Tag Archives: crémant

Ruhlmann Wines from Alsace

14 Mar

Alsace: a northeastern border area of France known for its beautifully fragrant wines. A wine region that is sandwiched between the Vosne mountain range and the Rhine river, it has changed hands between Germany and France several times throughout history, and many of the wines demonstrate Germanic or Austrian influence.

As an oenophile, I have found that many Americans are largely unaware of Alsace. When they are introduced to the wines, they often become fans. If you don’t know Alsace wines, this is a perfect introduction in the $20-and-under range for family-made, classic wines with lineage and complexity that sing of their terroir and heritage.

The Ruhlmann family has been making wine since 1688 in the Alsace village of Dambach-la-Ville, where they produce about 1.2 million bottles annually, with 40% of their products exported under the watchful eye of winemaker André Ruhlmann.

Ruhlmann Crémant d’Alsace Brut NV is a pale straw color with a refined nose of peach and fresh brioche. Gentle flavors of white stone fruit and dried apricot on the palate, delightfully dry with solid acidity and a hint of sweet honeysuckle on the top palate that makes the mouth water. A blend of pinot blanc, pinot auxerrois, pinot gris, and riesling, this sparkling wine has enough body to provide an afternoon delight or pair through dinner. $20/bottle, 12%ABV.

 

 

Ruhlmann Muscat Fleur de Printemps 2015 is the color of early morning sunshine and offers a sweet, aromatic nose of wildflowers. On the palate, it demonstrates gentle citrus, with notes of lime and starfruit. Secondary hints of yellow pear, orange peel, sodium and sand evolve as the wine warms gently. This muscat is bottled quickly to retain the powerful nose and pairs nicely with Thai, Chinese, and white meats, but I would not hesitate to open this and sit on the porch to enjoy on a carefree, sunny afternoon. 100% Muscat, 11.5% ABV, $15/bottle.

 

 

Ruhlmann Gewurtztraminer Vieille Vignes 2014 offers a pale yellow color with a spicy nose of rose bush, violet flowers, clove, and a hint of jasmine. Mature and refined green apple, lemon zest, banana peel and white pear on the robust palate give way to soaring acidity. Thirty-year-old vines show their deep roots with a finish of limestone and hints of clay and slate. This wine is powerful enough to pair with foie gras, a meat entrée, or a full-bodied cheese, and will age beautifully, showing greater complexity in 4-5 years.  Around$15/bottle, with 13%ABV.

 

 

Ruhlmann Riesling Vieille Vignes 2014 is pale straw in color. On the nose, faint lychee, lime zest, passion fruit, and hint of limestone. In the mouth, lemon-lime, pear, and lemongrass are followed by notes of clementine and lychee. Searing acidity powers through the full-bodied palate without heat ever crossing the back or top palates, while notes of gravel and clay round out the reserved finish. Delightful now, and will only improve with age. $16/bottle, 12.5%ABV.

 

And finally,

Ruhlmann Crémant de Rosé NV “Harmonie de Rosé” is 100% pinot noir, with tiny effervescent bubbles and a hue that verges between salmon and pale orange. The nose offers young raspberries and baking spice, while the palate is pure strawberry, slate and limestone. What’s not to love? $23/bottle, 12%ABV.

 

If you love Alsace already, then you should add these wines to your list or cellar. If you are new to Alsace wines, these are a perfect introduction to the region you can enjoy and share with friends. 

à votre santé!

 

My Summer Wines are SPARKLING!

13 Jun

Have a glimpse into the joys of warm weather and the delights you can find in your wine glass!

There are so many lovely and affordable sparkling wines. Crémant, Cava, and Prosecco are some of the easiest words you can say this summer to keep joy in your glass without damaging your wallet.

Crémant: Love vintage champagne but don’t have the thick wallet? Never fear, Crémant is here! One of my favorites is Tissot’s Crémant du Jura. Delightfully expressive, unique, and easily found for $25/bottle. Grab it and enjoy, life is short! Drinks comparably to champagnes that cost 3-4 times the price. Just for the heck of it, I had a quick look at 67Wine‘s website. Ten crémants all under $30/bottle including the Jura region, just not the one below.

Cremant

Having spent a great deal of time tasting prosecco and vinho verde last year, I promised myself to spend more time tasting cava this year. And while I still love those wines, I found  both great taste and great value in the sparkling wines from Spain.

The best bargain I found this year was snapping up a mixed case of cava from Garagiste.

Pere Mata Cava

 

Each of the various types of cava found in the mixed case I sourced from Garagiste offered a slightly different pleasure. Last week, my neighbors and I enjoyed the Cupada Rosé  (below, far right) very much, along with some other still wines from the garden of earthy delights. The fact that a rosé cava could hold its own against classic Bordeaux blanc, high end Napa sauvignon blanc, and a killer Burgundian aligoté speaks volumes, does it not? 

 

Summer whites

 

 

Champagne. Need I say more? But not all champagnes are truly worth your time or hard-earned coin. Laurent-Perrier Brut is one I love, a non-vintage bottle I consider affordable in the low $40’s per bottle and better than many vintage (and more expensive) champagnes, but simply delightful on the palate.

 

perrier

 

Why not share this one, a glimpse into the high end of heavenly delights? One of the finest champagnes I’ve enjoyed in recent years was undoubtedly Taittinger’s 2005 Comtes de Champagne Rosé. Retailing at $300/bottle, it’s a rare and exotic enchantment that impressed me by tasting it blindly, and I was thankful I had a glass before I saw the price tag. But if your budget allows it, why not?

Unknown

So tasty, but the down side is that now even the sight of the box makes my mouth water.

Tattinger

 

Sparkling Reds! If you missed last year’s missive on Lambrusco or my discovery of sparkling shiraz in the summer heat then you missed out, but it’s never too late. Click the links on the names and read about my experiences with each of these wines.

 

So, do tell… what’s sparkling in YOUR glass this summer?

à votre santé!

 

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