Ca’ Del Bosco Cuvée Annamaria Clementi 2010, Franciacorta, Italy

Ca’ Del Bosco Cuvée Annamaria Clementi 2010

55% Chardonnay, 25% Pinot Bianco, 20% Pinot Nero. 18 vineyards in Erbusco, Adro, Corte Franca, Iseo and Passirano. Notable for the high percentage of Pinot Bianco, otherwise declining in importance in Franciacorta. Whole bunch pressed to 39% extraction – coeur de cuvée style. 100% fermented in small oak barrels (minimum 3 yrs old), on which the base wines remain for 6 months. Full malolactic. Disgorged Autumn 2019 with no dosage or sulphite addition. 

2010 opens up with explosive charred grapefruit, ripe yellow apples and blossom honey. It manages to tone down anything too peachy or tropical, trading off delicious verbena/bergamot perfume and a gorgeous spicing from white pepper, cinnamon and basil. Shifting in its seat, it gives you a different view every 5 minutes. Proper complexity from blending here. 

It’s also pretty remarkable for a 100% oak-aged wine, letting the wood play brilliantly off reductive smoke and frangipane sweetness without smudging the fruit in butter or toffee. Golden crystal fruits just march steadily, evenly, towards more charred grapefruit and spice as it closes out. Lingering almond skin sends you back in. Wonderfully addictive. 

It does offer that little squeeze though the mid-palate you get with some zero dosage wines (and a touch of powdery, rocky grip), but here it is refreshing and light, not hollow or abrupt. There’s intensity, but it’s delivered with a cool, steady hand. Will it maintain this poise with age? Who knows! I wouldn’t bet against it. 18

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Geoffroy Brut Expression Brut Premier Cru

50% Pinot Meunier, 40% Pinot Noir, 10% Chardonnay. Cumières and Hautvilliers. All steel apart from some large oak for reserves. 2012/2013 Base, disgorged October 2017. Dosage 7g/l. 

A great blend of base vintages and no malo means this entry-level wine is shining very brightly even at 2.5yrs post-disgorgement. You receive a friendly, unpretentious Meunier greeting with apple pie and toasted oats (without the cream), then the fragrance of an orchard in blossom and some riper orange fruit. It’s pepped up with fresh lemon&limeade focus on the palate and a little almond essence. Warm flavours presented with icy coolness. Direct, charming, excellent value. 16.5

/ Champagne, Classic Blend, Geoffroy

Roederer Estate ‘Quartet’, Anderson Valley, California.

49% Chardonnay, 51% Pinot Noir. Stainless steel with oak-aged reserve wines. No malo.

Notes as written blind from The Big Blind Bargain Bubble Tasting.

This is the most serious wine yet. Nothing off-kilter here. Lovely coffee-lined notes of clear, ripe grapefruit and some meatier Pinot notes with gentle autolysis. The palate is in another class to most of the wines here – silky, welded together, long with zest and smoke. Proper fizz! This can only really be the Roederer Estate. 17.5

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‘A’ By Arras. House of Arras, Tasmania

59% Pinot Noir, 33% Chardonnay, 8% Pinot Meunier. Stainless steel and oak, 3 years on lees with 11g/l dosage.

Notes as written blind from The Big Blind Bargain Bubble Tasting.

This is curious. I can’t place it. At first it smells like detergent. Floral, aromatic, perfumed, possibly a little blowsy. But the palate is good – fresh, balanced. Dosage quite high. Intriguing, and I cannot work out what it is, even by elimination! 16

/ Arras, Classic Blend, Tasmania

Berlucchi Brut ’61, Franciacorta, Italy. 

90% Chardonnay, 10% Pinot Noir. 24 months on lees. All Stainless steel. 

Notes as written blind from The Big Blind Bargain Bubble Tasting.

So appetising. This is the other Franciacorta, Berlucchi? Reminds me of the Satèn ’61 I had 2 weeks ago. Ripe, golden Chardonnay fruits and some lovely buttery, peppery and spicy notes coming in. A little tropical. Pristine, sunny, very good indeed. Who wouldn’t like this wine? 17

Graham Beck Brut NV. Cap Classique, South Africa

51% Chardonnay, 49% Pinot Noir. 15-18 months on lees, 9.2g residual sugar.

Notes as written blind from The Big Blind Bargain Bubble Tasting.

Light, peardrop and grapefruit with white florals and something like elderflower. The English wine? Lots of youthful energy on the palate. Quite simple. 15.5

Hunters MiruMiru Brut NV, Malborough, New Zealand

Roughly 50% Chardonnay/Pinot Noir with a smidgen of Pinot Meunier. 12-18 months on lees with 5g/l dosage.

Notes as written blind from The Big Blind Bargain Bubble Tasting.

Quite a suave style here, very convincing. Creamy, reductive, quite toasty. Pristine fruit, some real lightness and delicacy on the palate with fine acidity and touch of creamy butterscotch. Impressive 16.5

Tesco Finest English Sparkling Wine

55% Chardonnay, 41% Pinot Noir, 4% Pinot Meunier

Notes as written blind from The Big Blind Bargain Bubble Tasting.

Made by Hush Heath. This is dominated by a cool-fermented peardrop/boiled sweet note. It’s actually very fresh and solidly-balanced, but I’m finding this hard to call. Extremely youthful. Rather simple, would appeal as a Prosecco step-up. 15

/ Classic Blend, England, Hush Heath

Cloudy Bay Pelorus NV, New Zealand

Chardonnay dominant. Mixture of stainless steel, large and small oak. 8 months on primary lees then a minimum of 2 years in bottle. 8g/l dosage.

Extroverted, delicious style with golden peach and grapefruit, swirling around with intense creamy, dairy lees character, coffee and toffee richness and some reductive complexity. Layered and very impressive. 17

Fox & Fox Chaiman’s Vat 2014

Pinot Noir dominant, with some Chardonnay and PInot Gris. Disgorged end of 2019.

Very Fox & Fox on the nose with a mixture of bright fruit and almond croissant richness. Lively kiwi  and green mango mix with classically-English  citrus and fresh apple juice. It is lifted nicely with pretty white florals and takes some substance from cool, refreshing almond milk autolysis. The palate is a bolt of strident energy, showing quite forceful acid and a rather quiet mousse. I would give this 6 months in bottle and see what happens. 16

/ Classic Blend, England, Fox & Fox