(2017) Richard Geoffroy used the highest ever proportion of red Pinot Noir wine in this blend, 27%, making it a decidedly meaty, Burgundian Champagne, with truffle and forest floor, vinous with red berry fruit. That welterweight of flavour slightly butts up against the acidity at this stage for me, tannins too against grapefruit, suggesting perhaps that a few years in the cellar will do this no harm.
(2017) The Dom Ruinart Rosé is a blend of 80% Chardonnay with a very high proportion - 20% - of Pinot Noir vinified as a red wine in the blend. It is extremely toasty (surely there's some barrel fermentation here?) with a wonderfully expressive, autumnal Pinot quality of small red fruits and truffle. On the palate the serious, toasty and earthy structure continues to express itself, with great concentration, a persistent mousse and a thrust of lemon-fresh acidity as the Chardonnay dominates. I loved this, and most of the tasters were just as convinced.
(2017) All Pinot again for this rosé. An assemblage with 6% red Pinot. It's a slightly more approachable style, with a little cherry freshness, but that huge sour lemon acidity is so incisive again.
(2017) Another saignée method wine where the colour comes from a short extraction of Pinot Noir rather than blending. More yeasty and autolytic than the Pirie, again dry and the small red fruits, rosy apples, a slightly softer finish given its long bottle age, but good balance and a touch more complexity for sure.
(2017) A Saignée method rosé. A bronze colour, with a sweetish but savoury nose, the whole effect is savoury, with a touch of lemony brightness to the acidity, and that dry fruitiness.
(2017) A more sweetie, bubblegummy character, with decent balance but a slightly sweet and soapy style for my liking. Good acid in the finish mind, maybe a bit of earthy breadth just to improve the picture.
(2017) Very small red fruit aromas, with a nice creaminess to both texture and fruit, soft and fresh enough, and commercially appealing.
(2016) Just a beautiful rosé from Bellavista. one of Franciacorta's bigger houses where all base wines are barrel-fermented. From south-facing vineyards this is more or less equal parts Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. An attractive pale colour and the prettiest aromas, small wild strawberries, peach down and watermelon, all lightly touched by creamy vanilla. On the palate the mousse is very fine, very elegant, and though there is that soft and seductive strawberry, the acid balance is perfect and the shimmering length of the wine is terrific.
(2016) Quite a depth of cherry colour to this blend of 90% Pinot Noir, 10% Chardonnay. It has small bubbles and a very racy raspberry character to the moussey flavour. Dry, small red fruits, a hint of toffee and tannin, but lovely freshness and bite on the finish.
(2016) Zibibbo is a common grape on the island of Sicily, but is in fact a synonym for the Muscat of Alexandria, which Brown Brothers have blended with Cienna to make this engaging, sweet and frothy approximation of the Moscato d'Asti style. With a peachy colour, a soft mousse and plenty of vivid and sweet strawberry fruit offset by decent acidity it's a summer in the garden/wimbledon/strawberry tart-matching delight and simple, uncomplicated fun.