2012 base. 36% Pinot Noir, 36% Chardonnay, 27% Pinot Meunier.
This is terrific value, serious vintage-quality champagne with this base year. So much delicious richness, but it sneaks up on you, packed into an elegant, fresh frame. Beautiful freshness, the red fruit ripe and soft, the creaminess and bakery richness really emerging with a bit of time on cork. Superb. 17.5
63% Pinot Noir, 37% Chardonnay. Disgorged April 2020.
Essi Avellan MW calls this her ‘poor woman’s Cristal Rosé’!. It is a beautiful wine, summer pudding made with brown bread. so bright with redcurrant and raspberry but a touch of savour creeping into the Pinot profile now. Some orange peel (again something that seems to come with a little time) and anise, floating along with focus and purity on the palate. Fine, fine champagne. 18
63% Pinot Noir, 36 % Chardonnay. 9% red wine addition. Dosage 7 g/l, disgorged Jan 2021.
Wow. This is such a steely, long-distance stare of a wine by Charles standards! Quite inscrutable at this stage post-disgorgement. You can coax out some ground nut richness, crushed blackberry and ripe red pear skin, tightened up with a beautifully controlled grapefruit Chardonnay focus. Borderline austere at the moment, I wouldn’t even touch this for five years. It resembles its 2008 blanc sibling in this regard – but is perhaps even more tight-lipped! 18
Jeröme Prévost. Pinot Meunier from light sand/clay in Gueux. Barrel vinification, 2016 vintage.
This is a bit of a unicorn wine now. Very impressive too, and more elegant than I was expecting. Perhaps these couple of years post-disgorgement have settled it down a little? There’s a classic orangey tinge (both in flavour and colour) here to strawberry tart and gentle tobacco smoke, with lovely floaty florals and some spiced frangipane and nougat richness coming on. A singular wine, quite alluring and a bit of a shape-shifter in the glass. 17
60% PN, 40% CH, 2 years on lees. Sweet crabapple, fruit a little muted at first but opening up very slowly with some bitter herbs and grapefruit. The fruit sweetness – nectarine, raspberry – arrives after a while, tagged with a little autolytic and cut with fine phenolic details. Seems a touch charmless and anodyne compared to the others in this range at the moment. Difficult base vintage? 15.5
80% Pinot Nero, 20% Chardonnay. All stainless steel, 50 months on lees disgorged autumn 2019. A tricky vintage for most of Italy, Trentino included. Lots of rain and disease problems, especially for the red grapes.
Nevertheless this wine hits all the right notes with lovely raspberries and peaches, dunked in lovely aromatics of smoky pepper, dried rose petals and orange. A little spicy tomato savour, with gentle sweet creaminess. Lovely clarity and reductive precision, as ever with Ferrari, although it is just a notch under some other Perlé releases. 17
100% Pinot Noir from the 2016 vintage, with 32 g/l dosage.
As soon as Charlie from @coolhurstvineyards told me they were doing this wine I thought ‘yes’! Their dry wines have offered up such fresh, silky and refined expressions of English Pinot that all the extra dosage does is add a natural, balanced fruit sweetness.
Some classic fresh red fruits as you’d expect, but also ripe red apples, clementine and white peach, a twist of pepper and gingerbread, delicate white rose and meringue. There’s some crabapple jelly, but not a hint of anything wild or herbaceous. No rough edges, just pure delicacy from great fruit and sensitive winemaking ( Ulrich Hoffmann at @hoffmannandrathbone .)
An addictive little redcurrant pip twist pops up on the finish, joining the polished acidity in maintaining proper tension and length, too. This is the first Demi-Sec to properly grab me from the UK. Hats off! 17
75% Pinot Noir, 25% Chardonnay. Disgorged December 2018.
The first vintage of the 1086 Rosé has subtly moved on since release, with deep cherry and red berry fruit mingling with darker flavours of cocoa, cinnamon and old-wood spice. There is a spot of grenadine grip playing on the palate, although it still feels bright and fresh. This is undoubtedly Nyetimber’s ultimate expression of Pinot Noir, gastronomic and expressive, although the blanc from 2010 is another notch up. A little less energy and vibrancy on this showing than when tasted in autumn 2019. Lovely, though, and ready to drink. 17.5
2015 base. 62% Chardonnay, 38% Pinot Noir. 11% reserves from 2014, disgorged July 2019.
Red wine addition here is “in the teens”, percentage-wise, leading to quite a deeply-fruited style that represents a bit of a gear change from the calling-card style of pale, delicate Pinot Noir-led Rosés that have become England’s speciality. The high Chardonnay percentage is quite unusual in that context, although it is the Pinot fruit that hits you first with a good whack of poached strawberries and cherries. Behind it there’s sweet red apple and pear, framed by a gentle shortcake richness. With the slightly deeper style comes a touch of savour and spice, tomato and pepper, but the palate is clean and clear, drawn out very elegantly by Chardonnay line and perfectly-judged dosage. 16.5
Intens Rosat is, to be truthful, a bit bonkers. But I like it. 86% Monastrell and 14% Garnacha. Pure cherry juice over bitter herbs and lemon lead into boiled sweets and poached red fruits. It is almost slightly medicinal. Intense indeed and quite good fun. 15.5