(2018) From a low-yielding vintage, this is a fabulous wine from Taittinger, a 50/50 blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir with 9g/l of residual sugar. Chardonnay is sourced primarily from the Grands Crus of the Côte des Blancs, and Pinot Noir primarily from those of the Montagne de Reims. Fabulously toasty and nutty on the nose, there's an all-encompassing feeling of luxurious depth, then the palate bursts through with a deal of sweetness - fruit rather than sugar, and electrifying acidity, a gorgeous, fleshy plum fruitiness and lovely weight and texture, the finish long with more of those toasty notes to beguile. Use wine-searcher to find plenty of independent stockists, plus big names like Majestic and John Lewis.
(2018) A highly unusual sparkling wine from Masi, masters of Amarone, who have used the same appassimento technique, drying grapes on straw mats, for the 25% Verduzzo in this blend, which is fermented along with 75% freshly-harvested Pinto Grigio. It's made by the charmat method as used in Prosecco, and has clear similarities to a good Brut Prosecco (this has around 9g/l of residual sugar), just a gentle effervesence and more of a herby and lemon peel grippiness on the palate, pear fruit and a bit of interesting texture too before a dry, nicely tart apple finish.
(2018) Another Brut Prosecco, so with less than 12g/l of residual sugar, this is a forthy and crowd-pleasing style, though with a deal of elegance and refinement. The nose is filled with crisp pear aromas, with delicate floral and icing sugar nuances, before a palate that has a good backbone of acidity, and that moderate sugar giving both a hint of sweetness and a nice lemony, sours freshness to the flavour profile.
(2018) My word but I loved this. Two-thirds Pinot Noir, one-third Chardonnay, coming from Grand Cru vineyards in Bouzy, this has a moderator dosage of around 8g/l and a nose filled with buttered toast and wheatgerm, a spiced pear fruitiness beneath. Racy and fine on the palate, the mousse crisply textured, so much sweet fruit, yet a dazzling, orangey acid structure and textural richness, toast again in the finish, giving this sumptuous presence and making for fabulous drinking.
(2018) Made by the traditional method, this is a dry and very grown-up take on elderflower wine, with 7g/l of residual sugar and 12% alcohol by volume. Pale and moderately effervescent, aromas are floral and herbal, not the pungent 'cat's pee' elderflower used to describe many a Sauvignon Blanc. In the mouth it has a fine mousse and it is dry, a keenly honed acidity driving, the flavour difficult to describe: herbal, a touch of endive bitterness, with a lemon peel zestiness too. A successful wine, perhaps more akin to a Loire Crémant than a Champagne, for want of a better way of describing the flavours.
(2018) It may not be on your radar as yet, but there's a buzz about the crémant wines of France - France's 'other' sparkling wines made by the Traditional Method with in-bottle secondary fermentation, but not in Champagne. From Burgundy, this is a blend of 92% Chardonnay and, intriguingly, 8% Gamay.
(2018) 30 months on the lees for this blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier from the limestone hills of Smith & Evans Somerset vineyards. There’s a lovely golden glow to the colour, and plenty of streaming, tiny bubbles. Yeast and bready, it has fine autolytic notes, salts and nutty apple. In the mouth the balance is very good, a drier style, with some sweet mid-palate ripeness moving through to a lemons and salts acidity. Very attractive.
(2018) The full five years this blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay spends on the lees in bottle offsets and gives richness to the very low dosage of 3g/l, and along with 40% reserve wines results in a wine that is chalk dry, but not aggressive. There's a lovely lick of seashell salinity on the nose, joining fresh lemony fruit but with a developed breadiness beneath. In the mouth it is very keen and crips, the lively mousse carrying more salts and citrus, a dry apple core acidity and just little vestiges of nuttiness and biscuit in quite a complex character, finishing dry but not austere.
(2018) A brut Prosecco, so drier than many and lower in sugar, hence the very modest 63 calories per 100ml, so less than 100 calories in a decent 150mm serving. It is foamy and frothy, with a crisp apple and lemon sherbet nose, the palate noticeably drier than many Proseccos, with plenty of lemony bite, but still enough pear and apple fruitiness to please fans of Italy's most popular fizz. Note that offers seem to abound on this: at time of review down £8.99 in Budgens, £9.99 in Ocado
(2018) What a beautiful all-Chardonnay wine this is from Greyfriars in Surrey, a little extra time in bottle post-disgorgement now showing lovely creaminess and yet full fruit, pear and apple, yes, but almost a soft summer berry character, the rich mousse leading to a taut, defined finish. The 2014 is the wine in stock with several other retailers at time of review.