Alsace Crémant moves upmarket

Tuesday May 10 2016 by Vitisphere

Three Alsace co-operative wineries have one after the after launched new top-end Crémants. The releases were purely coincidental yet reveal an underlying trend towards improving price points for this fashionable category.

The Ribeauvillé co-op launches its Grande Cuvée

The Ribeauvillé co-operative winery was the first out of the starting blocks with its 50% Chardonnay, 50% Pinot noir Grande Cuvée. So what makes it so different? It will combine as many as ten different vintages...by 2020. At the moment, just four are blended, the oldest dating back to 2004. The wine has spent 72 months on laths. “Its vinous and more aromatic side makes it more complex. A different type of harmony has reduced dosage from our usual 8/12g to 4/5g”, explains winemaker Evelyne Dondelinger. The winery intends to break the mould through the black sleeve around the bottle, blending red and gold fonts. Between 5,000 and 10,000 bottles will be produced annually. The first releases will be priced at 15.9 euros.

 

Grand Prestige Rosé by Bestheim

A definite gourmet food slant has been given to the 2013 ‘Grand Prestige Rosé’ by Bestheim which has spent 18 months on laths. “With its tannic edge on the finish, this food-friendly Crémant with 8g of sugar can accompany an entire meal”, claims Sabrina Marino, the cellar’s PR and marketing manager. Incidentally, the new bottling is also part of a premiumisation strategy for all five Crémant offerings by the winery. Its brown bottle has not gone down the fashionable sleeve route but sports a cap with a rounded effect and a square, pink label. 12,000 bottles were produced. They retail at the cellar door for 14.25 euros, which is €1.75 more than the label’s elder stable partner, the Grand Prestige Blanc.

 

Ice by Wolfberger

Finally, Wolfberger has released an ‘Ice’ version of its Black Papillon, launched as a 2014 still wine. This blend of Pinot Auxerrois, Riesling and Pinot gris aims to appeal through its fruity aromas and innovate by offering a different style of drinking: on ice, in a large, goblet-style glass. Its label uses thermal ink to show whether the wine is at optimum drinking temperature. “It is essential that brands reinvent themselves through successful concepts such as drinking on ice or as a cocktail,” comments Pascal Di Stefano, sales manager for Horeca channels. Wolfberger is initially releasing 20,000 bottles of its new label which retails for €8.70 ex-cellar and €9.70 in its online shop. Whilst pointing out that its Révérence IX Crémant, a 100% Chardonnay spending 40 months on laths and retailing for €19.90 in wine merchants and Horeca channels, ran out of stock in just a few weeks, the winery is convinced that the potential for marketing top-end Crémant d’Alsace is “still significant”.

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