Raventòs i Blanc ‘De La Finca’ 2016, Spain

60% Xarel-lo , 30% Macabeo, 10% Parellada from some of the oldest vines at the estate. This is in a stunning place at the moment, beautifully fresh with grapefruit and lemon verbena, flecked with herbs and anise, lightly enriched with floral honey. Such clarity and refinement, with a succulent core of orange cream and citrus despite the addictive crispness. Superb 17

Find this wine on wine-searcher

/ Other, Raventós i Blanc, Spain

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

Vilarnau Reserva Brut ‘Organic’, Spain

Cava. 50% Macabeo, 35% Parellada, 15% Xarel-lo. 15 months on lees.

Tasted blind it was clear some ‘flab’ was on show, and that there wasn’t much Xarel-lo focus here. A bit fatty and soapy, with dosage bumping up against phenolics and nothing adding up to much refreshment unfortunately. 14.5

From Spain’s Sparkling Standoff

find this wine on wine-searcher

/ Other, Spain, vilarnau

Torelló Brut Special Edition 2015, Spain

Corpinnat. 49% Macabeo, 39% Xarel-lo, 16% Parellada. A reasonable amount of age behind this for the price. Disgorged October 2020.

Lemon pith, green apple and green herbs, straight up the middle in style without great complexity but a pleasing line and length. It suffers slightly from the wishy-washiness of some Macabeo-dominant wines, but stays focused enough. This is a great example of a wine that benefits from a really recent disgorgement. 15

From Spain’s Sparkling Standoff

Find this wine on wine-searcher

/ Other, Spain, torello

Vardon Kennett Esplendor 2013, Spain

55% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay, 5% Xarel-lo. Full malo, a small (unspecified) amount of oak.

The Torres family’s sparkling wine. Quite a gaudy clam-shell style bottle. After much fanfare this seems to have gone somewhat quiet, with no new releases in almost three years! Not sure why as it is well done, although I wouldn’t place it in Penedès blind. Refined with some apple macaroon, blossom with ripe orange fruits and some classical praline richness in there from time on lees (and on cork). A suave, slightly reductive frame. Maybe a bit more Xarel-lo would make this more distinctive? 16.5

From Spain’s Sparkling Standoff

Find this wine on wine-searcher

/ Other, Spain, vardon kennet

Castellroig Reserva Brut Nature 2017, Spain

Corpinnat. Macabeo, Parellada, Xarel-lo, Chardonnay. Blend unknown. Stainless steel.

Clearly good materials and excellent winemaking! Jasmine, bergamot, a nice aromatic brightness with some orange citrus and rosemary. Some reductive control and finesse of texture. Well tucked-in phenolics. They have really worked hard to preserve freshness and elegance, and it shows. 16.5

From Spain’s Sparkling Standoff

Find this wine on wine-searcher

/ castellroig, Other, Spain

Recaredo Terrers Brut Nature 2017, Spain

Corpinnat. 57% Xarel-lo, 37% Parellada, 6% Macabeo.

I think this is the best bottle of this wine I’ve had yet. Some have been a little dried-out and dominated by oxidative notes, but this is in a good spot. Freshness of orange citrus and slightly wild green pear, with rosemary and mild fino sherry notes. It’s a dangerous game with these, but Recaredo play and win with clarity and brightness on the inside, and a sense of fruit sweetness to carry all that character. Impressed on day two as well. 16.5

From Spain’s Sparkling Standoff

Find this wine on wine-searcher

/ Other, Recaredo, Spain

Segura Viudas Torre Galimany Brut Nature Gran Reserva 2015, Spain

Cava D.O. A showcase for Xarel-lo aged in oak, with a small addition of Macabeo and Parellada.

You might think that oak, zero dosage and Xarel-lo would lead to something a bit brawny, but this was a lovely surprise. Refined, and carefully handled. An inviting orange blossom/peachy top note draws you in to lemon verbena, candied grapefruit and rosemary honey. It is intense with herbal notes, but not hard or too pithy. Just a little spicy creaminess on the palate takes you to oak. Great on day two – the sure sign of a good wine. 17

From Spain’s Sparkling Standoff

Find this wine on wine-searcher

/ Other, segura viudas, Spain

Raventós i Blanc De Nit 2017, Spain

5% Monastrell gives this unique wine a lovely peachy hue. Xarel-lo, Parellada and Macabeo in an unspecified blend. Delicate, charming and, unlike the vast majority of Spanish sparkling rosés, boasting clarity of texture and a buzzy, relentless energy. Juicy clementine and grapefruit, some fuzzy white peach and delicate florals riding on chalk and a subtle injection of grippy sage/tarragon/bitter herb complexity. All kept in check with real succulence of fruit. Beautifully soft mousse.17

/ Other, Raventós i Blanc, Spain

Raventós i Blanc De la Finca 2017, Spain

Made from the oldest vines on the estate. 60% Xarel-lo, 30% Macabeo, 10% Parellada.

Under a smart layer of hazelnut and set honey is some beautifully wild ‘n wooly russet apple, reaching a little creaminess, with addictive wisps of briny, chalky flavours dancing around. The classiness of pale lemon shortbread, so bright on the palate like a shock of tight, white silk. Herbs and grippy phenolics are beautifully woven-in, and the mousse is so suave for Penedès. It keeps unfurling over hours, and days even. 17

From Spain’s Sparkling Standoff

Find this wine on wine-searcher

/ Other, Raventós i Blanc, Spain