Henriot Blanc de Blancs NV NV

The majority of the Chardonnay here comes from the Côte Des Blancs, including Le Mesnil-Sur-Oger and Avize. At least 40% Reserve wines, with a minimum of 4 years on lees. This is classic stuff; the fruit is contained but expressive, with gently creamy yellow stone fruits, ripe candied lemon and yellow grapefruit. There’s lightly toasted brazil nut and just a touch of oyster shell adding some interest, and some sweet honeysuckle still hinting at the wine’s youth. Lightness and finesse on the palate, with a brilliant mousse and some savoury toasted nut adding just the right amount of intensity of flavour. This will develop really well over 5 years, maybe longer.

17

Date Tasted : 20/12/2018

/ Blanc de Blancs, Champagne, Henriot, NV

Nyetimber Rosé MV NV, 2014 Base

A restrained style at the moment, opens with sweet cherry giving way to gentle redcurrant shortbread. There’s a little white peach melba (good 2014 Chardonnay fruit in there) and red pear too, touched with macaroon and cream. Very subtle ginger and white pepper spice, with something like Thai basil too – I think some of these aromatics will come into focus soon. The Chardonnay keeps it so defined on the palate, which finds a very deft and transparent dosage balance. It’s good but it’s only just unfurling.

16.5

Date Tasted : 02/01/2019

/ 2014 Base, England, NV, Nyetimber, Rosé

Arras Brut Elite 1301 NV, 2013 Base

57% Pinot Noir, 43% Chardonnay. Based on the 2013 vintage, with a small percentage (less than 10%) aged in barrel. Oyster shell, sea salt and sourdough frames the whole nose – a small vegetal note lurks, but dissipates. The balance starts to appear 20 minutes after opening, with those reductive characters falling into line really nicely. The fruit is yellow with fresh, bright lemon and yellow grapefruit, before milky papaya sweetness and some fresh red berries pop up very attractively. Intriguing touches of kiwi, jasmine and dried ginger give some lovely colour to the whole picture.

On the palate cool, creamy yellow fruits precede a full, almost blowsy creaminess to the mid-palate before grapefruit pith grip and spice close out quite cleanly. Quite distinctive winemaking here! There’s a lot of flavour interest riding on fairly humble, light bones in terms of line and length, but who can complain; at the price this is remarkable.

16

Date Tasted : 01/02/2019

/ 2013 Base, Arras, Classic Blend, NV, Tasmania

Jacques Lassaigne Les Vignes de Montgueux NV

Deeply volatile and acetic – not pleasant. Lassaigne adds no dosage and no sulphites at disgorging which, with this wine being disgorged in December 2017, means quite a long and treacherous road to the consumer. I find it hard to believe it was this acetic when it went into bottle so it must have arrived post-disgorgement, although it did not show overt nuttiness or development in other ways.

14.5

Date Tasted : 13/02/2019

Piper-Heidsieck Brut NV

It is such a good wine this, amongst the best Grande Marque NVs out there. We tend to think of it as quite a rich style, but there is just a touch of reductive stoniness and some restraint too.

16.5

Date Tasted : 28/02/2019

/ Champagne, Classic Blend, NV, Piper-Heidsieck

Pierre Peters Cuvée de Réserve (magnum) NV, 2012 Base

This was a great find; based on the 2012 vintage and disgorged in 2016 it had just woken up. Lemon and green apple fruit going towards a little papaya richness and ripeness, the intensity surprised a few people (that’s 2012 for you). The fresh, sweet cream on the mid-palate and the overall precision here is only boosted by being in Magnum.

17

Date Tasted : 28/02/2019

A. R. Lenoble Intense NV

Pretty much a 3-way split between Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Meunier, 25% oak fermentation and 5 g/l dosage. Lovely ripe apple and spice on the nose, fresh and vivid. Some texture right through the palate here with good balance and a touch of vanilla. Lovely and approachable

16

Date Tasted : 08/05/2018

/ A. R. Lenoble, Champagne, Classic Blend, NV

Paul Déthune Extra Brut Grand Cru NV, 2015 Base

Quite direct and powerful with ripe apricot, red apple and redcurrant fruit, sweetened with honeysuckle and creamy fresh fig. Tangy lemon curd lurking in there too. The palate is focussed and direct once more – this is a young wine. Nevertheless the Pinot fruit and subtle oak influence offer up more than just fruit here, with savoury, almost earthy dried leaves and allspice. There is something a tiny bit metallic/chemical here, which I can’t decide if I like or not. A little yoghurt and a more of that tangy lemon curd hang around very enjoyably on the finish. The low dosage does suit the wine, even if it is probably a more complete package in standard Brut form with a bit more age behind it

16

Date Tasted : 25/08/2018

Larmandier-Bernier Longitude NV, 2013 Base

There’s a lovely, almost fino-like saline tang on the nose at first, with ripe apple, pear and toasty lemon/lime fruit following up. Sweet blossom and vanilla provide some lift and prettiness, both on the nose and surrounding the vivid citrus and stone fruit on the palate. It’s a cliché but there is a grippy (dare I say chalk-like) texture that builds through the palate and delivers serious length. Such a balanced and invigorating wine, full of energy.

17

Date Tasted : 04/11/2018