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(2018) Made by the traditional method, this is a dry and very grown-up take on elderflower wine, with 7g/l of residual sugar and 12% alcohol by volume. Pale and moderately effervescent, aromas are floral and herbal, not the pungent 'cat's pee' elderflower used to describe many a Sauvignon Blanc. In the mouth it has a fine mousse and it is dry, a keenly honed acidity driving, the flavour difficult to describe: herbal, a touch of endive bitterness, with a lemon peel zestiness too. A successful wine, perhaps more akin to a Loire Crémant than a Champagne, for want of a better way of describing the flavours.
(2018) My word but I loved this. Two-thirds Pinot Noir, one-third Chardonnay, coming from Grand Cru vineyards in Bouzy, this has a moderator dosage of around 8g/l and a nose filled with buttered toast and wheatgerm, a spiced pear fruitiness beneath. Racy and fine on the palate, the mousse crisply textured, so much sweet fruit, yet a dazzling, orangey acid structure and textural richness, toast again in the finish, giving this sumptuous presence and making for fabulous drinking.
(2018) It may not be on your radar as yet, but there's a buzz about the crémant wines of France - France's 'other' sparkling wines made by the Traditional Method with in-bottle secondary fermentation, but not in Champagne. From Burgundy, this is a blend of 92% Chardonnay and, intriguingly, 8% Gamay.
(2018) 30 months on the lees for this blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier from the limestone hills of Smith & Evans Somerset vineyards. There’s a lovely golden glow to the colour, and plenty of streaming, tiny bubbles. Yeast and bready, it has fine autolytic notes, salts and nutty apple. In the mouth the balance is very good, a drier style, with some sweet mid-palate ripeness moving through to a lemons and salts acidity. Very attractive.
(2018) A blanc de Noirs from Bordeaux, using typical grapes Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, this rosé crémant is made in the traditional method with a second fermentation in bottle. Pale peach in colour, there's a fine strawberry sherbet character on the nose, just a little echo of creaminess too. In the mouth the sweet ripeness of the summer berry fruit is very pleasing, an orangy tang of acidity adding a gentle but precise freshness to the finish.
(2018) The rosé version of Eisberg's alcohol-free fizz is made in Germany like it's Blanc counterpart, from de-alcoholised rosé wine blended with grape must. It is fruitier than the white, small red berry fruits aromatically and in flavour, a pulpy strawberry sweetness and even if no more residual sugar, certainly a sweeter impression thanks to lower acidity perhaps. It's enjoyable and in many ways more convincing than the white version, a distant family relation in style to some pink moscatos perhaps.
(2018) The full five years this blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay spends on the lees in bottle offsets and gives richness to the very low dosage of 3g/l, and along with 40% reserve wines results in a wine that is chalk dry, but not aggressive. There's a lovely lick of seashell salinity on the nose, joining fresh lemony fruit but with a developed breadiness beneath. In the mouth it is very keen and crips, the lively mousse carrying more salts and citrus, a dry apple core acidity and just little vestiges of nuttiness and biscuit in quite a complex character, finishing dry but not austere.
(2018) A brut Prosecco, so drier than many and lower in sugar, hence the very modest 63 calories per 100ml, so less than 100 calories in a decent 150mm serving. It is foamy and frothy, with a crisp apple and lemon sherbet nose, the palate noticeably drier than many Proseccos, with plenty of lemony bite, but still enough pear and apple fruitiness to please fans of Italy's most popular fizz. Note that offers seem to abound on this: at time of review down £8.99 in Budgens, £9.99 in Ocado
(2018) What a beautiful all-Chardonnay wine this is from Greyfriars in Surrey, a little extra time in bottle post-disgorgement now showing lovely creaminess and yet full fruit, pear and apple, yes, but almost a soft summer berry character, the rich mousse leading to a taut, defined finish. The 2014 is the wine in stock with several other retailers at time of review.
(2018) Not a million miles away from that other great medium-sweet, gently sparkling wine style, Moscato d'Asti, here Torrontes presents a fragrant bouquet of wild flowers, nettle, orange and peach, before a palate that has plenty of sweetness and a light, gossamer mousse, before bright mandarin orange acidity balances the finish. Very unusual, great for Christmas morning with a mince pie, or with Thai cuisine.