Who says rosés are only for summer? Not me! As we close out the year I’ve secured two perfect examples of why rosé should be in your wine fridge all year long; a sparkling Crémant d’Alsace to ring in the new year, and a dark pink Touraine rosé made from Pineau d’Aunis. 

The Alsace region is located near the German/Swiss  border on the western side of France. Generally known for aromatic whites like Riesling, Pinot Gris, and Gewurztraminer the Alsace region is also well known for making Crémant d'Alsace, an Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée for sparkling wines made in the Alsace wine region of France. Produced since 1900, the Crémant d'Alsace AOC was recognized in 1976. Crémant d'Alsace is usually made of some blend among Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, Riesling, Auxerrois, and Chardonnay. Crémant d'Alsace rosé, while rare, is made of Pinot Noir in a method of production identical to that of Champagne. In contrast to Champagne, Crémant d'Alsace is usually found at significantly lower price levels and cannot age in cellar nearly as long as Champagne (5 years maximum).

The Cave de Ribeauvillé, home to our Crémant selection, is the oldest wine co-operative in France, founded in 1895.  In 1885, the Alsace region was annexed into the German Reich. Cut off from the rest of France and its wine connoisseurs, vineyards of Ribeauvillé were sadly neglected for a decade. It was a group of winegrowers who then decided to group together, and they founded the cooperative based on the German sociological principles of Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft generally translated as “community” and “society”.  Each member brought their entire harvest to the cooperative and in exchange was paid fairly. Skilled workers were in charge of the winemaking and bottling, a sales force found outlets for the wine, and an administrative body took care of production and selling. Everything was placed under the direct control of the winegrowers who formed a board of directors.

Today the vineyards cover 265 hectares surrounding Ribeauvillé and the area is worked by over 40 winemakers.  The winemakers work together with the growers to ensure low yields and only hand-picked grapes. Vol Enchante produces only Cremant d’Alsace wines. We found this bottle’s label enticing and it’s contents even more appealing.

For our second selection we move across France to the Loire Valley, located at a similar latitude as the Alsace region. An oceanic climate dominates the west, becoming more continental in the east. The soil in the Touraine AOC is highly varied, with flinty clays, clay limestone on chalk bed, and sand on flint, as well as grave, stones, and sand. The climatic differences and varied soils, determine the grape varieties planted and therefore, the wide variety of wines produced throughout the Loire Valley.  Rosés are the least produced wines in the Loire, and Pineau d’Aunis is the least planted red grape, all of which adds to making this selection so unique.

Delobel “La Parenthèse” Pineau d’Aunis Rose is made on an estate owned by Benjamin Delobel in Touraine. Benjamin, who is in his thirties, started his vineyard in 2013 based in Ouchamps, in the Oisly winegrowing region, which produces lively, straightforward, mineral-driven wines. He immediately converted to organic production and tends to his vines personally for hours on end.  The 12 hectare estate produces Touraine and Touraine-Oisly wines. With only 2 hectares of Gamay and Pineau d’Aunis, this rosé is small in production but big on color and flavor.

Think Pink!

Carrie Upson-General Manager

Cave de Ribeauvillé Vol Enchante Cremant d’Alsace Rosé

Region/Country of Origin: Alsace, France

About the Vineyards: The Cave de Ribeauvillé covers a single vineyard of 580 acres with 8 Grands Crus and many soils of great value. The total surface is managed by a quality chart which guarantees strict control of yields, sustainable growth of the vineyards, and organic farming and manual harvesting. The Pinot Noir for this wine comes from hillside vineyards that offer a mosaic of terroirs and unique character.

About the Winemaking: Low yields of Pinot Noir are manually harvested, and the grapes go to direct pressing to obtain the right salmon-like color and complex fruit nuances commonly found in a cremant from Alsace. Produced “Method Traditionelle” the second fermentation occurs in the bottle, which is aged at least 12 months before disgorgement.

Tasting Notes: Tart but totally aromatic notes of Cox’s Orange Pippen apples fill the nose.  The palate brings in riper and more generous fruit, assisted by creamy bubbles and that lovely autolytic hint of buttery pastry.  The finish is rounded, soft, refreshing, and dry, and leaves you with the impression of ripe red apple. 

Winemaker: Co-operative

Price: $25 bottle/$270 case

Suggested Food Pairing: 

Perfect as an aperitif or reception drink, and versatile enough to be served with cold buffet, salads, sushi, poultry, and lighter berry style desserts.

Delobel “La Parenthèse” Pineau d’Aunis Rose

Region/Country of Origin: 

Touraine-Oisly, France

About the Winery: Delobel built his winery in an 18th century farmhouse, which had to be restored and a new building erected where the original wine presses had once stood. The new cellar thus came into being as a perfect mix of old and new with its exposed stonework and arched doorways neatly reflecting the age of some of the estate’s vines. Indeed, a third of them are over 50 years old.

About the Winemaking:  Old Vine old Pineau d’Aunis (a pale red grape variety which produces a spicy and peppery rosé) is harvested in the early morning for freshness. It is vinified like a white wine; hand picked, then left to macerate on skins for 6-12 hours in order to instill extra colors and aromas before undergoing gentle pressing in a pneumatic press. Fermentation and aging are done in stainless steel tanks.

The only additives used are those meeting the specifications of the organic label and are of natural origin; they include copper, natural sulfur dioxide, clay, and herbal extracts. Thanks to the vineyard’s environment and biodiversity, a harmony between insects and vines has spontaneously arisen.

Tasting Notes: Fresh fruits (watermelon, strawberry) and white pepper spice with racy acidity.

Winemaker: Benjamin Delobel

Price: $18 bottle/$194.90 case

Suggested Food Pairing: 

Enjoy as an aperitif or pair it with salads, poultry, or grilled sausages.

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