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The Cellar: French Wine Finds for Spring

Friday, April 05, 2013

 

Spring is almost here. If you’re a wine lover, this means that it is time for you to dust off your white wine glasses and get your palate ready to taste this season’s new and fresh white and sparkling wines. This week’s episode is dedicated to two French wines, both of which represent categories I believe have been under the radar with the general public for far too long. Not only are these wines super delicious, they are also often great values.

Pierre Sparr Crémant d'Alsace Rosé, Alsace, France

This week’s first wine is Crémant from Alsace. For an article that discusses what a Crémants is and how they are made, click here. Maison Pierre Sparr’s Estate is located in the heart of one of Alsace’s finest district, the

Haut-Rhin. The Sparr family has been making wine in this region since 1680 - since the reign of King Louis XIV – with the winemaking responsibilities having has passed from one generation to the next.

This non-vintage Rosé is made from hand-harvested Pinot Noir grapes sourced from vineyards located in Vosges hillsides and Rhine valley. The vineyards are located at between 650 to 1,300 feet elevation and facing east and south for maximum sun exposure. This wine is made the traditional method and aged for 12 months on the lees prior to disgorgement. This wine is beautiful, well-made and delicious! A light creaminess on the initial attack is washed away with mouthwatering acidity leaving you wanting more. The fruit in this wine displays red berries, including slightly tart red currants and ripe strawberries.

2011 Paul Jaboulet ‘Parallel 45’ White, Côtes du Rhône, France

While I am sure you have consumed your fair share of red Côtes du Rhônes – how much white Côtes du Rhônes have you had? White Côtes du Rhônes make up approximately 15% of the region’s output and are great – often inexpensive – all-around wines. While great for sipping by themselves, these wines often have enough weight and fruit to stand up to most foods as well. White Côtes du Rhônes are Grenache Blanc based wines

often blended with other white varietals, including Clairette, Marsanne, Roussane, Viognier and Bourboulenc.

This week’s white Côtes du Rhône is made by one of the Rhônes most famous producers Paul Jaboulet. The 2011 ‘Parallel 45’, named after the 45th North Parallel which runs less than 2 miles from their cellars, is made from 50% Grenache Blanc, 20% Marsanne, 20% Viognier and 10% Bourboulenc. After fermentation half of the wine spent 2-3 months in oak casks adding some weight to wine and softening it. The flavors are those of melon and citrus, ranging from lemons to mandarin orange. At $10 - $15 bucks, this is not a poor effort.

In other news: Newport Restaurant Week is on! Check out GoLocalProv Food Editors' Ann & Michael Martini’s article so you know where to go. Also happening this weekend is ‘Taste of Tuscany’ at Chanler’s Spiced Pear Restaurant featuring wines from Antinori and guest speaker Aldo Rafanelli. A few tickets also remain for the Monday’s Esporão Wine Tasting at the Providence Wine Academy featuring winemaker David Baverstock.

So much to do – So little time - Cheers!

Steffen Rasch is a Certified Sommelier and Specialist of Wine. Feel free to email him at [email protected] with any wine-related question. Follow GoLocalProv’s Wine Cellar on Facebook to stay connected to the local wine scene or sign up for one of his tastings through the Providence Wine Academy.

 

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