(2021) From Prosecco brand La Gioiosa, this is a zero alcohol, vegan drink made from grape must. The sparkle is added via an injection of carbon dioxide. The grape variety is not stated, but I'd be pretty sure it is Glera, the grape of Prosecco. The sparkle is very gentle, more frizzante than spumante, and aroma and flavour are both of pleasant fresh pears with some flattering sweetness in the finish. There's no mistaking this for wine, but it slips down easily as an alcohol-free alternative.
(2021) This blingy Prosecco comes in a metallic gold bottle, and while that may or may not appeal, I have to say the wine inside is a very nice, dry expression of a vintage-dated Prosecco. Extremely pale in colour, the mousse is foamy and fresh and the aromas are very summery: crisp pears and apples, but a little leafy, herbal hedgerow element too. In the mouth it is light and refreshing, with very good, crisp lemony acidity and a decent length too. Actually rather superior stuff, bling or not.
(2021) This lightly fortified sweet Muscat, much in the style of a Muscat de Beaumes de Venise for example, comes from the Torres family of Spain. It's a delightful wine, overflowing with aroma and flavour, the colour a burnished gold. On the nose, honeycomb, saffron and sweet confit fruit, florals and lemon all in the mix. Thick and unctuous on the palate, there is masses of honeyed flavour and intense golden sultana sweetness, but the alcohol and the acidity give a bit of backbone and welcome freshness. Watch the video for more information and food matching ideas.
(2021) A pale peachy-pink, the main advantage Torres wine has over some of the other Spanish attempts at this style are the grapes used: Carignan and Grenache, two of the mainstays of Provence wines too. Very light, very commercially appealing raspberry and rose-hip aromas, a little bit watercolour paintbox, then a palate that has some sweetness and possibly a touch of residual sugar, but plenty of lemony acidity keeps that in check. It is light-bodied and arguably a touch dilute even for a rosé, but flavours and balance are good.
(2021) Another 'light' wine from Marlborough with only 9.5% abv, the aromas are very much in the green spectrum, grassy and asparagus notes dominating, a little touch of elderflower and talcum. In the mouth pretty dry to begin with, but there's a sweetness that creeps in towards the finish and butts heads with the acidity rather clumsily, and is not to my taste.
(2021) Vibrant, quite deep crimson, there's an earthiness here, hints of briar and beetroot as well as deep cherry and plum fruit, a little lighter, more floral character flitting around the edges. In the mouth it is quite substantial and deep-fruited, but there's a keen edge through tight tannins and a fine minerally acidity, the oak adding spice and a hint of bitter charriness to add complexity to the finish.
(2021) A wine I haven't tasted since the 2016 vintage, and what a lovely wine it is. Abundantly fresh, green herb-flecked lemon and crunchy apple aromas lead on to a palate that is also cool, elegant and crisp, but has texture and presence too, a supple ripeness, mid-palate sweetness and creaminess to the fruit, but the dazzling, salt-licked freshness of the finish powers through. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.
(2020) Noval's Late Bottled Vintage is unflitered and unlike many LBV's will improve in the bottle as it cellars, but is best decanted off of its sediment. Having spent over five years in barrel, it's a glorious wine, crimson-black in colour, with a soaring perfume of cherry and violet, blackcurrant, vanilla and spices. In the mouth there is abundant sweetness, ripe black and red berries, with a chocolaty density, super-smooth tannins and a pert cherry acidity to keep it on its toes. With around 90g/l of residual sugar this is definitely sweet, but retains a lovely freshness too. For mince pies or Christmas pudding, also hard and blue cheeses, a banker.
(2020) Champagne house Pommery were early investors in English vineyards, with their own 40-hectare site about to come on stream. For now, they are buying English fruit from Hampshire and making this wine in facilities borrowed from Hattingley Valley estate. It's a traditional method wine, made from the Champagne grapes, and it is beautifully pitched: there is a hint of biscuit and truffle on the nose, but much more about citrus and English orchard fruit. The palate shows lovely fruit sweetness, and the dosage adding an extra element of approachability, but the acid balance on persitence of the mousse if excellent. Not cheap, but a nice way to celebrate English Wine Week, which starts today. Watch the video for more information.