(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) 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.
(2019) The neckband of all of the ‘D’ non-vintage wines states "Aged 5 years," a considerably longer period than most Champagnes, especially rosé wines, that tend to forsake some of the yeasty development in favour of fruitiness. This blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay is also a low dosage Brut, with 8g/l of residual sugar. It retains delicacy, though there is a meaty, earthy character with small red fruit notes, a touch of redcurrant, but a shimmering lemony freshness. The palate is driven by the red fruits, but the time on the lees comes through giving this a more complex layering of flavour, some umami and salts, and a lovely acid freshness. An excellent rosé Champagne. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.
(2019) Old vine Pinot Noir from 1er Cru vineyards in Vertus, this is made by bleeding some colour from the Pinot grapes at the start of fermentation. It's Extra Brut, so dry with only around 3g/l of sugar, but ageing for two years on the lees and six more months on the bottle adds richness. Filled with small, taut red fruit aromas - redcurrant and raspberry - it is vinous for sure, the PInot heritage clear as it strikes the palate with real authority: tight, crisp tannins and acids, the little bullets of hard red fruits giving crunch and presence, and the mousse and touch of leesy creaminess softening the picture into a long, crisply-defined finish. Terrific, thought-provoking pink Champagne.
(2018) Just a beautiful rosé from Bellavista. one of Franciacorta's bigger houses where all base wines are barrel-fermented. From south-facing vineyards this is more or less equal parts Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. An attractive pale colour and the prettiest aromas, small wild strawberries, peach down and watermelon, all lightly touched by creamy vanilla. On the palate the mousse is very fine, very elegant, and though there is that soft and seductive strawberry, the acid balance is perfect and the shimmering length of the wine is terrific.
(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) What a lovely wine from the estate of the legendary Steven Spurrier and his wife in Dorset. 80% Pinot Noir with 20% Chardonnay, it’s a deeply coloured pink fizz that overflows with creamy strawberry aromas, a nice touch of something gravelly and more serious in the background, but all about open and invitingly deep red fruits really. In the mouth a lovely rolling mousse, and that full fruit expression of summer berries and peaches is briskly moved along with finely-etched acidity and more of that minerals and gravel-stone firmness. Delightful. On offer at £27.95 at time of review.
(2018) The rosé version of the Bees Knees is made to the same formula of grape must with the addition of green tea, and is very similar, acheiving a little bit of strawberry pulp fruitiness, again nicely cut by the herby and earthy undertone of the tea, to leave this medium-sweet but crisp and refreshing.