(2019) This non-vintage blend of the three traditional Champagne varieties (45% Pinot Noir, 45% Pinot Meunier, 10% Chardonnay)Â contains 20% reserve wines and is aged for a minimum of 18 months before disgorgement It is a lovely wine, with the abundant fruity charms of the Meunier giving it great likeability. There is a lovely doughy autolysis, yeasty and inviting, but it is a bright orange and lime fruitiness and acidity that drives the palate. There is plenty of refreshing, zippy acidity, but it that slightly riper, more exotic citrus rather than lemons, which adds to the all-round charm and appeal.
(2018) This is close to equal proportions of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, with 50% of the Chardonnay fermented in older Burgundian barrels followed by 20 months ageing in temperature-controlled cellars prior to disgorgement. The bubbles are small and persistent, the nose racy and refined, with a little biscuity richness over crisp lemony fruit. The richness becomes more evident on the nose, yeasty and quite complex. In the mouth there's a fat lemony fruitiness that is both keen and taut, and quite mouth-filling, a fine mousse and plenty of fruit at the core of this. Balanced and long, a dry, chalky sense of minerality emerges, and a low dosage here I think, keeping this ultra crisp in the finish.
(2018) Made only in the best years with Chardonnay from the oldest, eight-acre single vineyard. Pale gold with fine bubbles, there's a fine bready, biscuity character with creamy fruit and lemon. The mousse is crisp and fine, adding to the refreshing, bright focus of the wine in the mouth, just a little creamy weight from the lees ageing against the cut of the pear and citrus that runs elegantly to the finish. Try with seafood or, my favourite, a roast chicken.
(2017) From Chapel Down's single vineyard on chalky soils next to the Kit's Coty neolithic monument in Kent. It's all-Chardonnay and from and excellent vintage, and partially barrel fermented. Lots of streaming bubbles and a gorgeous nose, a hint of custard cream biscuits, full and generous with ripe apple and a hint of fragrant lime rind. The palate has a full mousse, very easy and approachable sweet fruitiness, but a streaking, pithy lemon and mineral acidity. Long and delicious, but with a serious side.
(2015) From the best recent vintage in English winemaking, BBR have gone to Gusborne Estate in Kent for this wine, which has been made to a fairly exacting specification: it is all Chardonnay with part of the base wine being fermented in oak barrels. There's a delicious creamy apple character on the nose, the barrel certainly adding a little toast and nuttiness, but a nice bruised fruit development from the time in bottle too. The palate has a softness, a hint of sweetness, but again that tight apple character, the Cox's pippin nuttiness and very good citrus acidity. It's another very convincing Blanc de Blancs from the 2011 vintage in England - and delicious.
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