de Bordeaux, Cuvee de l’Abbaye: Bright and crisp. Made from merlot; it is wonderfully juicy and fresh with raspberry and cherry notes. Just delightful.

Pierre Sparr, Brut Reserve Cremant d’Alsace: Winemaker Alexandra Boudrot is careful to note that all fruit is handpicked, then gently pressed and left on the lees for a year minimum. Crisp and lemony with ripe apple notes.

How a World War Forever Changed the Way France Pairs Wine and Cheese

White wines pair beautifully with cheese. Liz Thorpe, author of “The Book of Cheese,” says serving oaky Chardonnay with creamy havarti is “crowd-friendly cheese and wine 101.” The Kitchn swears by floral Gewürztraminer with gooey, pungent morbier. And Loire Valley chèvre is “perfect” with local Pouilly Fumé and other Sauvignon Blancs.Yet the French, masters of all things cheese-related, tend to serve their cheese boards with red wines only. Comment dit-on, what gives?

The practice is more cultural than culinary, explains Anne Moreau, a public relations official for Maison Louis Moreau in Bourgogne. “During the First World War, the daily ration given to soldiers included one Camembert cheese and 25 centiliters of red wine,” she says.

These rations may strike contemporary servicemen and women as luxurious, but the impetus was practical. Polluted water supplies made bottled wine safer for soldiers to drink.

French winemakers were primarily producing red wine at the time, too, Moreau says. “They had replanted new varieties after the phylloxera disaster,” she says, and vintners were seeing “much higher yield.” Donating surplus juice to soldiers in the field boosted morale.

Toward the end of the war, wine rations in the field were up to 75 centiliters. “The alcohol was much lower, so the soldiers could drink it on a daily basis,” Moreau explains.

Today, French armed forces reportedly no longer receive alcoholic rations, though they have been known to paratroop into battle with MREs of canned cassoulet.

Regardless, Moreau says, the red wine and cheese pairing persists in civilian life. Traditions are harder to break than old Comté.

Source: How a World War Forever Changed the Way France Pairs Wine and Cheese | VinePair

9 Big Bottles of Impressively Good Rosé 

9 Big Bottles of Impressively Good Rosé

Has rosé had its day? Well, in short, no. Sales continued to skyrocket last summer, Instagram is awash in selfies of rosé-wielding partyers, and, what the heck, a chilled glass of dry pink wine is incredibly refreshing. But when I heard that the latest de rigueur accessory for superyacht buyers along the Mediterranean coast of France is a supersized wine refrigerator to accommodate supersized bottles of rosé, I did wonder whether we’d reached a rosé point of no return. (Hey, is that a shark? Should we … jump it?)

But, also, I get it. Rosé is a party wine; it’s fun in a bottle. The bigger the bottle, the more the fun. Plus, it’s one of the most aesthetically appealing wines, with its multifarious shades of pink, and a magnum (or bigger) only serves to show off its light-catching pizzazz. Statistics bear this out: In France, sales of magnums of rosé from Provence alone more than quintupled from 2005 to 2016, according to data from the Wines of Provence Council and IRI. (A related trend is the seaside Côte d’Azur penchant for serving a piscine de rosé. The term basically means “a swimming pool of rosé,” and that’s what it is: rosé poured into a goblet full of ice.)

A magnum, by the way, is the equivalent of two regular bottles. Not every winery contributing to the ocean of rosé now in the market has caught onto this trend, but more and more have. And even larger bottles are sometimes 
available: three-liter (usually called a Jeroboam), six-liter (Methuselah), or even 15-liter (Nebuchadnezzar—the equivalent of 20 regular bottles). You won’t have much luck finding them at the supermarket, but if you go to a good wine shop, ask; often they can be ordered.

Here are nine rosés that are both impressively good and nationally available in magnums. Seek them out. Throw a party. Why not? Summer is here.

NV Naveran Cava Brut Rosé ($35) 

The family behind this lively Spanish sparkler has been growing grapes for over a century. It’s made from Pinot Noir plus the local variety Parellada, grown in organically farmed vineyards high up in Spain’s Penedès region. [ . . . ]

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