Crémant d’Alsace is often thought of as a bargain alternative to Champagne, and for good reason: at just $25, Meyer-Fonné’s Crémant can satisfy even the most finicky palates. And yet, it would be a mistake to think of this simply as a substitute for a pricier bottle of bubbly—Alsatian sparkling is much more than that, and here’s why:
- Soil: unlike Champagne, where chalk reigns, Alsace is home to a diversity of soil types, each of which lends different characteristics to the wines. Félix Meyer sources his Crémant from primarily granitic soils with alluvial deposits, so while you won’t find that almost gritty chalkiness that characterizes Champagne, you can expect a slightly softer, almost spicy minerality that is just as mouth-watering.
- Climate: Alsace is drier and sunnier than Champagne, thanks to the rain shadow effect from the Vosges. This means healthier grapes and consistent ripeness, so no need for chaptalization in lean years or high dosages to balance out aggressive acidities.
- Grape varieties: the region boasts a palette of cépages that bring an extra aromatic element to its wines. Auxerrois, Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc, and Pinot Noir are responsible for this Crémant’s perfume of flowers and crisp orchard fruit—a real charmer.
- Winemaking and élevage: while also crafted in the méthode champenoise, Meyer’s Crémant spends just one year on its lees prior to disgorgement, much less than is commonly practiced in Champagne. Instead of creamy, leesy brioche notes, you can enjoy the lively fresh fruit nuances of a younger wine.
Meyer’s bone-dry Crémant is no Champagne imitation—it is an entity of its own, and you can bet we’ll be sipping it all summer long.
|Blend:||60% Pinot Auxerrois, 20% Chardonnay, 15% Pinot Blanc, 5% Pinot Noir|
|Winemaker:||François & Félix Meyer|
|Vineyard:||Planted in 1972 and 2009|
|Soil:||Granitic Colluvium, Alluvium|
Félix Meyer is a rising star in Alsace and has an evident instinct for his craft. Since taking over in the family domaine 1992, Félix has already left his own mark, modernizing equipment in the winery, developing export sales, and now expanding the family’s holdings in many of Alsace’s great vineyard sites, including several grand crus. It’s all about the details at Meyer-Fonné, with an emphasis on tradition and respect for terroir. The winery and family home is in the village of Katzenthal, known for its distinctive granite soils. Racy and elegant, his wines are difficult to resist young but have all the right qualities for the cellar. For aromatic and textural seductiveness, no one in Alsace can top Meyer-Fonné.
I want you to realize once and for all: Even the winemaker does not know what aging is going to do to a new vintage; Robert Parker does not know; I do not know. We all make educated (hopefully) guesses about what the future will bring, but guesses they are. And one of the pleasures of a wine cellar is the opportunity it provides for you to witness the evolution of your various selections. Living wines have ups and downs just as people do, periods of glory and dog days, too. If wine did not remind me of real life, I would not care about it so much.
Inspiring Thirst, page 171