Griesel Riesling Brut 2015

100% Riesling. Vinification in large oak.

Notes as written blind from The Big Blind Bargain Bubble Tasting.

A bit different! Bright florals, cooked lime and a sort of poached quality to the fruit. Oxidative. interesting style, maybe a touch developed? 15

/ Germany, Griesel, Other

Tesco Finest English Sparkling Wine

55% Chardonnay, 41% Pinot Noir, 4% Pinot Meunier

Notes as written blind from The Big Blind Bargain Bubble Tasting.

Made by Hush Heath. This is dominated by a cool-fermented peardrop/boiled sweet note. It’s actually very fresh and solidly-balanced, but I’m finding this hard to call. Extremely youthful. Rather simple, would appeal as a Prosecco step-up. 15

/ Classic Blend, England, Hush Heath

Enrico Gatti Franciacorta Brut

100% Chardonnay, 24 months on lees. All stainless steel.

Notes as written blind from The Big Blind Bargain Bubble Tasting. Clean, clear and slightly peppery fruits. Yellow apple and herbs, in a quite an elegant style. Doesn’t quite come together but a very good effort. 16.5

Cloudy Bay Pelorus NV, New Zealand

Chardonnay dominant. Mixture of stainless steel, large and small oak. 8 months on primary lees then a minimum of 2 years in bottle. 8g/l dosage.

Extroverted, delicious style with golden peach and grapefruit, swirling around with intense creamy, dairy lees character, coffee and toffee richness and some reductive complexity. Layered and very impressive. 17

Franck Bonville Pur Avize 2012

100% Chardonnay. 3 parcels  – Les Chapelles, Les Avats, Les Maladries. 5 years on lees under cork. Disgorged April 2018. Dosage 2 g/l. 2500 bottles made. 

Suave, silky blanc de blancs at that lovely point where tension starts to gently unwind. The caramelised pear and fragrant russet fruit is sweet and inviting. There’s a lovely sense of generosity, too, from honeyed, tropical fruit and peach sharpened up with praline and summery honeysuckle. It sets about the palate really quite calmly, with plenty of citric focus morphing into white pepper, chalk and zest without any sharp edges still in play. Farm shop apple juice lingers, and a hint of quince development is just starting. Lower pressure (?) sits with the subtle, airy creaminess just so perfectly – I haven’t tasted this producer in a while and need to catch up. 17.5

Laurent-Perrier Blanc de Blancs Brut Nature

100% Chardonnay from Chouilly, Cramant and Villers-Marmery. 40% reserves going back to 2009. It is difficult to know the base vintage but I believe this is still the original 2012 and 2013- based bottling. Disgorgement Q1 2019.

An unusual wine for a Grande Marque house to release. Quite a taut, reserved profile of apple juice, white peach, and lemon pith, lifted with chalk and some almond. It is not pinched or unbalanced for a brut nature, and indeed you get a good sense of the careful composure of the ingredients – in this case the slightly hollow, papery palate is not as vibrant as it should be, though. Worth trying again with a super-fresh release. 15.5

Fox & Fox Chaiman’s Vat 2014

Pinot Noir dominant, with some Chardonnay and PInot Gris. Disgorged end of 2019.

Very Fox & Fox on the nose with a mixture of bright fruit and almond croissant richness. Lively kiwi  and green mango mix with classically-English  citrus and fresh apple juice. It is lifted nicely with pretty white florals and takes some substance from cool, refreshing almond milk autolysis. The palate is a bolt of strident energy, showing quite forceful acid and a rather quiet mousse. I would give this 6 months in bottle and see what happens. 16

/ Classic Blend, England, Fox & Fox

Ridgeview Blanc de Blancs 2014

100% Chardonnay from the original vineyard at Ridgeview. I believe this was disgorged in May 2017.

Lovely bright flavours of ripe lemon, floral bergamot and juicy yellow apples warmed up with some peach and salted pastry. Ripe yellow grapefruit provides a nice edginess and peppy length. This does feel like a single vineyard wine, rather than something assembled of many complex parts, but it is fine and enlivening, developing very well in typically pristine Ridgeview style. 16.5

/ 2014, Blanc de Blancs, England, Ridgeview

Ferrari Perlé Nero 2010

100% Pinot Nero. 6 years on lees. 

This is brilliant. Beautifully fragrant, with super-ripe strawberry and golden stone fruits mixing with zesty candied grapefruit and papaya. It’s so clear and precise for a blanc de noirs, with no weightiness or toughness. Instead a spot of Pinot savour comes in the form of captivating, subtle complexities of smoky peppercorns, asian herbs and bitters. Lovely gentle autolytic richness. Very Ferrari – lots going on but nothing getting in the way of that beautiful fruit. 17.5

/ 2010, Blanc de Noirs, Ferrari, TrentoDOC

Berlucchi Franciacorta ’61 Satèn

100% Chardonnay, in the satèn style (bottled at a lower pressure). NV, disgorged in 2019. This such an assured wine, perfect for anyone trying to get to grips with what Franciacorta Chardonnay is all about.

The fruit is so clear and transparent, sunny but controlled with fragrant peaches, ripe pear and a nice juicy grapefruit bite keeping it keen. 2 years on lees just rounds it out – it doesn’t need more as the body and freshness is right where it should be. It’s not toasty or developed in style. Just pure fruit, perfect for a sunny aperitif. Great value. 16.5