Serious drinkers devoted to the best bubblies have a place in their hearts and cellars for Crémants d’Alsace from the east of France because of their lovely fruitiness reined in by great structure and, generally, a lean body. It doesn’t hurt that they are widely available and reasonably priced.
The white grapes are the same as those found in Alsace white table wines — riesling, pinot blanc, pinot gris, auxerrois blanc, and chardonnay — and the only red allowed is pinot noir for the sparkling rosés.
Here is a small sampling:
NV Renè Muré Crémant d’Alsace brut ($18) Very floral with lots of body, juicy apple flavors, and a light parade of bubbles.
NV Lucien Albrecht Crémant d’Alsace brut ($18) Albrecht is known for its effusive cascade of bubbles, and we could get bubbly ourselves in describing this minerally, metallic, crisp wine with lots of elegance. It was a party favorite at a recent dinner.
NV Gustave Lorentz Crémant d’Alsace brut rosé ($25) A very interesting sparkling, with hoppy, pleasant bitters with a wild-strawberry light fruitiness.
NV Lucien Albrecht Crémant d’Alsace brut rosé ($20) Again a fountain of bubbles with lots of creamy, fresh strawberries and a crisp finish.
2011 Albert Mann Crémant d’Alsace brut ($25) My Pick of the Litter. As with other sparkling wine regions, some producers in Alsace will make vintage bubbly. Mann’s is a lovely, elegant one with white flowers on the nose, a medley of green and red apples on the palate, and a very lean, minerally structure with a crisp finish.