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Domaine Rietsch Crémant d'Alsace NV

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Mittelbergheim, Alsace, France
Auxerrois, Chardonnay & Pinot Gris
Fermented with native yeasts, unfiltered & unfined, minimal additional sulphites

Rietsch on fire here with a beautiful cremant of Auxerrois, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, put through a process identical to that of Champagne to yield deft results. This bottling blends wine from 2016 and 2017, with the juice of 2019 added to begin the second fermentation in the bottle. The wine has great freshness, with lots of lemon citrus, but the time the wine is left to mature on the lees imparts a lovely richness; that buttery, brioche-y aroma as well as a plumpness and depth to match the acidity. Coming in at under £30 this is an absolute blinder.

The Rietsch estate has been in the family for seven generations and the land was previously used for tobacco and crops. It was Jean-Pierre's parents who started cultivating vines in 1970s, and handed on to Jean-Pierre in 1987. Although Jean-Pierre is now retired, he still contributes to daily runnings and is assisted by Pierre-Etienne Grieshaber. Le Main Verte is another contributing company, and coordinate the manual work in the vineyards yet the domaine is still very much driven by a family-led culture. The vineyard is naturally cultivated, with terroir at the heart of the operation and no use of chemicals.