Meet the Sparklings: Brut



Today begins another Meet the Wines series here at Sips & Shots (and shared with our friends at Circle of Food)! We’ve done the whites, reds, and roses, so that means the celebratory sparklings are the only logical next step!


Yesterday may have been Talk Like a Pirate Day but I was not drinking rum. Nay! I was sipping some Champagne–or should I say Crémant. What is Crémant and what does it have to do with this, our first installment of sparkling wine?

I’m so glad you asked.

You know how sparkling wines not produced in Champagne, France, cannot be called Champagne? (They used to be allowed to use the little-c champagne under certain circumstances, but now that’s not even the case.) It’s not just in other countries, but even in France this rule holds true. So what about the sparkling wines made in the Champagne style from other regions–those are called Crémant. And according to the wine guy who filled me in on this the other evening, Crémant affords (pun intended) the buyer an excellent wine without the name-brand price-hike.

Such is the case with the Brut Prince Alexandre Crémant de Loire. While the vast majority of the sparkling wines you’ll encounter at your local wine shop or larger retailer will be brut, it’s never been a huge favorite of mine due to their burly, rough characteristics. The Prince Alexandre Crémant, on the other hand, has that necessary dryness but it isn’t as harsh or “edgy” as many brut champagnes I’ve tried in the past. The primary reason for this, according to the aforementioned wine guy, is that it is 70% Chenin Blanc, a grape known for producing “soft, light-bodied” whites, and the wine guy pointed me in it’s direction because I explained that I was not a great fan of brut-style sparklers.

The Prince Alexandre Crémant de Loire retains the crisp, fruity nose you’d expect of a brut champagne and a crisp flavor that tingles on the tip of your tongue. It is pale yellow in color and has very delicate bubbles and paired well with a vegetable risotto at dinner last night. This would be a prime candidate for pairing with fruit or cheese, I would think, and at $12.99 (current price as of this writing via ABC Fine Wine & Spirits) it’s not hard on the pocketbook for an impromptu celebration.

I still prefer a sweeter sparkling wine for my own pleasure, but if I were entertaining a mixed group, I could see myself picking up a few bottles of this one as a general crowd-pleaser.