(2020) Champagne house Pommery were early investors in English vineyards, with their own 40-hectare site about to come on stream. For now, they are buying English fruit from Hampshire and making this wine in facilities borrowed from Hattingley Valley estate. It's a traditional method wine, made from the Champagne grapes, and it is beautifully pitched: there is a hint of biscuit and truffle on the nose, but much more about citrus and English orchard fruit. The palate shows lovely fruit sweetness, and the dosage adding an extra element of approachability, but the acid balance on persitence of the mousse if excellent. Not cheap, but a nice way to celebrate English Wine Week, which starts today. Watch the video for more information.
(2020) A preview of a brand new wine from Gosset, to appear on the market some time in June 2020. Notes comes from a tasting with cellarmaster, Odilon de Varine, via Zoom.
Beautiful colour, a burnished hint of gold to the straw yellow, masses of streaming, miniscule bubbles. Absolutely beguiling nose, with the subtle oxidative notes from the 12 years on lees, some toast and custard, but fresh orchard fruits, little greengage and yellow plum notes, and really very multi-layered. The wine tightens up considerably on the palate, immediately citrussy and bright, but with a supple, smooth and rounded texture. There is a definite lick of salty minerals in the finish, further tensioning the picture. Really very lovely, intriguing balance between the open, matured flavours and youthful zest and energy. Odilon thinks it will age extremely well, because of that long contact with the lees. 12,000 bottles produced.
RRP is around £95 a bottle and it will be available from Fine + Rare, The Whisky Exchange, Planet of the Grapes, Uncorked and Fortnum and Mason.
(2020) The 2002 Belle Epoque is 50% Chardonnay, 46% Pinot Noir with 4% Pinot Meunier. Some critics have claimed it is too soft and too forward for a deluxe cuvée from the outstanding 2002 vintage, but I have to say I found this to be both seductive and beautifully pitched. The colour has a little golden hue and there is loads of creamy, nutty, gently toasty development, but ripe rosy apple fruit too. In the mouth it is generous and sweet-fruited, a pillow of soft mousse flows across the tongue, then suddenly there's an initial spark of citrus and salt, that develops nicely into a long tantalising finish playing sweetness against sharpness delightfully. Possibly not a wine for extended cellaring, but a joy now.
(2020) I really enjoyed this cloudy, unfiltered gently sparkling wine, made in steel tanks with wild yeast, it ends up very dry with around 3G/l sugar. Straw to pale yellow, lovely lemony fruit, spicy with a peppery note, there is biscuit from the lees ageing. Bursts with bright lemon fruit, so much vivacious, ripe pear fruit, mouthfilling sweetness of fruit, and the dry, yeast and lightly nutty finish.
(2020) A touch of Chardonnay is blended with the typical grapes of Cava in this wine (Macabeo, Xarel.lo and Parellada), part of Lidl's 'Wine Tour', May 2020. Made by the traditional method, the nose is very inviting with its custardy, creamy and waxy sense of richness, a little biscuit character too. In the mouth the mousse is generous and pillowing, with a crisp lemony fruit, that citrussy freshness clean into the relatively long finish. Really very good value.
(2020) 72% Pinot and 28% Chardonnay, this traditional method sparkling wine spent two years on the lees. Quite a golden glowing colour, and a nice note of custardy richness before a great slicing apple and lemon thrust of fruit and a fine herbal note coming through to add edge and interest.
(2020) From Grand Cru vineyards in Avize and Oger, this is a blend of the 2014 and 2015 Chardonnays, disgorged in November 2017, with a dosage of 9.17g/l - all of that information on the back label. Pale straw-gold in colour, lots of miniscule bubbles stream in the glass, the nose taut, with lemon and Cox's pippin, a hint of hazelnut, and nice breadiness. In the mouth the combination of ripe fruit and dosage gives this initial sweetness, but there's a lolvely mineral salts and citrus clarity, the finish long and bone dry, a deliciously drinkable Champagne yet with just enough austerity to please lovers of the purest styles.
(2020) You're going to either love or hate this sparkling natural wine - and I loved it. A traditional method blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir aged 24 months on the lees, it is 'sold as seen', having not been disgorged - so it is cloudy with the expired yeast cells - and having received no dosage - so it is bone dry. Foamy and full, the colour is a hazy, cloudy yellow, and there's a big waft of cracked wheat to begin. That toastiness continues, joined by crisp citrus, then on the palate so dry and refreshing, the zestiness allied to that wheaty, yeasty, slightly weissbier character is lovely, making this intriguing, gastronomic and, in the end, very satisfying.
(2020) Yes, you read it right: Roger Daltrey, as in the lead singer of British rock institution, The Who. Released in celebration of his 50 years fronting one of the UK's most loved bands, a percentage of proceeds will be donated to Teen Cancer America, a charity founded by Daltrey and fellow band member, lead guitarist and songwriter, Pete Townshend. The bottle comes adorned with the band’s trademark bullseye symbol, as well as artist Mike McInnerny’s artwork from the album, Tommy. Roger Daltrey himself says "I am very excited to have the opportunity to express my passion for Champagne through this limited edition cuvée. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do."
Composed of 45% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay and 15% Pinot Meunier coming mostly from the Marne Valley, there's a glint of gold to the colour, fine, streaming bubbles and the nose has a biscuit and brioche richness over ripe and juicy lemon and ripe pear fruit. In the mouth it is softened by a healthy level of dosage (10g/l), but is nicely fresh and free-flowing, the fruit and the acidity staying crisp and lively, the little creaminess to the texture and softening hint of vanilla making it a very easy-drinking and approachable in style.
As well as the Champagne itself, sets of The Who Champagne glasses and a limited edition pewter ice bucket are also available from Eminent Life
(2020) What a nice fizz from the organic vineyards of Charles Baur, a blend of 40% Pinot Blanc, 40% Pinot Auxerrois and 20% Chardonnay, it is made by the traditional method with 24-months on the lees, and is as approachable and crowd-pleasing as you like, but really rather fine. Clean, crisp orchard fruits on the nose with just a suggestion biscuity quality, then super fresh but generous and not at all tart or acidic on the palate, a little herbal note along with the apple fruit into a clean, fresh finish. Food-friendly stuff too - for fish and chips perhaps?