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(2019) A tricky year to choose for the first vintage, this 2005 is surprisingly fresh and balanced.  The ripeness is still palpable, a wine of linearity rather than complexity.  More importantly, heaviness has been avoided! Honeyed, slightly peachy style.  With a little warmth and aeration, creamy walnut aromas begin to emerge from the glass.  An attractive wine that hits the balance between fruit and maturity. I probably wouldn’t age this wine as long as some might, I feel it is almost ready to go, so drink from 2019 until 2025. Price quoted at time of review is in-bond.
(2019) Based upon the 2013 vintage, dosage around 9 g/l.  Biscuity, yeast complexed Pinot dominating, and a lovely yellow fruited juiciness on the mid-palate.  An unconscious sipper of a wine, blink and its gone. Drink now until 2022, great quality to price ratio.
(2019) Based upon the 2014 vintage.  Aroma of slightly unripe pear on the nose with hints of white pepper.  The palate has a crunchy red fruit feel, interplaying with a tangerine grip.  A little bitter on the finish, perhaps a wine that needs to recover from its disgorgement? Leave in your cellar for around six months, and drink from 2019 until 2021.
(2019) This is the 2012 base, a mix of Côte des Blancs and Montagne de Reims Chardonnay. Toasty aromas dominate the nose, rather less flowery than usual.  Lovely citrus freshness on the palate, nicely structured with a saline-reductive quality that contributes to the impression of minerality.  Drink now until 2023. Price quoted when bought by the case of six.
(2019) From a Jeroboam!  This is lot number beginning L17033 (disgorged February 2017) and is in fact the 2008 base, and the wine of the tasting.  Extolling the virtues of the large format, such precise, anaerobic freshness gives us the opportunity to dive down and examine each individual facet in vivid detail. A focused, finely toasted, and painfully austere wine. This Champagne coats the palate with the sheer intensity of its underlying core of dry extract.  It will need a few years in the cellar to develop some creaminess and further complexity, and to move beyond the smoky (reductive), bitter stone fruit flavours.  Currently at 91/100, wait until 2023 for the 95/100 experience.  Drink until 2033.  At time of review, the Jeroboam in stock is on 2006 base.
(2019) The dosage here is 6gl, in a wine disgorged in March 2018. Fully mature (perhaps overly so).  Honey, apricots, dried fruit, and oxidative spiciness are the themes here, and I certainly wouldn’t age it further.  Instead, enjoy the evolved nature of the bouquet by pairing with food.  Drink upon release. £622 (case of six), Crump, Richmond & Shaw.
(2019) The vineyards for Petit Chablis are scattered around the periphery of the main Chablis appellation, mostly close to the treeline at the top of the famous slopes, and rarely on the Kimmeridgian soils that are synonymous with the flinty, oyster shell quality of 1er and Grand Cru wines. But do not look down your nose at the best examples, still made with care from 100% Chardonnay and usually, as in this case, unoaked. It's a very smart wine made by M&S winemaker Sue Daniels, marrying very fresh, lightly grassy and boldly lemony aromas with a fuller, riper fruit character on the palate, a creamy texture and hints of mango and exotic fruit soon licked into shape by the citrus and, yes, slightly salty, acidity. Watch the video for more information and food matching suggestions.
(2019) A bone dry white wine made in the Tokaji region, from one of the varieties that is a mainstay of the region's famous sweet wines, this has a subtle creaminess but is mostly about minerals and sea-shells, a dry apple core character that is very 'serious' in the way that a good Chablis would be, the juicy apple fruitiness always tensioned and restrained by its acidity and taut, linear structure. A banker for white fish and seafood, with Sole meunière or a big bowl of mussels an absolute dream. Watch the video for more information.
(2019) Made from a blend of Cabernet Franc and Grolleau from vineyards in the Anjou region, and by the Traditional Method, this is a Brut sparkling pink that must have a healthy dosage as it is creamy, sweet and very approachable in the mouth. Strawberry and soft summer berries on nose and palate, enough acidity, but an essentially come-hither style of good quality.
(2019) Though I strenuously avoid 'tall poppy syndrom' - taking a swipe at a best-selling wine, just because it is best-selling - there is still a tendency to overlook big selling brands and wines that appear to be consistent vintage after vintage, in favour of always seeking something new. Villa Maria are synoymous with Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, and produce a number of different cuvées, so they do tend to the ubiquitous: it's rare to visit a major retailer and not see at least one of their wines on the shelves - and often at a promotional price. So how to honestly assess this vintage of the Cellar Selection SB?  It's really very good: more in the tropical and ripe spectrum than out-and-out herbaceous, yet there is enough elderflower and pea-shoot character to pin-point its roots precisely. In the mouth the sweet, ripe fruit sits atop grapefruity acidity that is tangy and juicy, the wine has a bit of texture and mouthfeel too giving a sense of richness, and it is intense and vibrant. A model Marlborough Sauvignon, with style. £10.99 as part of a mixed six at Majestic. Watch the video for more information.