No Mindless Blonde
This is no mindless Crémant just there to fill up the wine shop’s cheaper-than-Champagne section. Nope. Domaine Valentin Zusslin’s Crémant d’Alsace Brut Zéro Sans Soufre ($25) is atypical however you look at it. Starting with the blend: instead of the usual suspects (Pinot Blanc, Chard and Pinot Noir) the blend here is mainly Pinot Auxerrois (95%) with a splash of Chard and Pinot Gris. The grapes are from Clos Liebenberg, a walled vineyard. This confident blanc de blancs proudly markets itself (clearly on both sides of the label) as brut zero and sans soufre ajouté (no sulfur). This might all seem very gimmicky until you taste the wine and let the expression of the 25-year-old vines take you to a new height. Only older vines could have the concentration and ripeness to counterbalance the lack of dosage (sugar added to balance the sweetness level). The wine just coats your mouth and shows you that age, when played well, can be a major advantage.