(2022) With three years on the lees, 25% of the wines in this blend were aged in used oak barrels from Bordeaux and Burgundy, and 30% underwent malolactic fermentation. It has a dosage of 9g/l and is 100% Chardonnay from Exton Park's Hampshire vineyard. Very pale straw-lemon in colour, there's lots of biscuit and sourdough breadiness on the nose, some lemon meringue pie creamy citrus and something quite stony and Chablis-like too. In the mouth the mousse is fresh and very lively, the thrust of the wine all about citrus and cut apple bite, a very decisive style this, again those stones and mineral salts linger on the lips. Very stylish, pin-sharp, a linear and mouth-watering style. Corinne Seely suggests it will be worth cellaring for a couple of years and I'd agree: it already beginning to open and soften a little in the glass.
(2022) 'Made in the realm of Albion' according to the label, but more prosaically, that means Sussex for a wine made for Justin Howard-Sneyd by Ridgeview vineyards. Using the three main grapes of Champagne, it spent a almost six years on the lees. There is bruised pear and apple, plenty of zippy lemon and a touch of bready/biscuity quality on the nose. The palate has a sweetness to it, whether fruit or dosage it is hard to say, but a direct lemony freshness comes through in both fruit and acidity, assering towards the finish to give this bite and clarity. £28.00 to Club members.
(2022) Feather-light Pinot Noir from Hush Heath estate, the 'Suitcase' of the name referring to the clones used - allegedly once smuggled from Romanée-Conti into the USA in a suitcase. Pale in colour, there's a fair bit of herbal, even flinty character here, tomato leaf and red fruit. On the palate it turns very soft, with sweet fruit but a light-bodied texture. The cherry, raspberry and delicate floral tones of the wine give it plenty of charm, but there is a little rasp of tart acidity as well as some briary tannins to give firmness too.
(2022) Bottled in the 'Frugalpack' paper bottle that is recyclable and low weight, so is environmentally advantageous. This wine comes from East Anglia. It has some of the Bacchus elderflower character, very zippy and fresh. In the mouth a big squirt of lime and grapefruit, still some of that Sauvignon-like hedgerow leafiness, but citrussy and zingy. Only 3,000 bottles produced.
(2022) It's not the first time I've reviewed a wine packed in the innovative paper 'bottle' - made from 94% recycled paper with a recyclable plastic lining. Weighing just 83g, its carbon footprint is one sixth of a glass bottle. Grapes come from the Redbrook Estate in Essex, and the 11% ABV wine was fermented with the same yeasts commonly used in Marlborough for Sauvignon Blanc. The nose, however, is not pungently Marlborough in style; instead it is more about chamomile and gentle floral notes, some elderflower English hedgerow character and peach and pear fruit. In the mouth the Sauvignon-like, herbal twang is more in evidence, the fruit juicy and quite sweet, sitting against a core of lemony acidity. It's an easy-drinking wine, perhaps a little too sweet for some, but an interesting addition to the English table wine story. £14.99 as part of a mixed dozen. Watch the video for more information.
(2022) The base vintage here (46% Pinot Noir, 18% Pinot Meunier and 36% Chardonnay) is 2018, with 15% reserve wines. Fermentation was in a combination of stainless-steel and older oak barrels. It is made by assemblage, blending 6% red wine and was on the Lees for 20 months before a dosage of just 3 g/l. There's red fruit and a real meatiness on the nose, gravelly and racy too. The palate is strikingly dry and gastronomic, loads of citrussy acidity slicing through those meatier, tart raspberry fruit characters. Lovely stuff.
(2022) This is the second vintage of this cuvée from Surrey's Greyfriars Vineyard, the initial 2015 bottling having won a Wine GB Trophy. Only 3,400 bottles of this wine will be released in May 2022. The 2016 spent an additional six months under cork having been disgorged in August 2021, and is again a blend from the best plots of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, fermented and aged for around 48 months in older oak barrels, with a dosage of 7.5g/l. There is a mealiness and slightly meaty, toasty element to the nose which is otherwise crisp and focused on lemons and custard apples. In the mouth the mousse is fresh and lively, and there's a great citrus drive to this wine, a fat lemony concentration, the acidity taut and that moderate dosage emphasising a pithy, apple core dryiness to the finish. It drinks very well, the barrel-ageing fof the base wine just giving a little breadth, but I think this would also be worth cellaring for a year or two as it will loosen up a little more. A limited number of magnums will be released too I believe.
(2022) Made by Three Choirs in Gloucestershire, it's a mind-bending unoaked blend of 27% madeleine angevine, 20% solaris, 16% orion, 16% seyval blanc, 15% reichensteiner and 4% bacchus. quite lightly aromatic, a little grassiness and a touch of spring flowers, pleasing and unagressive. In the mouth there is a hint of sweetness, but only a hint, as it's the featherlight and summery fruit and adequate pithy grapefruit acidity that makes this rather sippable - and at 12% abv, useful too.
(2022) Made from Burgundian clones of Pinot Noir, light oaking in French and American barrels followed whole bunch fermentation. A nice pale- to medium colour, fragrant and gentle raspberry and a touch of woodland truffle are appealing. In the mouth there's some spice, reminiscent of clove maybe, and a hessian-dry palate, the subtle and savoury fruit staying light and elegant into a finish etched by keen raspberry acidity.
(2022) This is a traditional method sparkling wine in a brisk and lemony style. Based around Chardonnay, there is a lovely biscuity, almost hazelnut richness playing subtley in the aroma, the nutrients set against apple and citrus. The palate has some creamy richness too, before that zesty, cool and lemony acidity of the finish. Quite a lean style, but for me that works in this wine. £29.70 as part of a mixed dozen.