Sips: Beyond Champagne, Bubbly from Alsace -- Lucien Albrecht’s Blanc de Blancs

In these persistently challenging economic times, Champagne may be prohibitive or seem extravagant this holiday season. Fortunately, there is no shortage of moderately priced sparkling wines from which to choose. Do they offer the cachet or  unmistakable elegance of good Champagne? Not quite. But they can indeed provide a pleasing and festive experience at much  more affordable prices.  I’ll be sampling a number of them in coming weeks, but one early standout is from France’s Alsace region, Lucien Albrecht’s Crémant d’Alsace Brut Blanc de Blancs. In Champagne, of course, blanc de blancs refers to wines made entirely from chardonnay. Albrecht’s blanc de blancs, by contrast is is from pinot blanc, one of Alsace’s signature varieties, which is highly successful in this crisp yet fruity wine. With its fine bubbles and aromas and tastes that suggest green apple, herbs and freshly baked bread, enjoy it with a variety of hors d’oeuvres, sushi and fish dishes. The suggested price is $20. Imported by Pasternak Wine Imports, Harrison, New York. Received as a press sample.

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