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Tuesday, 27 September 2011

French Connection Premier Cru NV - Co-op

Every now and then I am somewhat wrong-footed by a wine - the region or variety on the label gives the expectation of a certain style or certain characteristics, whilst the reality proves to be something rather different.

In a game of wine word association, say "Champagne" and I immediately think of crisp, green apple acidity and yeasty brioche.

By contrast, at first acquaintance, this French Connection Premier Cru NV from the Co-operative seems to have gone all Prosecco - approachable with ripe pear fruit and little in the way of yeastiness.

Very pale in the glass, it froths enthusiastically on pouring and has light, delicate pear fruit on the nose and sweet up-front pear fruit acidity on the palate.

Rounded and approachable, it is light, elegant and balanced in a crowd-pleasing, easy-drinking sort of way.

We match it with some yeasty, soft brie and find it works well - the brie adding a welcome degree of yeastiness.

I'm not sure how much typical Champagne character it has, but as a wine it is more about enjoyment than adherence to a particular style - and it is certainly a pleasant quaffer.

After a day stoppered in the fridge, the primary fruit has faded noticeably leaving a more interesting savouriness and a food-friendly acidity.

After two days, it has improved further with a more pronounced minerality, a linear crispness and a longer, savoury finish.

According to the Co-op itself, the wine is "a specially-selected and beautifully-balanced blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, sourced from some of the most promising sites in the Champagne region, a wine of reassuring elegance, finesse and character".

It is, apparently, available in market town stores and superstores and is reduced from £29.99 to £14.99 between 14 September and 4 October 2011 inclusive.

Provided for review.


The Co-operative - http://www.co-operative.coop/

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