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DISCOVER

Crémant d'Alsace “Qui chasse la Lune, Récolte le Soleil”: a finely crafted wine

Interview with Sylvain Kamm, Oenologist

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO CREATE AN “HAUTE COUTURE” CUVÉE?

Crémant Grand Prestige is Bestheim’s flagship wine, a cuvée that we crafted for the very first time in 2000. For 20 years it has garnered some very prestigious awards that have greatly contributed to the reputation of our brand and to that of the appellation. Very humbly, we wanted to take things even further.

The unparalleled, limited edition cuvée that we present today is a 2010 vintage, disgorged in 2015, that we set aside in our winery since it was obvious from the start that it had great potential. I personally tasted it each year to monitor its development, and I observed that as time went by its quality was growing, that the mouthfeel was becoming more clear-cut, heightening the terroir’s impact. In short, this Crémant increasingly resembled one of the very great cuvées.

At the end of 2020, we have just 1,141 bottles that we will be able to sell, the crème de la crème; we have given it bespoke packaging, paying great attention to every single detail, like a designer would.

CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT ITS TERROIR?

The grapes used to craft this Crémant were harvested at the Strangenberg “lieu-dit”, or vineyard, a terroir located within the commune of Westhalten, at the heart of what is known locally as the Vallée Noble (noble valley) of Alsace wines. It is in fact a high plateau, which is cooler and windier than the hillsides, but more importantly the soil is predominantly limestone. Pinot Blanc grows particularly well there, and allows us to craft Crémants with a distinctive character that expresses the terroir, with a certain minerality.

WHAT ABOUT THE YEAR?

2010 was a highly successful vintage for Crémants, with great tartaric acidity, allowing us to craft wines and Crémants with excellent keeping potential, which develop fabulously over the years.

IS THIS THE FIRST TIME IN ALSACE THAT A CUVÉE HAS BEEN LEFT TO REST FOR SUCH A LONG TIME AFTER DISGORGEMENT?

I think it is. This cuvée was disgorged in 2015 and was left to rest for another 5 long years before we decided to release it for sale at its peak.

COULD YOU CALL THIS AN EXPERIMENTAL CUVÉE?

It is in fact our Grand Prestige cuvée, but aged for far longer. This cuvée is therefore experimental in terms of time spent on the slats, but not in terms of the initial crafting process.

Crémant

DO YOU THINK IT WOULD BE POSSIBLE TO RENEW THIS EXPERIMENT AND DEVELOP MORE CRÉMANTS OF THIS QUALITY? ARE YOU CONSIDERING DOING IT AGAIN IF THE QUALITY OF THE YEAR ALLOWS IT?

Yes, as we have reached a level of mastery and technical skill that allows us to enhance this exceptional terroir. With global warming, we can also develop maturity in this cool climate. That allows us to test new cuvées, new types of wine.

DID YOUR EXPERIENCE IN A CHAMPAGNE HOUSE LEAD YOU TO DEVELOP THIS NEW CUVÉE?

My experience in Champagne makes me feel that we can always do better, be more specialised, more precise. It is therefore obvious that as a major player in the Crémant sector in Alsace, we must extract our finest gems for connoisseurs of exceptional products, as they do in Champagne, but in a way that is suited to our beautiful region of Alsace.

CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT ITS ORGANOLEPTIC QUALITIES?

The structure of this Crémant is built on very vibrant acidity, which over the years has become well-integrated. This goes extremely well with tertiary aromas such as the smokiness, creaminess and toasted notes that have developed over time. All this is accompanied by a smooth, full-bodied palate, counterbalanced by a final hint of freshness.

WHY IS IT CALLED “QUI CHASSE LA LUNE, RÉCOLTE LE SOLEIL”?

Qui chasse la Lune, Récolte le Soleil” is the motto of the “Moon Chasers” (Mondfangers in Alsatian). This was the nickname given to the winery’s founders, a handful of men and women who, just after the Second World War, joined forces to build a winery so that the year’s harvest would not be lost. It took great courage and fellowship to face those difficult times in Alsace.

That’s why they were called the Moon Chasers! Driven by their desire for freedom and success, their aspirations were always more ambitious, more challenging… Their dream? To reach for the stars, to go ever further, in order to continue creating Alsace wines and Crémants that they could be proud of.

We wanted to give our cuvée a name that embodies Bestheim’s history and values, and thereby pay tribute to the founders who built up this momentum that we are continually endeavouring to develop. This is the mindset of all the men and women who have joined the winegrowing cooperative and are part of its project for the future.

With the “Qui chasse la Lune, Récolte le Soleil” cuvée, the Moon Chasers’ spirit is preserved! The sun and the moon were certainly there to perform a miracle in the vineyard, and bring you this most prestigious of wines.

 

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Grand Prestige 2011
AOC Crémant d'Alsace