According to the freshly released Silicon Valley Bank State of the Wine Industry Report 2022, sparkling wine has experienced a growth rate of nearly 9%. People want to drink more bubbly. It could be that more people were more willing to open bottles they considered special during the pandemic, a bit of elevation to lighten up the long days. But is it really true that people think bubbly is only for special occasions anymore?
In fact, plenty of people are turning to bubbles for a refreshing, potentially lower ABV, acid-driven sipper. If the rise in seltzers is any indication, please want to drink something light and fizzy. According to reporting in Forbes, hard seltzers “occupied 20 of the top 25 spots on the best-selling new brands, including the top 16 spots.”
The Answer: Crémant d’Alsace
For those of you, like me, who believe there is a wine for any occasion (no need for seltzers!), Crémant d’Alsace can scratch the itch for some which people have turned elsewhere for satisfaction. Since the late 1970s, France has officially recognized the growing appellation for Alsace’s bottle fermented bubbly. Made in the same traditional methods that produce Champagne, this style of wine represents a bit less than 30% of the region’s production — a significant portion of the area’s wine output, made by skilled craftspeople who have worked in the trade for generations, some for many, many generations.
34 million bottles of Crémant d’Alsace were produced in 2021. “It’s a real trend in France,” says Thierry Fritch, Alsace educator. “Freshness, bubbles, value for money.” He says that behind only Champagne, Crémant d’Alsace is the sparkling wine that most French households turn to for their bubbles. And these wines capture another important point for modern drinkers — many are made with an ecologically responsible ethos. Fritch says that around 35% are certified organic (called bio in France) or biodynamic and that there are more certified producers in Alsace than all of Germany.
While all rosé Crémant d’Alsace is made with Pinot Noir, the white wines can be made as single variety or blend bottlings from Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc, Riesling, or Auxerrois. There is a wide range even within the same varieties thanks to an incredibly complex soil structure in the region. “Give me one type of soil, and you’ll find it in Alsace,” says Fritch.
Most Crémant d’Alsace is made in a non-vintage format, and the region adheres to sweetness labeling to be sure that customers get what they expect. All of the grapes for these wines must be harvested manually, and the minimum alcohol level is 8,5%. Fritch says that with climate change, this number tends to be closer to 10% these days — still a reasonably low threshold.
Fritch says that these bubbles are excellent “reception” wines and will work with salty apéro snacks as well as delicate shellfish such as fresh oysters. They are also a match for fried chicken, popcorn with truffle salt, creamy cheeses, pizza, or as a component in cocktails. Most importantly, they conserve the French wine tradition of conviviality. “These are perfect for when you want to talk with some friends.” We don’t need any data to prove that this is exactly what the modern wine drinker wants these days!
Wines to Try
Domaine Dirler-Cade 2017 Crémant d’Alsace Brut Nature – $30.99
Domaine Joseph Cattin Crémant d’Alsace Brut – $18.99
Jean-Baptiste Adam Crémant d’Alsace Brut Rosé – $24.99
Interested in more ideas on serving and enjoying Crémant d’Alsace? Explore with the French Winophiles on June 18, 2022 at 10am central. We’ll be chatting on Twitter under our hashtag #Winophiles. The authors have prepared their inspiration, and here’s what you’ll find:
The French Winophiles
- Cremant Wine Battered Perch; Michigan and French Classics Collide on A Day in the Somm’s Table/SommsTable.comLife on the Farm
- A Thai Green Curry Lesson + Willm Crémant d’Alsace Brut Rosé on Culinary Adventures with Camilla
- Crémant d’Alsace: An Elegant Sparkling Wine from France on Grape Experiences
- Crémant d’Alsace – Exploring the Nuances of France’s 2nd Favorite Sparkling Wine #Winophiles on Crushed Grape Chronicles
- Crémant d’Alsace: A Candidate for Your House Bubbly on Food Wine Click!
- Crémant d’Alsace Paired with Summer Fish Menus on Always Ravenous
- Crab Crêpes Compliment Crémant d’Alsace for Summer #Winophiles on Wine Predator
- Cheese Hour at the Culinary Cabin with Pierre Sparr Crémant d’Alsace Brut Reserve on Somm’s Table
- Porch Sipper of the Year: Crémant d’Alsace on Keep the Peas
- Crispy Fishwich + an Organic Cremant d’Alsace from Charles Bauer on Wineivore
- Try This Traditional French Sparkler For Modern Drinkers on l’occasion
- Baumann-Zirgel Crémant d’Alsace – Your New Champagne Alternative on Wining with Mel
Many of us received samples and support from Wines of Alsace. We are grateful for the support!