Ridgeview Blanc de Blancs 2009

The potential of the Chardonnay here is shown with the Limited Release Blanc de Blancs 2009. I actually think the fruit is even better in the 2014, but this is giving away all those lovely developed aromas of apple tatin, quince and crystallised yellow fruits in a clean, precise framework without any negative signs of ageing at all; the purity of the style still shines through.

16.5

Date Tasted : 11/11/2019

/ 2009, Blanc de Blancs, England, Ridgeview

Nyetimber 1086 2009

46% Chardonnay, 43% Pinot Noir, 11% Pinot Meunier. I feel as though the selections made for this wine were not about which wines from this excellent harvest shouted loudest; it seems more like an assemblage of the most refined, textured wines in the Nyetimber palate. The wine exudes this brilliant aura of coolness and freshness, with a beautiful sweet touch of creamy oyster shell framing Asian pear, greengage and sweet anise notes. A little gingerbread and floral honey shows some promise of development, whilst there is a real acceleration of ripe energy towards the finish which elevates this cuvée. This is just coming into its own.

18

Date Tasted : 04/09/2019

/ 2009, Classic Blend, England, Nyetimber

Ferrari Riserva Lunelli 2009

This is the outlier in Ferrari’s portfolio. 100% Chardonnay with full oak vinification. This bottle was disgorged in 2018. Intense, saturated style with lime marmalade and smoked meat at first, opening up with real complexity of pomelo, peach and candied citrus. Tarragon and sweet wood. A vein of yellow butter and spice runs through the palate. Oak is very, very prominent, yet not tough or dried-out. Time will help.

16.5

Date Tasted : 13/12/2019

/ 2009, Blanc de Blancs, Ferrari, TrentoDOC

Louis Roederer Brut Nature 2009

Many Brut Natures survive for a number of years, but not that many taste this good with three years post-disgorgement. The clarity of youth is still intact, with a pearly sheen of peach and grapefruit perfectly woven together so that nothing sticks out. The flinty freshness is there, but a little cashew just hints at some development too. There is genuine length and a finish bucks the trend for Brut Nature with acceleration and persistence.

17.5

Date Tasted : 17/12/2019

/ 2009, Champagne, Classic Blend, Louis Roederer

J.L. Vergnon Expression Extra Brut 2009

Blanc de Blancs from Le Mesnil and Oger, all steel (unlike some of the other wines), no MLF. 4 years on cork. The tension in the house style just injects some energy into the 2009 vintage here, which combined with a bit of buttery lemon tart ageing just hits a sweet spot for drinking. Some quite ripe bergamot citrus and even ultra-ripe, sweet gooseberry (thanks @grand_cru_girl for that one!) alongside sweet white pear and meringue. Nut skin and more ripe, sun-drenched citrus on the palate, which retains some edgy, buzzing energy despite the softening light of vintage and time. I really like this producer and must get hold of some more.

17

Date Tasted : 13/12/2019

/ 2009, Blanc de Blancs, Champagne, J.L. Vergnon

Bruno Paillard Assemblage 2009

50% Pinot Noir, 50% Chardonnay, with 20% barrel fermentation. 7 years on lees, with disgorgement September 2017. 5 g/l dosage. This offers up such fine, shifting layers on the nose – firstly the open fruit of spiced poached pear and fresh fuzzy quince, then bright yellow grapefruit and lemon. Richness sneaks in with brioche, nougat and a little crème anglaise, and there’s a honeyed papaya sweetness which reminds us we’re dealing with a hot, sunny year in 2009.

The core of the wine is this line between this ripe yellow citrus and the clarity of Northern-Montagne pear/papaya Pinot, but some lovely strands of flavour hang on for the ride; the spicy tones of chestnut honey on the nose and on the finish, the touch of delicious Dulce de Leche creaminess. 2009 seems to suit producers that avoid malolactic, but it is part of the house style here with the acidity relaxing back onto the sofa mid-palate rather than buzzing relentlessly. It offers quite a quiet mousse, too, even seeming Cremant-like in this bottle rather than aggressively-frothy.

A very true taste of 2009, generous but pulled-tight enough to keep its form. Drink now or over the next 5 years (it will be interesting, but not necessarily better, for longer).

16.5

Date Tasted : 19/08/2019

/ 2009, Bruno Paillard, Champagne, Classic Blend

Rotari Flavio Riserva 2009

Trentodoc, Italy. Glad we had this last (purely by chance). 100% Chardonnay, 8 years on lees. It didn’t need any longer on lees, and it certainly made the most of its time – it’s flashy but it’s very good. Bought for a silly price in Italy (around EU25). You could cause some mischief by putting this in a lineup of expensive late-disgorged wines I think.

Bosh! Everyone’s eyebrows raised now. Buttermilk and creme fraiche, some smoky tones but also creamy peach, kiwi and masses of candied citrus. There is freshness on the palate though, which is welcome as the wine has taken on a decadent texture in bottle. It threatens blowsiness with some magnolia and blossomy notes but totally gets away with it. Perhaps a bit O.T.T. for some, but I love it. Length, complexity and a bit of swagger

17

Date Tasted : 02/06/2019

/ 2009, Blanc de Blancs, Rotari, TrentoDOC

Jenkyn Place Rosé 2009

Both v oxidative and light struck. Must look at their clear glass usage. Also some dodgy disgorgements here recently.

Date Tasted : 23/02/2019

/ 2009, England, Jenkyn Place, Rosé

Ferrari Perlé Bianco 2009

Pure candied lemon upon popping the cork. After a while a succession of shades of fruit step forward; some sweet orange flashes like passionfruit (yes…!) and tangerine, fragrant fresh apricot and (with air) apple turnover and quince. There is a ripe herbal quality of rosemary honey and anise/tarragon which casts a lovely light on the fruit too, but most interestingly there is this lurking savoury element which keeps popping up and confusing me. I wrote ‘smoked chilli’ which sounds a bit insane and gives the impression that this is a much odder wine than it is, but…let’s say cayenne pepper. I like it.

It seems quite loose on the palate at first, hung around this nice sappy sweet apricot and lemony line of fruit. After time some amaretti biscuit and quince richness pops up. It wears its lees ageing quite lightly with some elegant lemon curd creaminess, but I love the utterly transparent and perfectly-judged dosage (whatever it is….low! 4g/l ish?). A touch of hazelnut skin grip on the finish. I think it is lovely stuff – it misses some of the tension and backbone of truly great Blanc de Blancs for me (warm vintage perhaps?) but makes for delicious drinking

17

Date Tasted : 25/05/2019

/ 2009, Blanc de Blancs, Ferrari, TrentoDOC

Wiston Estate Cuvée 2009

60% Chardonnay, 30% Pinot Noir, 10% Meunier from Wiston’s original Findon site, 1/3 vinified in young and old oak. No malo, 8g/l dosage. This wine is a complex, shimmering beauty on the nose. I’m aware I have a lot of notes for it, but it just kept throwing things at me over the course of a few hours. Starting off with dried, sharp apple and pear tatin (just catching around the edges), it opened up with sweetness of apricot, white chocolate meringue and ratafia, starfruit and orange bitters. Then there are all these lovely nuances; savoury earth and spice from bay leaf and sea salt, perfume from tonka bean and sweet jasmine, a bit of fluffy, funky autumnal quince. Just so enchanting.

The palate jumps in with this developed orchard fruit tinged with charred citrus and post-disgorgement richness, clinging for its life on a speeding train of powerful, engulfing acidity. It’s a bit Jekyll-and-Hyde with this openness and austerity co-existing; whilst the nose is layered and complex, the palate plays close to the edge (probably just getting away with it). On this showing I would be inclined to drink it within the next couple of years – I think it will develop wonderfully from an aromatic/flavour perspective for sure. There’s not really anything quite like this on the market at the moment, and the whole acidity/integration/age/cohesion dynamic is something we’re all still learning about with English wines. If you’re inquisitive about English Sparkling Wine it’s something you have to try

16.5

Date Tasted : 03/03/2019