What: Alsace is one of those special regions where you find many producers creating great wine. The region is noted for its Rieslings, Gewurtztramminers and sparkling wine.
Most are crisp and clean with a touch of minerality. If you aren’t familiar with the wines from Alsace, you should try one. They’re easy to find and reasonably priced.
The Crémant d’Alsace always calls up great memories for me, from my first trip to Europe almost 40 years ago. I was in a bus full of wine tourists from Charlotte drinking our way through Germany and France.
At one of the stops in Alsace we found a wonderful Crémant priced at the equivalent of three for $5. We stocked up and had plenty of Crémant to drink in the bus for the rest of the trip. Prices have gone up since then, but a good Crémant d’Alsace is still one of the best bargains around. I have been drinking them enthusiastically ever since.
The Kuentz-Bas Tradition Cremant d’Alsace is the mid-range of the wines produced by Kuentz-Bas, one rung below their estate wines.
The early ripening Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir and Pinot Auxerrois grapes are grown in different terroirs and hand picked. Whole bunches are soft pressed in a pneumatic press and fermented in stainless steel tanks. After bottling the wine is aged on its lees for 24 months.
It is a beautiful pale golden yellow color in the glass with floral and citrus aromas. On the palate is more citrus with notes of ripe fruit such as golden delicious apples. There also are some yeasty notes and a slight almond flavor on the finish.
The bubbles are small and persistent.
Altogether it is a beautiful, versatile wine. It is great with food or for sipping by itself.
Winery: This small family winery traces its roots back to 1795, founded by the Kuentz family. When Marie Kuentz married André Bas it became Kuentz-Bas in 1919.
It was one of the founding members of the Grandes Maisons d’Alsace. In 2004 the estate was sold to renowned vigneron Jean-Baptiste Adam.
Adam has strengthened the small, independent house by making high quality wines from all Alsace grape varieties.
Kuentz-Bas farms its 25 acres of vine biodynamically. Holdings include pieces of grand cru vineyards, notably Eichberg and Pfersigberg. Grapes for the entry-level wines, which are well-made, dry in style and very good value, tend to come from a small number of contract growers.
The regular varietal bottlings are labelled under the Tradition range which also delivers good value. The Collection wines are a notch up and tend to come from estate vines.
Cuvée des Trois Châteaux is the top level, often grand cru and due to be declared biodynamic.
Goes with: Teri and I had this refreshing wine with turkey, mashed potatoes and a sour salad that my mom used to make. We both love turkey and try to have it all year long instead of just at Thanksgiving.
Earlier in the week I had brined and grilled a turkey breast the way you would do a beer can chicken. The meat comes out tender, juicy and full of flavor. That night I also grilled some turkey cutlets, which make a great sandwich when served on a bun.
We combined both kinds of turkey to make open-faced hot turkey sandwiches. Teri remembers having them when she was young, and I have strong memories of my mother and grandmother taking me shopping with them and stopping at a Woolworth’s lunch counter to get hot turkey or hot beef sandwiches. That was their bribe to get me to not whine too much. I loved those lunches.
So we recreated our childhood meals and loved them. We had some kind of liquid frozen from last Thanksgiving that was a gravy starter and we mixed it with some gravy in a jar. Perfect.
The Crémant d’Alsace was perfect, cutting through the gravy and the savory turkey. We often have Crémant d’Alsace at Thanksgiving because it goes so well with turkey.
This wine would pair well with just about anything, from Asian food to Latin food to fine French cuisine.
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Eleanor's Sour Salad
- 2-3 small cucumbers (sliced)
- 2 medium tomatoa (cut in wedges)
- 1 sweet onion (sliced)
- 2 tsp celery seed
- 2 cups white vinegar
- 1 cup water
- Cut up all the vegetables
- Place in a bowl with celery seed, vinegar and water
- Place in refrigerator for 2-3 hours
- Pour off the liquid and serve