Gustave Lorentz Cremant d’Alsace Brut Blanc NV, Alsace
Cost: $26-28
N othing picks up your spirits like a good glass of sparkling wine. Traditionally used for celebrations, sparklers are good for improving your attitude when things go wrong.
And during this time of quarantine and social distancing, we all need a little spirit lifting.
One of my favorite categories of sparkling wines is Cremant d’Alsace, so when I needed a little boost recently I turned to Gustave Lorentz Cremant d’Alsace Brut Blanc, NV ($26-28).
The wine worked its magic. After a dinner of low country boil and the sparkling wine, Teri and I were feeling fine. Cremant d’Alsace is especially good for this time when we’re not working because it is much less expensive than Champagne.
The Gustave Lorentz is a blend of equal parts Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Blanc, aged three years before its release. The Chardonnay gives the wine body and fruitiness, the Pinot Blanc freshness and delicacy and the dark fruit of the Pinot Noir gives it persistence.
I picked up flavors of plum and lemon in a creamy fizz, with hints of minerality, something Alsatian wines are known for. This elegant, balanced wine should be served well chilled.
Produced in the northeastern French region of Alsace, Cremant d’Alsace is made in the traditional method, a hallmark of elegant, long-lasting, quality bubblies.
Cremant d’Alsace is produced from some of the classic French varieties—Pinot Noir and Chardonnay— though Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris and Riesling may also be blended for regional flair. All Cremant d’Alsace rosés are made from 100 percent Pinot Noir, showcasing an eye-catching pale salmon hue.
After traditional fermentation of the base wine, the second fermentation takes place in the bottle. After a long period of aging on lees which gives the Cremant its finesse, the bottles are patiently stirred to gradually tilt them on their end. This operation allows the lees deposits to gather in the neck until the time of bleeding.
At the time of “dégorgement”, the neck of the bottle is frozen, and, enclosed in ice, the sediment is ejected by natural pressure and the bottle is corked and wired.
Winery: The Lorentz family has a long history in the Alsace region. The first mention of the family appears at the end of the Thirty Years’ War in the second half of the 17th Century in the commune of Ribeauville. Some family members were innkeepers, some cooper and some gourmets, the old name given to wine merchants.
In 1748, winegrower and blacksmith Jean-Georges Lorentz was the first to settle in Bergheim, which later became the heart of the family domaine. Maison Gustave Lorentz was founded in 1836. Now after seven generations of winegrowers the family owns 81.5 acres on the hillsides of Bergheim, 31.6 acres of which are classified Grand Cru Altenberg de Bergheim and 4.3 acres Grand Cru Kanzlerberg.
Charles Lorentz senior was born at the turn of the 20th Century. As soon as he joined the family business, he strived for excellence by expanding his vineyards on the slopes of Altenberg de Bergheim and by very carefully selecting the wine growers from whom he bought his grapes.
After World War II, the son, Charles Lorentz, took over his father’s work and built the family business by buying vines from other domaines. The facilities were modernized and there was no shortage of commercial opportunities.
Georges Lorentz took over the business in 1995, and in 2009 he started to convert all Lorentz vineyards to organic viticulture. Since the 2012 vintage, the vineyards have been tested and certified as organic by Ecocert, which guarantees production methods.
Goes with: We had this wonderful wine with a tasty low country boil. The food was even better because I didn’t have to cook it. We ordered it from Bodega Ultima, a restaurant that has made getting restaurant food very easy during our extended stay at home.
They send their menu out by email every week, with a different dinner each day and a good breakfast and lunch menu. You order and then pick it up outside their restaurant in Surrey Center. I pay when I order, so when I get there they just bring the food out to the car. Very safe.
And the food is delicious. The low country boil was loaded with shrimp, crawfish, sausage, potatoes and corn on the cob. We ordered dinner for two and there was enough food to give us two meals each.
We’ve ordered from Bodega Ultima several times and have loved the food every time.
With sparkling wine, you can pair just about any food, but the bubbles and the minerality of the Cremant d’Alsace seemed especially suited to the low country boil.
This wine also would pair well with semi soft cheeses, poultry, appetizers, snacks, shellfish and chowder.
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