(2017) At first glance this is classy looking with its gold label and 'Blanc de Blancs' the biggest message on the label, but scrutiny doesn't reveal much more except it is made in France, with the traditional method and is Extra Dry - which means sweeter than Brut. The Corney & Barrow web site reveals it is sourced from Savoie, but confusingly describes it as Chenin Blanc in one place, and Ugni Blanc in another. This was not my favourite wine of this small range: don't get me wrong, it is well-made and more than acceptable fizz, apple-scented and flavoured with a bready background, but the sweetness doesn't sit entirely happily with the acidity and the whole picture is just a tad non-descript.
(2017) As it says on the label, a wine made by the 'methode traditionelle', from the three Champagne grapes. It has a lively, foamy mousse and aromas that show plenty of citrus and a touch of yeasty autolysis, quite Champagne like indeed. On the palate it seems rather sweet. I am not sure whether it's maximum dosage for Brut that's doing it, or just the fruit quality, but it does tend to make the wine feel slightly simple, which with its very good acidity and touch of biscuity character it is not.
(2017) Moët et Chandon created their Argentine operation in 1959, so have a 60-year record of making sparkling wines here in Mendoza, this a traditional method blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. It's a delicious and elegant wine, reminding me of some Franciacorta 'Saten' wines, dominated by creamy, fuller-bodied Chardonnay fruit and with a silkiness to the mousse and texture. Add a soft but persistent acidity and it's a classy Champagne lookalike at a very decent price on Majestic's promotional offer of £13.49 when you buy six (at time of review).
(2017) From the DOCG area of Valdobbiade,, this has only 6g/l of dosage. The bubbles are medium-sized, and the opening aroma is of fresh sliced pear, though some little icing sugar and white flower notes add interest. In the mouth there's a deal of fruit concentration here, the clean pear and lemon flavours of the grape, that lower sugar and plenty of acidity giving it a touch of seriousness, savouriness, into the finish.
(2017) Taittinger's 2008 is a great wine, there's no doubt about that. With its pale yellow colour and streaming, minuscule bubbles, the initial aromas are of citrus and salts, with a touch of pasty in the background, and an elegant hint of white flowers. In the mouth it is full of verve and vitality, loads of crisp lemony fruit, but that subtle biscuit and brioche is there, a lovely saline lick of acidity, tightening and extending the finish into an ultra-fine point. Drinking very well, it has finesse and concentrated power, and undoubtedly some serious cellaring potential for those who prefer their Champagnes to show more development.
(2017) This Blanc de Noirs sourced only from Grands and Premieres Cru villages spent some nine years slowly developing in Gosset's cellars. Bottled with only 5g/l of residual sugar, and made from 100% Pinot Noir, it has a burnished light gold colour and immediately involving aromas: it is meaty and dense, with pastry notes and lemon, but there's a sense of grip and concentration too. In the mouth it is a glorious mouthful of Champagne: concentrated, searingly intense, yet shimmering with light and elegance. A delicate, featherweight mousse and fine, long acid structure sees to that, the sheer weight of the initial attack tapering beautifully to a crisp, focused and precise finish.
(2017) Partially vinified in oak barrels and blended from 12 hectares of organically certified and cultivated vineyards, this new cuvée is 42% Chardonnay, 36% Pinot Meunier and 21% Pinot Noir with less than 6g/l dosage. It's a fresh and lightweight style, though almost four years on the lees has added some nuttiness and brioche character. But free-flowing and elegant on the palate, it's crisp, lemony and finishes with a lick of pleasing salinity.
(2017) For Deutz, a brand new prestige wine to the Portfolio as of October 2017. It is 100% Pinot Noir from Aÿ, and comes from two vineyards, La Côte which lies immediately above the cellars, and Meurtet. In future single vineyard bottlings from the 2012 vintage will appear from each vineyard as part of the Hommage series. Very nice fruitiness here, a hint of small red berries - cranberry and redcurrant - as well as a real lemony freshness. A touch of creaminess from the lees ageing before lots of bold orange flavour, and again that lovely freshness and elegance that is the hallmark of Deutz.
(2017) A fascinating new wine from the rejuvenated Piper-Heidsieck, one of Champagne's hottest names right now. This is effectively a 2011 wine, though not released as a vintage Champagne: the information-packed back label reveals that 84% is from 2011, with 16% reserve wines, that it was bottled in 2012 and disgorged in June 2016. That extra 18 months or so of ageing beyond the regular Brut, plus much lower dosage (5g/l as opposed to 10g/l or so) makes the difference. And what a superb wine it is: a little depth to the colour, then a savoury and salty, instantly gastronomic set of aromas, linear white fruits, lots of nutty notes of development, but lovely clarity. In the mouth it combines a fairly magical marriage of creamy expansiveness, almond and ripe stone fruits, with a searing mineral and citrus core, the low dosage helping propel that saline, ozone-freshness of the finish. Terrific and well priced. This wine will mainly be in restaurants, but some high end retailers will also carry it.
(2017) Though their prestige cuvée, Belle Epoque, is also an all-Chardonnay wine, a non-vintage Blanc de Blancs is a new addition to Perrier-Jouët's repertoire as of summer 2017. Cellarmaster Hervé Deschamps selected his most elegant and floral Chardonnays for this blend, and it certainly fulfills its brief. From its clear glass bottle the wine pours a very pale colour and opens with fresh, bright floral and summery aromas, a subtle biscuit character, but much more focused on light fruitiness. In the mouth the mousse is crisp and the fruit clean and snappy, an elegant acid framework around cool, quite vivacious fruit. It's a lovely wine and no doubt precisely what Perrier-Jouët intended, but I have to say it feels just a little too simple at its price.