Ridgeview Blanc de Blancs 2009 Magnum

All steel. Original chardonnay vines near the winery. Full MLF, 112 months on lees. Disgorged November 19.

Lovely gunpowder reductive character which threads right through the whole wine beautifully. Very fine candied grapefruit on toast presented with tremendous internal freshness. Subtleties of white pepper, white flowers (lily/bergamot?), very faint truffle honey even. What a gorgeous set of flavours! Some lemon tart richness starting to build, but it is embryonic. Refinement in texture and a truly energetic finish in evidence. Top tier, and will be very long-lived. 18

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/ Blanc de Blancs, England, Ridgeview

Ridgeview Oak Reserve NV

All Chardonnay from the original vineyards at Ridgeview.  Just 11 months on lees (!) .2015, 16 and 17 vintages. 3 g/l dosage. 

Fresh lemony oak, white butter, the wood is fairly bold but of high quality with nutmeg/yellow spice and a nice sweet dill/fennel note. The palate is harmonious, with some real finesse to the texture inside the slightly grippy, but fresh oak. The incisive fruit still shines, with the acidity just in check. Feels very youthful, but stylish and moreish. 16.5

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/ Blanc de Blancs, England, Ridgeview

Mosnel Satèn 2015, Franciacorta

Mosnel’s 2015 Satèn is a real charmer. 100% Chardonnay, disgorged October 2019. All estate fruit from Carmignone. 

Dried yellow apples and pear tart, lovely candied yellow grapefruit and this subtle perfumed note that reminds me of jasmine and Turkish delight.

You’re hit with a lovely peachy/juicy pear ripeness up front, but there is enough transparency and interest – flower, pepper, chalk, even a nicely pitched reductive streak –  to stop the sweet-natured fruit running away with the whole show. It would be ungainly, jarring even with a big, zippy, insistent mousse. Silk is where it’s at for this style. Approachable. 16

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/ Blanc de Blancs, Franciacorta, Mosnel

Radgonske Gorice Untouched by Light, Slovenia

Attended an unusual launch of what should probably be called a ‘concept wine’ last week, and good fun it was too. Slovenian producer @radgonske_gorice has made a 100% Chardonnay without any exposure to light from picking until opening! Why? To raise awareness of light strike, the damage caused to wine by exposure to light. Laudable stuff.

The wine itself? Untouched By Light is from the 2016 vintage, with 2000 bottles made. The vineyards are near the winery in Gornja Radgona near the Austrian border. A sunny, approachable style with golden apples, acacia honey and peach blossom. Slightly waxy with a little grapefruit pith bite, a little anise fragrance and gentle acidity. Solid, straightforward. The price is a rather ambitious 100EU. 

Really nice to see some trad-method fizz from lesser-known regions make it to these shores, though. 15.5

Pierre Gimonnet Special Club ‘Grand Terroirs de Chardonnay’ 2012

Pierre Gimonnet Special Club ‘Grand Terroirs de Chardonnay 2012

Drinking very well already, this is a perfect example of 2012’s personality, balance without aggression or tightness. Evident ripeness of orange fruit – papaya, dried mango – is tempered by green apple and lemon tart. Richness of hazelnut biscuits. Lovely lift of honeysuckle and oyster/chalk rasp, closing in on the palate where the dosage dares to drop off. Very harmonious, focused and compelling  Flavours as clear as a mountain spring. 17.5

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Delamotte Blanc de Blancs NV

All Grand Cru Chardonnay from the producer of Salon based in Le Mesnil-Sur-Oger. 100% steel, Not sure of the base vintage.

This is a classy, thorough Blanc de Blancs shows a lovely integration between classic Chardonnay elements without anything too obvious. Ripe lemons and yellow grapefruit, juicier elements of white peach and even some fleshier tropical touches of green mango and starfruit, cushioned with sweet autolysis and freshened with delicate blossom and powdery chalk. Lovely and airy through the palate, but still keen and mineral. Balanced and so refined, this is a serious effort. 17.5

A.R. Lenoble Chouilly Blanc de Blancs Mag ’14

2014 base with 40% reserves, partly aged in oak and partly in magnum under low pressure. Dosage 5 g/l.

This has had an extra stint in my cellar. Everything has mellowed here, including some of the oak influence. But it is still a bold, up-front champagne, landing with a big dollop of apple and cinnamon danish, toasted cashew and ratafia biscuit. Some blossom and bergamot lemon fragrance add delicacy, with a lick of vanilla buttercream that has settled out since I first tasted it.

Rich lemon oil and quite a gastronomic grip closes out a palate of front-end intensity and mid-to-late relaxation (borrowing an excellent @alavolee ism there!). The combination of the 2014 vintage, welcoming Chouilly fruit and the generous house style means this is a contrast from your tense, delicate kind of Blanc de Blancs, so if you like your Chardonnay with a bit of flair this is a cuvée to follow! 16

Pierre Peters Cuvée de Reserve NV

2015 Base, 100% steel with 40% reserve wines. This is quiet, discreet and wholly convincing with its delicate lees sweetness and fine ripe apples and white fruits. Not tense or high-energy compared to some iterations of this wine 16.5

Ferrari Perlé Bianco 2009

100% Chardonnay from this slightly cooler TrentoDOC vintage. All stainless steel. Disgorgement mid 2018.

This lovely vintage is developing a more golden set of flavours now, with a strongly reductive personality that threatens vegetal notes but stays with jackfruit and pineapple, lime and lily, candied grapefruit and ginger. It retains the sinewy tension of roasted lemons on the palate, opening out now to a fine, relaxed place with gentle, unobtrusive bakery richness. An intriguing touch of something like paprika – smoky pepperiness – that I’ve started to associate with all these wines, too. Complex and rewarding, if not quite as harmonious as some other recent Perlés. 17

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/ Blanc de Blancs, Ferrari, TrentoDOC

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