Saturday was putting up the Christmas tree day. Nothing but a real tree will do in the Fred household, so after a wonderful time of cutting down the tree in the falling snow and bringing it back home I had to deal with the dreaded task of sorting through the lights. After about fifteen minutes I had one full string and two halves of two other strings operational with no clue how to fix them and the Christmas spirit was draining out of me like a ruptured radiator. Luckily Mrs. F could see the gathering storm clouds on the horizon and suggested some bottled cheer for the rest of the tree trimming. A splendid idea that immediately boosted my morale. The wine we reached for was Willm Cuvée Leon IX Crémant d’Alsace. A non-vintage bubbly from the Alsace region of France. According to Willm’s website (now this may be inaccurate since it is all in French) this product is made up of a blend of 67% Pinot Blanc, 18% each of Chardonnay and Riesling, and 12% Pinot Noir. Amazing huh? You’re getting a 115% wine for the money! Anyway as a rule all Cremant d’Alsaces must be made from one or more of the following grapes: Auxerrois, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay or Riesling so you know its some combination of those.
On to the wine itself. I really try not to be a sucker for marketing, but the first thing that struck me was how beautiful the bottle and labelling were. As you can see from the picture it’s a truly elegant package with an embossed bottle and clean, classy label. I felt better just looking at it. Luckily the bottle was just the beginning and not the high point as is the case with other packaging experiences. Lighter than most Champagnes, but a little more complex than most proseccos this wine was a delight. Great nose of apple, pear and hints of yeast/bread. On the mouth it was slightly more than light-bodied, with gobs of green apple flavor, hints of pear and some lime/lemon acidity on the finish. A very good bubbly.
I rated it a solid 89 but in looking at my rating you have to factor in that I was drinking it during a terrrific afternoon with the Christmas music and roaring fire and the whole family trimming the tree. I’ll certainly revisit this wine again as it strikes me as a strong value. If my assessment differs I’ll let you know. Purchased for $13.99 at Frederick Wine House.