(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) A blend of 50% Cabernet Franc and 50% Grolleau, from vines planted on chalky limestone of the Saumur region, this is both elegant and fun. It's a traditional method sparkling wine majoring on fruit and delicacy, perhaps a halfway-house between Prosecco and a more yeasty, leesy Champagne style. It is crammed with raspberry and reducurrant aromas, just a hint of toastiness in the background, then the palate delivers up a plateful of strawberries and cream cut with a slice of lemon. Not too dry (though it is Brut with 11g/l of dosage), this is an excellent quality Crémant made for Sainsbury's by the well-respected house of Ladubay. £9.00 on offer at time of review.
(2018) Annick Tinel-Blondelet has been in charge here since 1983, the 12th generation of her winegrowers family, their vineyards sited on slopes of Kimmeridgian marl, as found in the top vineyards of Chablis. What a lovely nose on this wine, striking a balance between peach and exotic fruit ripeness, and smoky, mineral-driven terroir aromatics, sensuous and at the same time brightly appealing. In the mouth the featherlight 12.5% alcohol does not mean any lack of texture, the 35-year-old vines giving natural concentration, and that salty tang of minerality honing the edges of the ripe and crowd-pleasing fruitiness. Deliciously gluggable and classy, and at its £14.99 offer price at time of review, a serioud steal.
(2017) With over 900 stores in the UK, Iceland is a significant retailer, yet one that very, very rarely features on these pages because, frankly, their wine range has always been rather pedestrian. This wine, however, exclusive to Iceland in the UK, is a little cracker. A traditional method sparkling wine from the Loire Valley, it is mostly about fresh citrus fruit on the nose, but there is a little bit of custard cream richness, and the palate has a ripe fruit sweetness to offset the racing apple acidity and crispness of the mousse. Quite long, stylish, and very smart for the price.
(2017) The epitome of refined Sauvignon Blanc, this does not miss out on fruit or a hint of nicely controlled exuberance, but is so classic in its style. The nose has gentle stone fruit aromas, just a background suggestion of grassiness and flint, all very elegant with a shade of white flowers somewhere in the mix. On the palate the sweet ripeness of the fruit is there, but this is dry and has some hedgerow, gooseberry tartness, a squeeze of grapefruit and lime citrus, into a long, elegantly tapering finish. Very classy Sauvignon Blanc indeed.
(2017) A case of this was purchased by me maybe a decade ago, and after three of four enjoyable bottles from it, I rather forgot all about the remainder in the cellar, so it was time to try this 27-year-old sweet Chenin Blanc again. The colour is a lovely buttercup/light gold, with immediately attractive notes of honey and wild flowers, beeswax and pollen, quite complex and so inviting. On the palate it is medium-bodied but has some slippery texture and weight, and the sweetness is lovely: just as sweet as I remember it, a light honey and caramel, but dazzling freshness too. Long, with some barley sugar and excellent acidity, it's not full-on sweet, but just lovely. Drink with fruity desserts, foie-gras, or on its own. There are actually two or three stockists of this 1990 at time of review - use wine-searcher.
(2017) A Loire wine for those who don't like their Sauvignon Blanc too tropical or too green, this pale-coloured, mineral example has stony aromas, citrus and the vaguest suggestion of nettle. In the mouth the 65-year-old vines grown on limestone soils give a natural concentration and bit of grip, the fruit taut with melon rind and lemon peel flavours, that little stone and salts note there in the acidity of the finish.
(2017) An unusual sparkling rosé, made in the Loire Valley by the traditional method, with second fermentation in individual bottles. It's a blend of Gamay, Grolleau and Pineau d'Aunis, and has quite a deep colour with streaming small bubbles. On the nose it is all about buoyant, cheerful red fruits, summery and bright with rose-hip and strawberry. In the mouth that delightful red berry fruitiness and freshness continues, a cut of tart raspberry to add lovely balancing acidity, but the sweet elegance of the fruit powers through. Delightful and different.
(2017) This sparkling wine from the Loire Valley is an unusual Blanc de Blancs blend of Chenin and Chardonnay, made by the traditional method. Moderately small bubbles rise through the glass, and it is the fresh apple cut of the Chenin that dominates, before a little custardy infill from the ripe Chardonnay. In the mouth this has loads of flavour and fruit sweetness, though perhaps the mousse could be a little more fine. Tangy, with citrus and quite a vivacious feel, it drinks well and would be a fine aperitif fizz.
(2017) The label doesn't list the varieties for this distinctly off-dry to medium-sweet Loire pink, but it's 60% Cabernet Franc with 20% each of Gamay and Grolleau. Quite pale in colour, it has a sweetie, cherry lips and red liquorice nose, some floral aspects, and a plenty of sweetness on the palate. Fruity and simple, there is decent acidity, but it is verging on a dessert wine for my palate and perhaps best matched to strawberry shortcake or similar desserts.