(2023) A few Champagne houses, notably Moët & Chandon, have launched special 'Ice' versions of their standard wine, specifically made to be enjoyed poured over ice. Following a very similar path, this from Cava giant Freixenet, is blended to be sweet and rich. Garnacha and Pinot Noir are blended and aged for a year on the lees, the wine bottled with 45g/l of residual sugar making it 'Semi-Seco', the equivalent of Demi-Sec in Champagne. Raspberry and icing sugar aromas leap from the glass, a little touch of buttery pastry from the time on the lees too. In the mouth there's definite sweetness and buoyant fruit flavour, but the acidity is really very good meaning this has balance. I think perhaps the pressure is slightly lower too, so that there is no real feeling of dilution. Good fun this - not a serious wine, but we all need a bit of frivolity in our lives now and again. Watch the video for more information.
(2023) A pink vintage Cava made from Pinot Noir, this spent 20 months on the lees. A delicate salmon pink, the nose is pretty with a touch of elderflower to raspberry and something a little riper, like guava or mango. In the mouth more of that full-fruited character, this is all about fruitiness and pretty floral characters, though the acidity is very well judged and the cushion of mousse gives a quiet sense of opulence. Quite unusual and very enjoyable.
(2023) The blend is 50% Pinot Noir, 30% Pinot Meunier and 20% Chardonnay for this wine, fruit from the Vallée de la Marne. The dosage is modest at 7g/l. Coppery pink in colour, the mousse is modest, and the immediate aromas are of bruised apple and mushroom, a hint of cranberry fruit. In the mouth this has a lively streak of lemony acidity that is the first impression. Quite rounded, there is a nuttiness and that bruised, oxidative character again. Not a rosé for those who look for a pretty summer fruit style, quite meaty.
(2023) The rosé version is made from Merlot and Pinot Noir, again sourced and bottled in Germany. This was probably my favourite of the Château delISH range tasted here. Some raspberry-like aromas as well as sherbet lemon and a little herbal tang. The palate is basically dry, rosy apple skin and lemon flavours are well balanced.
(2023) This 100% Pinot Noir pink is made by the saignée method, whole bunches of grapes 'bleeding' colour and phenolics during pressing. It has a notably deep colour, with aromas of rich strawberry and red cherry aromas, a suggestion of Negroni on the nose for me. There is a sour cherry bite on the palate, the sweetness of the dosage against the cranberry and cherry richness, a little tannin adding a robust edge to the finish. A distinctive style.
(2023) Gosset's pink is a blend of 55% Chardonnay and 45% Pinot Noir, 8% of the Pinot vinified as red wine. The wine does not go through malolactic conversion, and is aged a minimum of three years on the lees. Interesting factoid: Cellarmaster Odilon de Varine prefers to blend it in black glassware, so he is not influenced by colour, but by taste and aroma alone. The nose has a lovely pillow of biscuit and custardy creaminess, but there's keen, small red berry fruit too. The mousse is mouth-filling, and this is immediately dry and crisp with 8g/l dosage, shimmering with elegant, lemony, almost minty fresh acidity. The savoury berry fruit is nicely weighted through the mid-palate. Watch the Wine of the Month video for more information.
(2023) I'm on record as saying that pitching zero alcohol 'wines' as being just like the real thing, is a deceit; they never are. Drinks such as this begin life as wine, but the alcohol is removed by a variety of techniques. No matter how refined the system, a massive proportion of aroma, flavour and texture is also removed. Odd Bird is made from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grown in the Languedoc, and is made by the traditional method with a year on the lees in individual bottles. Removing the alcohol has left a fizzy rather than sparkling wine, with some raspberry and light herbal aromas. In the mouth it's a little bit sweet, rather thin, but it is not unpleasant. It's bears no meaningful relation to a proper traditional method sparkling wine but it is a pleasant and grown-up sparkling drink. £9.99 as part of a mixed 12 bottles. Watch the video for more information.
(2022) Eighty-five percent of Taittinger's blend is vinified as a white Champagne, before 15% of Pinot Noir, made as a red wine with skin contact, is blended. That gives a relatively deep colour, and plenty of warm, creamy strawberry fruit character. In the mouth there is a perception of sweetness because of that pretty and ripe fruit, though of course this is Brut, and little toasty notes mingle with red berries before a fresh, appetising finish. A very nice style from the family-owned Taittinger. Quite widely available (also in Tesco, Morrison and independents too) for between around £39 to £45 per bottle.
(2022) This open with aromas of small, dry red berries with a nicely developed hint of yeasty, lightly smoky biscuit character. There's an initial rush of sweetness, surely a fairly high dosage, with tart red berries and lemon adding the contrast. This finishes decisive and dry, a hint of mineral salts adding to the freshness. As part of a mixed dozen the price will be less than £27.00.
(2022) This blend of 60% Chardonnay and 40% Pinot Noir is partially fermented in oak and spends a minimum of 24 months on the lees. It is Brut, and opens with a very fine sense of minerals and small, summer blossom aromas. The fruit is elegant, with raspberry and redcurrant. In the mouth the mousse is cushiony and rich, with rosy red apple and those fragrant summer fruit and floral notes, ending with some richness but very good clarity, a pleasing touch of mouth-watering bitterness. A delicious, elegant and successful style.