N/V Lucien Albrecht Cremant d'Alsace Brut Rosé

This sparkling wine from the Alsace region of France came highly recommended to me. I couldn’t let an opportunity to try something unique like this pass by. At $20 it’s considerably less than a lot of the n/v mass produced champagnes that are available, so if it’s as good as I’ve been told, this may turn out to be a real value-play. Over the next few weeks I’m going to be looking at several value-driven sparkling wines, so let me know where your favorite QPR bringing sparklers are from. Salud!

Laurent Perrier NV Brut.

        Sorry Burgundy, I’ve been cheating. I guess my Champagne rampage began with a trip to Borders bookstore a couple weeks ago where I discovered The Widow Clicquot, a Biography of Barbe-Nicole Ponsardin—the Veuve herself. Ever since I’ve been diligently working though the stock of bubbly in my wine rack and the Champagne section at work. And let me be the first to say, the pleasure is all mine.

       Poorly made Champagnes are few and far between and the more I taste, the more I continue to be impressed with the Champagnoise undeniable mastery of the NV Brut. Sure, there are other great value sparklers out there, and they continue to become more and more prominent not only in celebration but because of their versatility with food—but no other region does sparkling wine the way Champagne does, and I find myself continually awed by the coldest fine wine growing region in France.

        So in the past week I’ve danced with the widow, savored the Billecart-Salmon, and even a 100% Pinot Meunier blend from the heart of the Marne—but the true winner for this week at least, was Laurent-Perrier.

       In the glass the Laurent poured a light golden hue that was just a tad darker than both the Veuve or the Billecart. It showed off rampant streams of baby bubbles—some of the smallest I’ve seen in a NV Brut.

       On the nose this wine was more subtle than the others showing off shy themes of citrus white bread.

       On the palette the Laurent delivers creamy, yeasty, and brilliant. Sometimes when I drink sparkling wine I feel like a school of fish being overcome by the bubble net of a humpback whale. I find that the effervescence overpowers the base wine and I feel like I’m tasting the CO2 rather than the vino. This is far from the case with Laurent-Perrier. It’s creamy, apple and mineral-driven character is more than visible through its baby bubbles and smooth texture. Its subtle but consistent mousse is delicate and silky. It drinks more like the head of a draft Guinness than a rampant tank-fermented Prosecco. What a full body experience this wine gives me. I get the chills just thinking about it.

       Although its flavor profile does not have the same development of the Billecart, nor the fruit weight of the Veuve, it is the mouth feel that makes this bubbly shine, and that’s what bubbly is all about, right?

       Drink it by its lonesome or with damn near anything edible, although, steer clear of sweets—that would be a tragedy.

       And don’t worry Frenchies. We won’t tell anyone that the Brits actually invented bubbly.