Hambledon Classic Cuvée NV, 2017 Base

This tasting saw the latest 2017-based Classic Cuvée down at 4.5 g/l, where a finely-sanded texture delivers clear and elegant citrus fruit. The style is frank, yes, but the freshness is appreciable. It really needs some more time, though. At 4.5g it is a touch severe with this youthfulness. I would expect the score to climb with later disgorgements of this vintage base.

15.5

Date Tasted : 07/02/2020

/ 2017 Base, Classic Blend, England, Hambledon, NV

Hambledon Première Cuvée NV, 2013 Base

Première Cuvée shows an appreciable depth of toasted bread surrounding the bristling, fresh-lemon Chardonnay. At just 2 g/l the powerful citrus core is almost rampant on the palate. Quite an exciting style, although once again I found myself charmed a little more by the freshness of the entry-level wine.

16

Date Tasted : 07/02/2020

/ 2013 Base, Classic Blend, England, Hambledon, NV

Hambledon Première Cuvée Rosé NV, 2015 Base

This was my second taste of wonderfully-bonkers Première Cuvée Rosé, a zero dosage wine from 100% Pinot Meunier in the 2015 vintage. Deep, dark and curious, this is developing post-disgorgement like a fairly openly-stanced light red with its dried leaves and plums. A proper conversation piece to drink sooner rather than later.

15.5

Date Tasted : 07/02/2020

/ 2015 Base, England, Hambledon, NV, Rosé

Hambledon Classic Cuvée Rosé NV

The contrast of the Première Cuvée Rosé with the LED-bright Classic Cuvée Rosé NV is quite something, its 90% Chardonnay motoring off with massive acidic brightness in a mineral, racy wine that is almost a polaroid negative of the other, Pinot-led Rosés in the room. A real pick-me-up.

16

Date Tasted : 07/02/2020

/ England, Hambledon, NV, Rosé

Hattingley Valley Classic Reserve NV, 2015 Base

The Classic Reserve has a lovely sense of generosity to its baked lemon and red apple fruit, touched by a bit of sourdough toast. Really quite elegant in a direct kind of way, treading a nice line between friendliness and seriousness.

16

Date Tasted : 07/02/2020

Marc Hebrart Cuvée de Réserve NV

This has been in my cellar for 18 months. A gregarious style, with caramelised pear pastries and fleshy orange papaya fruit and digestive biscuit. The dosage has kept it fresh despite the openness. A bit soft-focus but a safe bet.

16

Date Tasted : 07/02/2020

/ Champagne, Classic Blend, Marc Hebrart, NV

Croser Croser NV

The Croser NV is a sweet-natured, sunny Chardonnay-dominant fizz made in a very attractive ripe lemon, peach and butter style. Going a little tropical, perhaps, but not blowsy.

15.5

Date Tasted : 23/01/2020

/ Australia, Classic Blend, Croser, NV

Croser Croser Rosé NV

Better is the Croser Rosé NV, showing a bit more definition with its very pretty raspberries and redcurrants. Some ground almond richness and peppery spice too. This is well worth a look at £19.99, although it is a bit short of Jansz’s refinement at the same price.

16.5

Date Tasted : 23/01/2020

/ Australia, Croser, NV, Rosé

Arras ‘A’ By Arras NV

‘A’ By Arras is the freshest, most direct wine in the portfolio, showing off vivid lime and grapefruit fruit alongside gentle dairy notes. At RRP of £19.99 this is a slightly edgier style than the Jansz entry level, but equally convincing.

16.5

Date Tasted : 23/01/2020

/ Arras, Classic Blend, NV, Tasmania

Arras Brut Elite 1501 NV, 2015 Base

Brut Elite 1501 is the current iteration of the mid-tier wine, and starts to show some real Arras character. Struck match and lime oil open up, whilst fenugreek spice and some nice wild buttery richness are thrown against a cleansing freshness on the palate. The marine, sea-spray sort of saltiness is here too. There is some real intensity of tropical fruit lurking, but this shows a quieter style than the vintage wine. Some may prefer it.

17.5

Date Tasted : 23/01/2020

/ 2015 Base, Arras, Classic Blend, NV, Tasmania