Bollinger B13, Champagne

100% Pinot Noir. Disgorged April 2021.

The latest in Bollinger’s limited editions, this is 52% Verzenay fruit with the remainder coming from Äy, Louvois, Avenay and Mareuil-sur Äy. Based on the 2013 vintage, whose coolness brings an appealing freshness to the style when combined with the natural restraint of Northern Montagne fruit. A briny, classically-Bollinger opening shows some sourdough and light oxidative character, under which dried apple and spiced greengage do offer up a slightly paler, creamier take on the Bollinger style than the more ostentatious ‘PN’ wines. No doubt on the palate, though, which side the bread is buttered – plenty of intensity. 17

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/ Blanc de Noirs, Bollinger, Champagne

Adank Blanc de Noirs, Switzerland

Swiss Blanc de Noirs! Pinot Noir from 6ha in Fläsch.

The young winemaker @patrickadank has spent time with Raphael Bérèche in Champagne. The style here definitely shoots in that direction, with careful viticulture, some old oak and low dosages.

This feels youthful + recently disgorged with apple blossom over pale pear and almond tart (+almond essence), red cherry and a pleasing pepperiness. ‘Bakewell tart’ is a good UK reference! Quite a rush of acid builds, not hidden away at all. Some MLF blocking here? Some grip and drama on the finish too. Not quite harmonious, a bit ester-y. This would have taken more time on lees very happily. 15.5

/ Adank, Blanc de Noirs, Switzerland

Harrow & Hope Blanc de Noirs 2015

Checking in again with this fine Blanc de Noirs from Henry and Kaye Laithwaite in Marlowe, Bucks.
Bristly pink grapefruit and orange orange, red apple and some nice golden fruits rounded out with set honey and herbs. The intensity of flavour is quite high for English Sparkling here, although the wine hasn’t quite settled in bottle as I was thinking it might; still quite a grippy, punchy style! Actually feels slightly extracted, in some ways.  I do like it though. I’ll leave the other bottles for a little longer. 17
/ Blanc de Noirs, England, Harrow and Hope

Fox and Fox Tradition 2014 Magnum

100% Pinot Noir. No MLF. 4.5yrs on lees, 1 yr on cork.

Creamy, alluring apple blossom and fresh raspberry/blackberry aromas, cinnamon-spiced apple and an engaging autolytic richness. Some savoury touches here, which I like –  creamed mushroom and nut butter. Clarity, purity and length on the palate, although the mousse needs to settle a bit with further time. There are little nuances here –  honey, dried lime, anise. So complex and engaging. Dosage hits a little front-end perhaps but bodes very well for the future. Wonderful. 17.5

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/ Blanc de Noirs, England, Fox & Fox

Ballabio Farfalla Metodo Classico Extra Brut

100% Pinot Noir. Casteggio in Lombardia, VSQ. Bready, pear and some meaty red fruits, a touch phenolic and hollow 15

/ Ballabio, Blanc de Noirs, Italy

Ferrari Perlé Nero 2010

100% Pinot Nero. 6 years on lees. 

This is brilliant. Beautifully fragrant, with super-ripe strawberry and golden stone fruits mixing with zesty candied grapefruit and papaya. It’s so clear and precise for a blanc de noirs, with no weightiness or toughness. Instead a spot of Pinot savour comes in the form of captivating, subtle complexities of smoky peppercorns, asian herbs and bitters. Lovely gentle autolytic richness. Very Ferrari – lots going on but nothing getting in the way of that beautiful fruit. 17.5

/ 2010, Blanc de Noirs, Ferrari, TrentoDOC

Jenkyn Place Blanc de Noir 2010

Blanc de Noirs 2010 was by some distance the best bottle I have ever tried of this cuvée. Ripe, developed flavours of frangipane and stone fruit pastries, apple compôte and apricot. Not massively complex but harmonious. Shows what these wines can do if they improve their consistency with bottle and cork problems.


Date Tasted : 07/02/2020

/ 2010, Blanc de Noirs, England, Jenkyn Place

Raimes Blanc de Noirs 2016

The Blanc de Noirs 2016 is a new release, extremely youthful for now and wound tightly with slightly wilder apple and hedgerow fruit. Possibly some cool-fermented flavours bringing out the fruitiness here. Narrow for now, this will build really nicely. There’s extra definition in the other two cuvées for now.


Date Tasted : 07/02/2020

/ 2016, Blanc de Noirs, England, Raimes

Harrow and Hope Blanc de Noirs 2015

70% Pinot Noir, 30% Pinot Meunier. Tasted back at the winery in Nov 2019 and awarded the joint highest score for ESW2020. This is impressive stuff. It seems a little more angular today (and possibly more open and oxidative than I remembered) but also brisling and tight. The nose is rather beautiful, broad with caramelised apricots, russet apple and sweet almond notes. There’s a gentle seam of butter and spice from some oak influence. The fruit almost goes black with wild blackberry and raspberry. Youthful on the palate, good flavour concentration and some real tightness. Excellent cuvée, perhaps a little more reservation in scoring than before. It needs time.


Date Tasted : 22/01/2020

/ 2015, Blanc de Noirs, England, Harrow and Hope

Exton Park Blanc de Noirs NV

The Blanc de Noirs NV seems to have become a welcome fixture in the portfolio. I think the base vintage must have moved on from the last time I tasted as its lovely pear and blossom fragrance was just a touch tangy and direct. With a few more months in bottle this will open up.


Date Tasted : 07/02/2020

/ Blanc de Noirs, England, Exton Park, NV