Alsace Willm Cremant d'Alsace Brut Rose
Always made from the varietals classed AOC Crémant d’Alsace, the Crémant grapes are harvested before the other grapes in order to take advantage of their best balance and harmony. Produced according to the methode traditionnelle, Alsace Crémants are racked in a nearly inverted position where they age patiently. Then, after 12 months minimum, they are riddled or turned so that the sediment collects in the neck of the bottles, awaiting disgorgement.
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Notes of red-cheeked Cox’s Orange Pippin apple fill the nose on this wine with their freshness and juicy ripeness. Those notions also characterize the smooth, creamy and dry palate where apple mellowness gets the upper hand. A lovely notion of yeast provides an excellent backdrop for the fruit.
In 1896 the Willm family founded the Willm Estate in Barr, at the foot of the majestic Kirchberg de Barr Grand Cru vineyard. Willm has always been concerned with revealing the best of its terroirs and sharing its exceptional wines with the whole world. Thanks to the adventurous founder Emile WILLM, the estate’s wines were the first from Alsace to be exported to the United States in the early 1930s, after prohibition laws were lifted. Their wines are celebrated for their blend freshness, minerality and elegance; they are synonymous with tradition, terroir, purity and refinement.
If Willm isn’t in an American history book, it should be. The winery was the first producer in Alsace to export to the United States after prohibition, and it’s said that Al Capone favored the wines after his release from Alcatraz. Though the Willm family has been making wine in Alsace since 1896, their French heritage dates back to 1398. Willm’s portfolio includes four Grand Crus, sparkling Cremant d’Alsace and late-harvest sweet wines, in addition to their reserve range. The winery is known for its easy-drinking, well-priced Riesling that pairs well with shellfish, grilled seafood and white meats. Among Alsace’s rarer sparklers is Willm’s Crémant d’Alsace Blanc de Noirs, a white bubbly made from 100% Pinot Noir. The vineyards span the Haut-Rhin (upper Rhine) and the Bas-Rhin (lower Rhine) in three locations, encompassing a diversity of soils and allowing Willm to produce a range of styles. The winery received its organic certification in 2012.
With its fairytale aesthetic, Germanic influence and strong emphasis on white wines, Alsace is one of France’s most unique viticultural regions. This hotly contested stretch of land running north to south on France’s northeastern border has spent much of its existence as German territory. Nestled in the rain shadow of the Vosges mountains, it is one of the driest regions of France but enjoys a long and cool growing season. Autumn humidity facilitates the development of “noble rot” for the production of late-picked sweet wines, Vendange Tardive and Sélection de Grains Nobles.
The best wines of Alsace can be described as aromatic and honeyed, even when completely dry. The region’s “noble” varieties, the only ones permitted within Alsace’s 51 Grands Crus vineyards, are Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Muscat, and Pinot Gris.
Riesling is Alsace’s main specialty. In its youth, Alsace Riesling is dry, fresh and floral, but develops complex mineral and flint character with age. Gewurztraminer is known for its signature spice and lychee aromatics, and is often utilized for late harvest wines. Pinot Gris is prized for its combination of crisp acidity and savory spice as well as ripe stone fruit flavors. Muscat, vinified dry, tastes of ripe green grapes and fresh rose petal.
Other varieties grown here include Pinot Blanc, Auxerrois, Chasselas, Sylvaner and Pinot Noir—the only red grape permitted in Alsace and mainly used for sparkling rosé known as Crémant d’Alsace. Most Alsace wines are single-varietal bottlings and unlike other French regions, are also labeled with the variety name.
What are the different types of Champagne and sparkling wine?
Beloved for its lively bubbles, sparkling wine is the ultimate beverage for any festivity, whether it's a major celebration or a mere merrymaking of nothing much! Sparkling wine is made throughout the winemaking world, but only can be called “Champagne” if it comes from the Champagne region of France and is made using what is referred to as the "traditional method." Other regions have their own specialties—Crémant in other parts of France, Cava in Spain and Prosecco in Italy, to name a few. New World regions like California, Australia and New Zealand enjoy the freedom to make many styles, with production methods and traditions defined locally. In a dry style, Champagne and sparkling wine goes with just about any type of food. Sweet styles are not uncommon and among both dry and sweet, you'll find white, rosé—or even red!—examples.
How is Champagne and sparkling wine made?
Champagne, Crémant, Cava and many other sparkling wines of the world are made using the traditional method, in which the second fermentation (the one that makes the bubbles) takes place inside the bottle. With this method, spent yeast cells remain in contact with the wine during bottle aging, giving it a creamy mouthful, toasted bread or brioche qualities and in many cases, the capacity to age. For Prosecco, the carbonation process usually occurs in a stainless steel tank (before bottling) to preserve the fresh fruity and floral aromas imminent in this style.
What gives Champagne and sparkling wine its bubbles?
The bubbles in sparkling wine are formed when the base wine undergoes a secondary fermentation, which traps carbon dioxide inside the bottle or fermentation vessel.
How do you serve Champagne and sparkling wine?
Ideally for storing Champagne and sparkling wine in any long-term sense, they should be at cellar temperature, about 55F. For serving, cool Champagne and sparkling wine down to about 40F to 50F. (Most refrigerators are colder than this.) As for drinking Champagne and sparkling wine, the best glasses have a stem and flute or tulip shape to allow the bead (bubbles) to show.
How long does Champagne and sparkling wine last?
Most sparkling wines like Prosecco, Cava or others around the “$20 and under” price point are intended for early consumption. Wines made using the traditional method with extended cellar time before release can typically improve with age. If you are unsure, definitely consult a wine professional for guidance.