Wine Deal: $12.99 - Pierre Sparr Crémant d’Alsace Brut Rosé @ BevMo
Pierre Sparr’s Crémant d’Alsace Brut Rosé is a pretty in pink sparkling wine made in the traditional method from 100% Pinot Noir. Having tasted several Pinots from Alsace, I think that bubbly may be this grape variety’s highest and best use in the region. While the lovely shell pink hue is indeed pretty to look at, this wine’s restraint and elegant balance will appeal to the more serious wine drinker as well. Soft and creamy mousse cloaks the crisp acidity and washes the strawberry fruit through to a clean, refreshing finish. I found it just a tad sweet for brut, making the red berry fruit more prominent, yet happily consumed two glasses over lunch.
This one’s a good value at the suggested price of $19. At ClubBev’s $12.99 promotion, it’s a total steal.
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Tech sheet (.pdf)
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2940 N Main St, Walnut Creek, CA
re: Robert Lauriston
I had fun with this wine, as it was served first as the aperitif, giving me more time to play with it. I had it alone, then held on to some to taste with the tuna tartare appetizer seasoned with sesame oil and some wasabi and with a bite of the grilled walu. The wine was friendly with both thought it didn't like the chervil of the beurre blanc on the grilled fish. Admittedly, the whites served with those courses were a better match but this does demonstrate the versatility of sparkling rose'.
I tried it in both a flute and a regular wine glass. Letting a sparkler go flat and warm up to room temperature really lets you understand the character of the underlyng base wine, as cold temperature and bubbles can hide things from your palate. Do that to a cava rose from Spain, and it will seem quite coarse typically. Or a Calif. PN-based bubbly will show a little bit of tannin and dullness of low acidity. Not here. This one held up quite well under those conditions with the sweetness becoming even more prominent. I estimated that the residual sugar was well over 10 g/l (or 1% rs) and maybe as high as 15 g/l. This wine clocks in at 14.4 g/l, per the technical spec sheet. While I'm not familiar with the requirements for cremant d'Alsace, that's at the upper end of "brut" dosage for its French cousin, champagne.
I didn't inquire about the disgorgement of this lot. Typically producers disgorge and dose the wines when they have an order and then ship immediately. If you get a wine from a recent lot, the elements haven't knit together yet. The acidity of this wine is quite brisk, yet the sweetness stands apart from it at this point, indicating that it may be from a fresh lot. You might want to do an experiment and tuck away a bottle for a few months. Pull it out during our warm Indian summer in September or October and see if the sugar feels more in harmony with the wine. The dosage level does emphasize the berryish nature of Pinot Noir, and maybe that's the fruity personality the winemaker was trying to achieve.
Also, it's my understanding that Pierre Sparr is the largest Alsace brand in the US. The wines are made for a broader swathe of the wine drinking market. If you've become more accustomed to the no dosé or lower dosage sparklers that are growing in popularity, this might seem just a little two sweet. For my palate, I agree with you on that. But looking at the numbers, the dosage is not out of line for brut style. It may also be that the sweetness tastes more prominent now and would benefit from a little time to harmonize.