Enrico Gatti Franciacorta Brut

100% Chardonnay, 24 months on lees. All stainless steel.

Notes as written blind from The Big Blind Bargain Bubble Tasting. Clean, clear and slightly peppery fruits. Yellow apple and herbs, in a quite an elegant style. Doesn’t quite come together but a very good effort. 16.5

Franck Bonville Pur Avize 2012

100% Chardonnay. 3 parcels  – Les Chapelles, Les Avats, Les Maladries. 5 years on lees under cork. Disgorged April 2018. Dosage 2 g/l. 2500 bottles made. 

Suave, silky blanc de blancs at that lovely point where tension starts to gently unwind. The caramelised pear and fragrant russet fruit is sweet and inviting. There’s a lovely sense of generosity, too, from honeyed, tropical fruit and peach sharpened up with praline and summery honeysuckle. It sets about the palate really quite calmly, with plenty of citric focus morphing into white pepper, chalk and zest without any sharp edges still in play. Farm shop apple juice lingers, and a hint of quince development is just starting. Lower pressure (?) sits with the subtle, airy creaminess just so perfectly – I haven’t tasted this producer in a while and need to catch up. 17.5

Laurent-Perrier Blanc de Blancs Brut Nature

100% Chardonnay from Chouilly, Cramant and Villers-Marmery. 40% reserves going back to 2009. It is difficult to know the base vintage but I believe this is still the original 2012 and 2013- based bottling. Disgorgement Q1 2019.

An unusual wine for a Grande Marque house to release. Quite a taut, reserved profile of apple juice, white peach, and lemon pith, lifted with chalk and some almond. It is not pinched or unbalanced for a brut nature, and indeed you get a good sense of the careful composure of the ingredients – in this case the slightly hollow, papery palate is not as vibrant as it should be, though. Worth trying again with a super-fresh release. 15.5

Ridgeview Blanc de Blancs 2014

100% Chardonnay from the original vineyard at Ridgeview. I believe this was disgorged in May 2017.

Lovely bright flavours of ripe lemon, floral bergamot and juicy yellow apples warmed up with some peach and salted pastry. Ripe yellow grapefruit provides a nice edginess and peppy length. This does feel like a single vineyard wine, rather than something assembled of many complex parts, but it is fine and enlivening, developing very well in typically pristine Ridgeview style. 16.5

/ 2014, Blanc de Blancs, England, Ridgeview

Berlucchi Franciacorta ’61 Satèn

100% Chardonnay, in the satèn style (bottled at a lower pressure). NV, disgorged in 2019. This such an assured wine, perfect for anyone trying to get to grips with what Franciacorta Chardonnay is all about.

The fruit is so clear and transparent, sunny but controlled with fragrant peaches, ripe pear and a nice juicy grapefruit bite keeping it keen. 2 years on lees just rounds it out – it doesn’t need more as the body and freshness is right where it should be. It’s not toasty or developed in style. Just pure fruit, perfect for a sunny aperitif. Great value. 16.5

Nyetimber Blanc de Blancs 2013

100% Chardonnay, disgorged June 2018.

This is the first vintage of Nyetimber to include grapes grown on chalk. This vintage is waking up now, having taken on some substance post-disgorgement. The delicacy of texture really stands out, a satined ripple of yellow apple and magnolia, white peach and lemon syrup. What seems new is a tiny touch of pale nougat richness that warms it up just the right amount. There’s a playful extra snap of acidity on the finish – a last word from the 2013 vintage. 17

Jenkyn Place Blanc de Blancs 2015

The Blanc de Blancs 2015 was more outgoing than I remembered, wearing a touch of oak influence very dashingly. Lime tart with a dollop of crème frâiche! There are even some tropical nuances here, hinting at some really good flavour development for Chardonnay in this vintage. The focused, nervous palate is set off against some fresh-cream roundness. This will be interesting in another year or so. Oak influence without any tiring or drying out. Possibly some malolactic flavours here.

16

Date Tasted : 07/02/2020

/ 2015, Blanc de Blancs, England, Jenkyn Place

Hattingley Valley Blanc de Blancs 2013

The Blanc de Blancs 2013 is quite an interesting wine now, with delicate white fruits – whitecurrants and a little white peach – playing off fresh lemon and herbs. There’s a kind of nougat/sourdough autolysis and a touch of butter, too, softening the edges of a powerful acid line. It’s stimulating stuff, playing patiently with quite a pointy kind of vintage.

16.5

Date Tasted : 07/02/2020

Cottonworth Blanc de Blancs 2014

The new Blanc de Blancs 2014 carries some elegance and ripeness too, with clear white fruits and juicy pear fruit. Just a squeeze of refreshing herb and white flowers. The dosage needs a little time to settle, so I would leave this at least six months. Whether it has the intensity or precision of the Classic Cuvée I’m not sure, although that relaxed mid-palate is quite common in 2014 wines.

16

Date Tasted : 07/02/2020

/ 2014, Blanc de Blancs, Cottonworth, England

Jenkyn Place Blanc de Blancs 2015

This is possibly the finest Jenkyn Place release to date. Yes, it is almost monumental on the acid side, but there is a finesse to the lemon tart and sourdough flavour which, coupled with clean, cool pear fruit and subtle floral touches makes for an intriguing, very English character. I’m not sure how many Blanc de Blancs there will be from 2015 – this one may buck the trend and improve in bottle with some interest.

16.5

Date Tasted : 13/09/2019

/ 2015, Blanc de Blancs, England, Jenkyn Place