Freixenet was opposed to “”international varieties” for many years, but I’m glad it has relented, because this is a very well made blend of Pinot and Chardonnay. Savoury and dry, with a Cava-like twist, it’s palate-tinglingly fresh and long.
This is a Chardonnay-dominated blend, but it’s the 33% Pinot Noir that really comes through on the nose and palate, giving the wine a malty, raspberry fruity richness. The Chardonnay really kicks in the finish, lifting the wine and giving it frehsness and zest. Classy stuff.
Laithwaites only makes 999 bottles of this wine (spot the marketing spin), but it’s a pretty impressive English take on a Blanc de Blancs Champagne, with small bubbles, creamy autolysis and a bready, refreshing finish. The acidity is just a little raw perhaps.
Pieter Ferreira is way ahead of anyone else making sparkling wine in the Cape at the moment, as demonstrated by this partially-barrel fermented fizz. It’s sappy and fresh, but with attractively yeasty autolysis notes, very fine bubbles and a tapering finish. A New World fizz that’s better than a lot of cheap Champagnes.
A blend of 60% Pinot Noir from the Aube and 40% Chardonnay from the Côte des Blancs, this has a hefty proportion of toasty reserve wine to add to the ripe fruit from the 2009 vintage. The result is a delicious fizz with real complexity, power and depth as well as the backbone to age.
Well, that’s my Christmas Party fizz taken care of. This is outrageously good value, a superb own-label Champagne that ranks with the very best buys in the high street right now. It’s a toasty, bottle-aged blend of mostly Pinot Meunier with 40% Pinot Noir and it’s singing at the top of its voice. Small bubbles, great length, richness and complexity, with lots of extra weight from 30% reserve wines. Buy, buy, buy.
Nerello Mascalese is versatile enough to make terrific sparklers – like this bready, toasty rosé spumante. The fruit is spicy, and rather savoury, with an intriguing nose that reminded me of red onions (it wasn’t oxidised, I should hasten to add). The mousse is soft but persistent. Bone dry, refined and complex – a serious Rosé, Bravo!
Not the cheapeast Prosecco on the market by soem distance, but this is worth the loot: light bodied, just off dry, wtih fine bubbles and flavours of boiled sweets, citrus fruit and a hint of peach. Long and refreshing.
Just when you were beginning to think that English fizz is a little over-hyped, along comes a stylish, well-priced number like this Pinot Noir-based cuvée. Coral pink in colour, showing some toasty, yeasty bottle development on the nose, small bubbles and a savoury, wild strawberry finish. One to baffle a French wine snob with.
If I had to choose just one Blanc de Blancs Champagne to lay down on a regular basis, this would be it. It’s hard to believe the wine is 10 years’ old, given its freshness and perky acidity. Floral, understated, citrus and brioche aromas sashay into a pure, focused, beautifully defined palate showing flavours of citrus, fresh bread and lighty grilled nuts. The finish on the wine goes on for a minute. Great now, but tuck some away if you can keep your hands off it.
Moscato is one of my favourite summer aperitifs, capable of greatness as well as perfume and zing in the hands of a top producer like Gianmario Cerutti. This one comes from a sunny (“suri” in Italian) vineyard located at 350 metres, combining freshness with fruit concentration. This has 125 grams of residual sugar, but you don’t notice it thanks to the citrus fruit acidity. Grapey, frothy, filligree bubbles with a palate-cleansing finish.