Hattingley Valley Classic Reserve NV, 2015 Base

The Classic Reserve has a lovely sense of generosity to its baked lemon and red apple fruit, touched by a bit of sourdough toast. Really quite elegant in a direct kind of way, treading a nice line between friendliness and seriousness.

16

Date Tasted : 07/02/2020

Hambledon Première Cuvée Rosé NV, 2015 Base

This was my second taste of wonderfully-bonkers Première Cuvée Rosé, a zero dosage wine from 100% Pinot Meunier in the 2015 vintage. Deep, dark and curious, this is developing post-disgorgement like a fairly openly-stanced light red with its dried leaves and plums. A proper conversation piece to drink sooner rather than later.

15.5

Date Tasted : 07/02/2020

/ 2015 Base, England, Hambledon, NV, Rosé

Arras Brut Elite 1501 NV, 2015 Base

Brut Elite 1501 is the current iteration of the mid-tier wine, and starts to show some real Arras character. Struck match and lime oil open up, whilst fenugreek spice and some nice wild buttery richness are thrown against a cleansing freshness on the palate. The marine, sea-spray sort of saltiness is here too. There is some real intensity of tropical fruit lurking, but this shows a quieter style than the vintage wine. Some may prefer it.

17.5

Date Tasted : 23/01/2020

/ 2015 Base, Arras, Classic Blend, NV, Tasmania

Harrow and Hope Brut NV, 2015 Base

2015 base with 30% reserve wines. Current release. This is a beautiful assembly of 40% Chardonnay, 40% Pinot Noir and 20% Pinot Meunier where nothing dominates. Complete, shifting flavours of subtle white berries and ripe grapefruit, pale salted butter and ripe stone fruit all sitting at a gorgeous balancing point between clarity and richness. It is more subtle, reaching to some of those ethereal oyster shell/mineral areas of flavour, as well longer and finer than the 2014 with superbly-judged, integrated dosage. This will age very positively. Certainly one of England’s finest NV Blends.

18

Date Tasted : 18/11/2019

Hambledon Classic Cuvée NV, 2015 Base

The red grapes make their mark a bit more in the Classic Cuvée NV* (2015 base. 53% Chardonnay, 31% Pinot Noir and 16% Pinot Meunier), with a delicious savoury-toned nose of hedgerow berries, brown bread and ripe yellow fruits. Some floral sweetness, too. It’d be hard to say this wasn’t as engaging as the Première Cuvée on the nose; it’s friendlier but delicious, with real poise on the palate (if not the intensity or length of the Première). They certainly complement each other.

16

Date Tasted : 30/07/2019

/ 2015 Base, Classic Blend, England, Hambledon, NV

Philipponnat Royale Réserve Non-Dosé NV, 2015 Base

The Royale Réserve Non Dosé NV was 2015-based and showed the effects of a warmer vintage, making exact comparisons difficult. Philipponnat explained that he “expected it to age faster and have a more cooked flavour, but in fact the opposite has happened”. Despite the same disgorgement date as the dosed wine this carried a beautiful freshness of peaches in cream with fresh yellow grapefruit and a kind of bristling chalkiness. It closed out with lovely clear white butter and a gentle snap, like a song with an ‘ending’ rather than a fade-out. A good ending, though. The vintage might have been talking as much as anything, but I did find it more detailed than the dosed wine too.

17

Date Tasted : 17/12/2019

Mailly Blanc de Pinot Noir NV, 2015 Base

100% Pinot Noir, 2015 base with 25% reserve wines and 25% vinification in oak. Pours rose gold, with a cocktail of yellow and golden fruits popping up – peach and yellow plums, lemon yoghurt, grapefruit and starfruit. Flecks of camphor and gunpowder emerge after a bit of time in the glass. and a touch of red cherry perfume doffs its cap to the other side of the mountain.

This wears its oak lightly, which I really like. It’s quite straightforward on the palate, airy through the middle without too much savour and toast for now. The dosage is not obtrusive but lends a sappy yellow-plum sweetness in a way I find a little present at the moment. I think this will lose some of its puppyish-ness with another 2 years in bottle. Lovely style

16

Date Tasted : 18/05/2019

Paul Déthune Extra Brut Grand Cru NV, 2015 Base

Quite direct and powerful with ripe apricot, red apple and redcurrant fruit, sweetened with honeysuckle and creamy fresh fig. Tangy lemon curd lurking in there too. The palate is focussed and direct once more – this is a young wine. Nevertheless the Pinot fruit and subtle oak influence offer up more than just fruit here, with savoury, almost earthy dried leaves and allspice. There is something a tiny bit metallic/chemical here, which I can’t decide if I like or not. A little yoghurt and a more of that tangy lemon curd hang around very enjoyably on the finish. The low dosage does suit the wine, even if it is probably a more complete package in standard Brut form with a bit more age behind it

16

Date Tasted : 25/08/2018