Fox & Fox Essence 2015, England

My first taste of this Chardonnay vintage from one of the top small producers in the country, moving on from the terrific 2014.

A fine follow up – a friendly greeting on the nose with blossom honey on rye bread, hazelnut praline…but underneath a smack of ripe lemon, lime meringues, serious tang. Kapow! Daring, but that opposition is addictive (and delicious)

Not one for the acid-shy. I imagine this one pushed the no-MLF ethos to the limit! The clarity of fruit and some careful taming on the palate means the effect is more like an intense, sweet ‘n sour burst of green mandarin syrup than an unalloyed acid hit, though. 

I would leave this for another 2 to 3 years to get the best out of the different moving parts. 16

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/ Blanc de Blancs, England, Fox & Fox

Fox & Fox Inspiration 2014, England

Pinot Gris from 2014 with a smidgen of Chardonnay, from this delightful producer nestled in the green folds of the High Weald.

Where to start – day 1 this was so floaty and exotic, with green tropical fruits and candied lemon, with this attractive light leafiness, like lime leaves. Day 2 and the post-disgorgement character is just delightful – candied citrus pastries, street-vendor sugared almonds. Still this nice meadow-flower Englishness above it all, a layer of greeny-whiteness.

It is much more Chardonnay-like than it is Pinot-like to me, if that makes sense. Kind of Chardonnay-on-a-night-out. Delicacy and citric zinginess, not too dry, lovely balance and clarity of flavour. Where else could you find Pinot Gris like this? 17

/ England, Fox & Fox, Other

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

Fox & Fox Chairman’s Vat (C.V.) 2014

A new limited edition of 1018 bottles, blended by Gerard Fox. 60% Pinot Noir and 20 each of Chardonnay and the F&F secret weapon, Pinot Gris.

This has some attitude! Lots of sweet apples, red and russet, roasted and fresh, pepped up with ripe lemon juice and jasmine. With time, delicate white peach sweetness wakes up alongside the almond croissant and toasted pecan deliciousness that comes with time in bottle.

Electric acidic brightness on the palate – a real live wire – held in check by crystal clear fruit sweetness and delicate creamy weight. A fine chalky, rocky grip pulls the palate tight. You’re left with tingling fresh lemon juice, the lick of sweet pastry and the lift of white florals, sparring with each other and daring you back in.

Thoroughly enlivening, a wild child sent to finishing school and deciding they quite like it. 16.5

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Read Six Atmospheres English Sparkling Wine 2020

/ Classic Blend, England, Fox & Fox

Fox & Fox Mosaic Brut 2014

50% Chardonnay, 50% Pinot Noir. 18 Months on lees, 8g/l dosage. A real charmer, all apple blossom and lemon tart on the nose. Youthful and taut with a little friendly fresh-almond sweetness mid-palate but also a little savour. Just a touch of bitterness/chalkiness.

15.5

Date Tasted : 09/09/2018

/ 2014, Classic Blend, England, Fox & Fox

Fox & Fox Inspiration Blanc de Gris 2013

Predominantly (I believe over 90%) Pinot Gris. Such aromatic interest here, with a tropical fruit salad (think kiwi, papaya, starfruit), zesty candied lemon and ginger, honeysuckle and just a little rose. It’s not at all blowsy though – rather a very focussed, precise kind of exoticism. It’s all about the impeccable, expressive fruit on the palate, with a lovely balance between the exuberance of the nose and a crunchy, very English zip (helped along by the small Chardonnay addition). Particularly fine, persistent mousse. Really love this, and it’s drinking perfectly now.

16.5

Date Tasted : 09/09/2018

/ 2013, England, Fox & Fox, Other

Fox & Fox Essence 2014

100% Chardonnay. This has developed very nicely indeed with some breadth just starting to show (nevertheless it needed a good thirty minutes to come out of its shell). Lovely caramelised pear tart, hazelnut wafers and stewed apple richness combine with a beautiful, ethereal bergamot lemon and quince sweetness. I just love the marzipan-like richness creeping around the edges here, but the soul of the wine is cool, creamy and fresh, the palate harmonious and gently textured.

17.5

Date Tasted : 16/11/2019

/ 2014, Blanc de Blancs, England, Fox & Fox

Fox & Fox Meunier 2014

This is developing in the bottle now, with a little of the wilder side of Meunier coming out; initially some meaty, savoury dried mushroom, kerosine and Schweppes lime, then, with air, juicy pomelo and lemon syrup, bramble and nut butter. If it sounds outlandish or rich, it isn’t – whilst it carries some of the outgoing attributes of some Champagne expressions of Meunier, it is absolutely fresh, even delicate on the palate, with shimmering, integrated acidity. Unique.

17

Date Tasted : 13/09/2019

/ 2014, Blanc de Noirs, England, Fox & Fox

Fox & Fox Inspiration Blanc de Gris 2014

100% Pinot Gris. A more recent disgorgement than the other 2014s. One of England’s most unique sparkling wines, with fragrant pink grapefruit and rose, peppery powdered ginger and a fantastic zingy green mandarin touched with tropical starfruit. Still primary and beautifully fresh with that clean candied citrus palate magnified with perfectly judged autolytic development, textured yet staying clear of anything that might obscure the subtle fragrance. One to drink fairly young.

16.5

Date Tasted : 13/11/2019

/ 2014, England, Fox & Fox, Other

Fox & Fox Tradition 2014

Still in a fresh place with beautiful fresh, sweet redcurrant, raspberry and fresh ground almond fruit. Flashes of clementine and juicy golden plums, blossom and digestive biscuit ride a cool, classy single cream texture that is shared with Essence 2014. Delicious, perfectly woven acidity and immaculate golden fruit, mellowing rather than imposing; it’s so rare to find a Blanc de Noirs of this refinement.

17.5

Date Tasted : 16/10/2019

/ 2014, Blanc de Noirs, England, Fox & Fox