Charles Baur Cremant d'Alsace Brut Rose
Happy Valentine's Day everyone! In honor of the holiday, I'm reviewing a sparkling rose that I picked up from my local wine shop, Wine Authorities. Sparkling rose can be pretty versatile, it can be romantic, it can be a fun wine to drink with gal pals; it can be enjoyed with your meal, in place of a pre-dinner cocktail, or with dessert. Rose has gotten very popular in the past few years, and rose drinkers have gotten some haters too. It's often called "basic" and there's a popular misconception that rose is very sweet and tastes more like a juice or a soda then a wine, but that's not the case. Many roses are actually very dry, the stereotypical sugary rose is White Zinfandel, which isn't actually a rose, it's a sweet white wine that's pink in color. Proper rose is made from red grapes that have had their skins removed early in the fermentation process, which creates the lighter color than a red wine.
This sparkling rose is a Cremant from the Alsace region of France. A Cremant is a sparkling wine made in the Champagne style, but the grapes aren't from the Champagne region of France. France is very strict about what its wines are called, and wines must meet certain standards to be labelled in various ways. A sparkling wine can only be called a Champagne if the grapes come from the Champagne region of France, and the wine is made in the strict Champagne style. Cremants are made in the same style, but come from different regions of France and Luxembourg. The result is wine that is just as elegant and sophisticated as Champagne, but at a much cheaper price point.
This wine was one of the more complex roses that I've had. When I smelled it I picked up light fruit scents; strawberry, raspberry, white cherry, and fresh fig, but I also picked up a bit of minerality on the back end of the scent. Once I started sipping the wine, I got that top note of light fruit again, but it was not a sweet rose, it was actually relatively dry. The fruit notes were quickly overtaken by the minerality, and a "biscuityness" that if often used to describe champagnes. To me, the "biscuit" flavors were similar to a plain Ritz cracker and unbuttered popcorn. I know those sounds like kind of strange flavors for a rose, but they add a complexity and elegance to the wine.
I drank this wine with strawberries and chocolate after dinner and it was delicious, but this is a very versatile wine. It would also go great before dinner with some Brie or goat cheese. I also think that it could hold it's own with a main meal, it would be delicious with lobster ravioli in a creamy tomato sauce. This sparkling rose was so delicious and sophisticated that I'm going to buy another bottle to share with my fiance when he visits this weekend.