(2021) Until very recently all English sparkling wines were made by the expensive and time-consuming 'traditional method'. That's the method used in Champagne, where the second fermentation is in individual bottles, which are then cellared for 18 months or more before release. Now the charmat, or 'tank' method, is used too, with second fermentation in large steel tanks rather than bottles. It's a much quicker and arguably easier way to make a sparkling wine and the method by which Prosecco is made.
Boco is a charmat wine, composed of 42% Reichenstiener with equal parts Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. It is frothy and offers aromas of sherbet, lemons and icing sugar. On the palate it is light and very straightforward, a touch of peach and pear fruitiness, and good zesty acidity. It's not a complex wine by any means and is indeed comparable to a good Prosecco. For me that also suggests its price of £26 is rather problematic.
(2021) Twenty-eight different wines in this blend, all Pinot Noir from across the vineyard parcels, with 10g/l of residual sugar. Like all of these wines, the base wines do not go through malolactic fermentation, which Corinne believes will change the flavour and thus not be the purest expression of their vineyard. Really attractive nose, with an almond touch of creaminess but great freshness too. The sweetness on the palate is as much about fruit as the dosage, but it has a lively thrust of lemony directness married to a beautifully easy-drinking appeal. Only 8% of current vintage in this - 92% of reserves.
(2021) This white sparkling wine is a blend of 60% Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. After three years on the lees, it was bottled with 7g/l dosage. Delightfully zippy, mineral and fresh, yet there is biscuit richness too. In the mouth the citrus freshness surges through, with a distinct lick of saltiness through the finish. Despite the lean, saline character there is charm aplenty in this lovely wine.
(2021) All Chardonnay from Villers-Mamery (the eastern facing sector of the Montagne de Reims), the wine sees 100% malo, with 25% aged in wood. After four years on the lees it was disgorged 12/201, with 8g/l dosage from a Solera 'super cuvée'. Pale lemony straw coloured, I love the nose, which has bready and meaty aromas, a touch of flint, and great umami depth. In the mouth the mousse is cushiony and full, and there's a striking vibrancy of lemon fruit: really punchy, vivacious, with a full, rich texture and bright orange and pink grapefruit acid thrust to extend the finish. Just lovely. Price and stockist quoted is for 2013 vintage at time of review.
(2021) What a fabulous wine this DP 2006 is, from a generally dry and warm vintage. There's a fabulously flinty, seal-salt and minerals quality on the nose, the wine immediately suggesting power and great concentration. It is gently toasty, all those complex reductive notes making for endlessly fascinating aromatics. In the mouth it is taut, intense and equally concentrated, but this is not a brawny wine; instead the sinew connects clean, powerful lemon rind and creamy fruit notes that have a certain fat, but no excess. It's a wine that edges on phenolic, with some tannin giving real authority, but somehow it is charming too with its balance and fruit purity. A terrific DP.
(2021) 'C.M. 1993' is not a vintage date: it refers to the 1993 metre height of the Col de la Madeleine. In 2013, when the components of this wine were assembled, it was one of the 'Hors Categories' climbs of the Tour de France. Ninety percent of the base wine was barrel fermented, in new barrels from forests in Champagne. A slightly lower liquor de tirage has also reduced the pressure slightly, for a less aggressively bubbly style. It is a blend of 55% Pinot Noir, 30% Pinot Meunier and 15% Chardonnay from 2008, 2010, 2011 and 2012. 5,100 bottles were disgorged in July 2019 with a dosage of 6g/l. A terrific nose, where there is vanilla and a touch of toast overlaid on mushroom and truffle, confit lemon and a suggestion of sweeter peach. It is fresher than the C.C.F 2067, for me it has more nerve and vitality, the rolling mousse leading onto mouthfilling but super-fresh flavours, a beautifully elongated palate where acidity shimmers to a fine, tapering point.
(2021) This cuvée named after the Col de la Croix de Fer, the Hors Categories stage of the Tour de France, where riders climbed to 2067 feet to the summit. That was in 2012, when this wine was laid downm to be disgorged in May 2017. It blends 45% Pinot Meunier with 40% Pinot Noir and 15% Chardonnay, with 85% of the blend being 2010 vintage (fermented and aged for a year in barrel), along with 15% from 2011. Only 3,600 bottles were produced, and once again a lower tirage means it has lower pressure than most Champagnes. Dosage is 5g/l. Somewhere between butercup yellow and gold, the nose shows lots of vanilla, dominating a light earthiness and bruised apple fruit. In the mouth it is gently effervescent, and the maturity of this bottle, #3,151, gives more of the lightly oxidative but honeyed style, before freshening citrus and apple acidity, plus a lick of saltiness, balances the finish.
(2021) From the second-oldest, dedicated Champagne house founded in 1730, this is 48% Pinot Noir (mostly from Les Riceys), 39% Chardonnay, the balance Pinot Meunier. Coming from a cool year, but now with seven years under its belt, there is some gold to the colour and an attractively creamy, nutty and bruised apple fruit quality. On the palate the dosage is apparent, giving a sweet attack, but a fat and juicy lemony fruit corew and acidity sweeps through. The finish shows a little salts and minerals, in an easy drinking and stylish vintage Champagne. £24.99 as part of a mixed six at Majestic at time of review.
(2021) An estate that started in the 1990s, one of the very earliest producers, but burst into the limelight by winning a sparkling wine award from Decanter in 2010 when ranged blind agains the world's best traditional method wines. A really pleasing bottle this, blending Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, bright on the nose with citrus-flecked floral aromatics, but underpinned by a nice autolysis, nutty and lightly toasty, before the sweet-fruited palate which is balanced and approachable, some confit lemon intensity and pithy acid structure into the reasonably long finish.
(2021) The very first vintage from this small grower-producer, a boutique operation with vineyards planted in 2015 and working to be sustainable and herbicide-free, the wine currently made at Ridgeview. The blend is 60% Chardonnay, 20% Pinot noir, 20% Pinot Meunier, with a dosage of 6.8g/l. Very foamy mousse and a fairly deep golden tinge to the colour. In a way, a particularly Champagne-like nose, slightly lactic, oxidative, and initially for me not absolutely convincing. A little butter and toast, and nuttiness. In the mouth a great initial impression of sweetness despite the modest dosage, good rosy apple fruit comes through, much nicer on the palate for me, a zippy lime acid line adds a bit of sherbetty spark and the balance is good in the finish.