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Sunday, 28 February 2021

Yalumba Cabernet Masterclass


A masterclass in Cabernet Sauvignon from Yalumba winemaker Louisa Rose

South Australia's Yalumba winery describes itself as the Heart and Soul of the Barossa, Australia's oldest family owned winery, making amazing wines since 1849.

Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the world's greatest and most widely planted grapes. And yet, it is rarely made into a varietal wine, more often being blended: with Merlot (and others) in Bordeaux, and with Shiraz in Australia.

Yalumba winemaker Louisa Rose explained the factors that make their part of Coonawarra suitable for making varietal Cabernet Sauvignon.

- when grown elsewhere, Cabernet Sauvignon usually shows a "doughnut" tannic structure, with a missing mid-palate

- Coonawarra has fertile terra rossa soils (for fruit) over limestone (for elegance); unlike other vines, Cabernet Sauvignon does not benefit from being stressed

- Coonawarra also has the cooling effects of the Southern Ocean, despite being around 50 miles inland

- to get fully ripe tannins, Cabernet Sauvignon needs a long, cool (by Australian standard growing season); too hot and the vines will shut down, resulting in green tannins

Highlights of Louisa's talk

Based halfway between Melbourne and Adelaide and about 50 miles inland, Coonawarra is cooled by air from the Southern Ocean. Yalumba is family-owned by the sixth generation of the Hill-Smith family.

Cabernet is Australia's third most-planted grape after Shiraz and Chardonnay; winemaker Louisa Rose considers it to have great elegance, poise and longevity. Where most of the world blends Cabernet, Coonawarra (where Yalumba is based) produces Cab that unusually can be made into a varietal wine.

Cabernet Sauvignon often needs blending to fill out its mid-palate; the tannins take time to ripen and cooler years see better ripeness of tannins than warmer ones. 

Louisa describes Cabernet as defined by its tannic structure and seamless through the palate, with Coonawarra Cabernet having a herbaceous eucalyptus note. Louisa's aim is to make wines that are both ageworthy but also approachable in their youth.

The winery's history with Cabernet goes back a long way, possibly to as early as its founding in 1849, but certainly there are records of purchases of Cabernet vines in the 1860s and 1870s. The winery started purchasing of Coonawarra vines the 1920s and continued until the 1980s.

Originally, Cab was blended with Shiraz and a varietal Cab was not produced until the release of The Menzies, launched in 1986 as a 100% Coonawarra Cab from bought-in fruit; within a few years, the family had bought the vineyard and set about gradually improving the quality.

Coonawarra is famous for its terra rossa soil over limestone; the fertile terra rossa clay gives nutrients and the limestone gives good drainage. It is influenced by cooling air from the southern ocean.

Wrattonbully has a more continental climate with warmer days but cooler nights and produces riper, more rounded fruit. 

All the wines were well-made and enjoyable with something of  French accent; the entry-level Y Series is fresh and vibrant; the Menzies complex and ageworthy.

Yalumba Y Series Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 (Roberts & Speights, Vinvm, Richardsons of Whitehaven, Wine Direct)

Fruit mostly from Wrattenbully, blended from different regions; all unoaked, all wild yeasts, vegan-friendly to reduce particle, and therefore flavour, extraction. The wine is fermented in stainless steel, but with some oxygenation to give more roundedness. Intended  for young drinking, but will last. 

Yalumba The Cigar Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 (£25.99, Majestic, AusWinesOnline, Hennings, WineDirect) 

The name is a reference to the cigar-shaped-strip of Coonawarra terra rossa land; grapes grown on the Menzies vineyard, mostly Cab vines planted in the 1970s but improved since then. More approachable, less complex than Menzies; traditional style, aged in French oak, with not as much new oak as the top cuvees, released earlier. Traditionally made, cool-fermented, occasionally some Hungarian oak for spice and backbone. 2017 was cool and dry. Has a splash of Malbec added.

Yalumba The Menzies Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 and 2015 (£38 - £42, Majestic, WineDirect, AusWineOnline)

Two very different vintages, made from older vines. Bottling under cork allows for different evolution vs screwcap; cork was chosen more for a branding statement than for aging purposes.

2014 had a terrible spring, giving low yields; it was a long season, picked later than usual; the wine is now showing cedar and leatheriness; lovely tannins; small quantities. Complexity and savouriness.

2015 was a milder year, with purity of fruit and long tannins; picking was only slightly earlier than 2014.

Peter Ranscome's review and tasting notes: Why Yalumba's cabernet will make you sit up and take notice - Scottish Field

Wednesday, 24 February 2021

Two Wines for International Women's Day

Two wines made by female winemakers

Château des Jaume, Cru Maury Sec
Domaine Clavel, Syrius

Both these wines are interesting on several levels; for a start, they are both very good. They are also, in their own ways, somewhat unusual:

- Maury in the Roussillon is home to fortified vins doux naturels, strong, somewhat portlike, sweet red wines. This wine, however, is an unusual dry Maury sec 

- St Gervais in the southern Rhône is a tiny appellation with a winemaking history dating dating back to Roman times

The other connection between these wines is that they are both made by women winemakers. I asked them about their winemaking vision and whether they felt gender had any role in that.

Marie Toussaint, Château des Jaume (part of Les Grands Chais de France)

"I have the chance to work on several appellations which each have their own "personality". I am also lucky enough to work in the most beautiful wine region in the world; I do not know of a vineyard that offers such a diversity of terroirs concentrated on a same region. It's a job where you learn a lot and which leaves room for neither routine nor boredom.

"It is really a team effort where everyone has their place; I work closely with the estate manager and the vineyard manager. We share our knowledge and experience to bring out the best in each area; the idea is to obtain the best quality grapes to intervene as little as possible in the cellar.

"Regarding the place of women in this profession, I would say that there are no doubt more and more of us (as in many other professions). The gender question is not something I consider any longer. The managers of Seguala and Tholomiès are also women and they manage teams made up mainly of men. I don't think they have any questions either. I just wish there were more of us so people would stop asking about it."

Château des Jaume Cru Maury Sec 2016, (Connolly’s £14.95)  a blend of 70% Grenache and 30% Carignan grown on black schist and slate.

Ripe morello cherry and plum fruit with cassis, minty eucalyptus and tobacco leaf. Beefy and porty, yet balanced, fresh, supple and full with inky pencil shavings. Very harmonious and no rough edges.

Benefits from aeration.


Match with darker-game-and-fruit combinations, such as duck in a red wine sauce, or blue cheeses.

Claire Clavel, Domaine Clavel 
"I am a descendant of a family that has worked the vineyard since 1640, so I strive every day to continue the story of several generations. A passionate winegrower, I am proud to take over the family estate.

"I love my job, I often say that I don't have just one job but several, covering everything from from the vine to the bottle.

"I follow the work of the vine, I transform the grapes into wines, and then I travel to make it known. Each year is different, forever starting anew.

"I think as women we have a different sensibility and that is reflected in the wines.

"A member of Femmes Vignes Rhône, I believe strongly in the influence of the moon on the vines and on different stages of wine productions, as well as in sustainable agriculture."

Domaine Clavel Syrius, CDR Villages St Gervais 2017 (Ake + Humphris, £10.99)

The estate covers 5 municipalities and over a hundred parcels, with the different terroirs expressing different wine characteristics. The vineyard for this wine is located mostly on the commune of St Gervais, with well-exposed southerly slopes, composed of sand, clay and limestone soils on along a cool and windy plateau, benefiting from to the cooling Mistral wind.

A blend of 70% Grenache and 30% Syrah.

Truffley-mushroomy with bright, vibrant blueberries, dark berry and cherry fruit; fresh with clove and peppery spice, cocoa and herbal cedar; very fine, rounded tannins. Precise, deft, concentrated and elegant.

Very Good and Good Value.

Match with lamb or darker game such as venison.

It has 91 points from Wine Enthusiast; Matt Walls, author of The Wines of The Rhône,  says I know Clavel well. This is arguably their best bottling. St-Gervais (just north of Lirac) is one of the most promising appellations in the Southern Rhône.

Also recommended by Brian Elliott in his Sunday Best Wines For Spring.

Saturday, 20 February 2021

Xavier Frissant Touraine 2020

A flawless Loire Sauvignon from Xavier Frissant

There's an old in-joke about people saying how they don't like Chardonnay but they love Chablis. Today's equivalent would be not liking Sauvignon Blanc, but loving Loire whites. Yes this is a zippy SB; it's also a Loire. And it's lovely: minty aromatics and grapefruit citrus zest. Flawless.

There are two white wine grapes that it's OK for wine geeks not to like; one is the highly aromatic, oily Gewürztraminer. Sauvignon blanc is fast becoming the other.

Why so? In two words: New Zealand.

That expressive, aromatic, full-on kiwi style of Sauvignon originally pioneered by Cloudy Bay and now a signature style of Marlborough has been taken all around the world and copied by seemingly everyone with a few vines and some cool-climate white-grape terroir.

Zingy Sauvignon was where the wine world went after over-oaked Chardonnay. And just as Chardonnay's problem was that it became just too popular and turned into a pale imitation of itself in order to keep up with demand, the same risks happening to mainstream Sauvignon.

But step away from the pub whites and supermarket wine aisles and there are good, interesting Sauvignons worth seeking out.

For there are, of course, Sauvignons and Sauvignons; for every bandwagon-jumping, in-yer-face kiwi-copycat, there's a more considered, nuanced and complex Loire, white Bordeaux or even New World Sauvignon being made in a modern classical style.

What to look for? A good modern, cool-climate Sauvignon will almost certainly have those signature expressive aromatics but also a textured complexity and minerality.

This Loire Touraine Sauvignon comes from one of the better-value sub-region of the Loire; where Sancerre & Pouilly-Fumé have the cachet and command a premium, Touraine can produce well-made, inexpensive wines.

Xavier Frissant Touraine 2020

Xavier Frissant operates a 27 hectare vineyard, located south of the Loire, on the best slopes of the Municipality of Mosnes, just outside the beautiful town of Amboise.

The vineyard is based in five different locations with two distinct terroirs: 

- clay-siliceous soils, rich in flint; these are found on the plots of Les Frênes, Les Pierres and La Touche.

- loamy-sandy soils in Hauts-Noyers and Clos du Verger.

The wines labelled as AOC Touraine are 100% Sauvignon blanc and express the minerality of the terroir. 

The plot for this wine is located on the southernmost edge of the vineyard in "les Pentes"; it is a stony cliffside with clay silica sand.

The wine is slowly vinified at low temperature which preserves to preserve aromatics; complexity comes from maturation on fine lees in stainless steel.

Xavier Frissant Touraine 2020 (£12, independents) minty, fresh and mineral with exotic fruits; zippy grapefruit and lime marmelade, green apples, stone fruit, and freshly cut grass with a leesy-creaminess and pronounced saline minerality. Adept, well-made, complex and flawless.


Fresh enough for an aperitif, match with goat's cheese or sea bass with asparagus risotto. Also, cold meats, moules marinière with cream, garlic and parsley, oysters, grilled fish.

Thursday, 18 February 2021

Bottleswap: Part Deux - Piquentum Malvazija 2019

A second online bottleswap, organised by an aspiring MW 

If you want to know what a bottleswap is all about, then check this out.

Assuming you are already familiar with the post-a-bottle-and-meet-up-online-to-guess arrangement, let me first mention my swappee.

Actually, I cannot say much about Alex Taylor except there are apparently too many of them in the wine trade to count and this one had last-minute parenting duties that meant he had to miss the event.

Winemaker at Tring Winery, his TL is full of light, delicate English wines, so I resisted the temptation to go with a hefty Big Red, narrowly avoided a clash with another pair of swappers who went for the quirky 2002 De Bortoli Dry Botrytis Semillon, and instead chose a sparkling rosé from English winery Hush Heath.

The wine I received from my swapper was a Piquentum Malvazija 2019, so clearly something a little unusual.

Initial thoughts were that the person had either done a lot of research on the sort of quirky stuff I like to explore, or happened to share my love of off-the-beaten track whites from corners of Europe.

On pouring, it proved to be an orange wine with (I later found out) three days' skin contact. 

Piquentum Malvazija 2019 sandy onionskin in colour; aromas of wildflowers and misty sea minerals; apricot, hay, orange peel and creamy roasted nuts, baked apple and sweet spices; saline, complex and supple with a fresh, savouriness and a very long, full mid-palate.

Very Good.

A versatile wine, it acts as something of a canvas for other foods.

This, I decided, had been chosen by someone with more than just a routine enthusiasm for eclectic wines; it had to be someone in the trade with a flawless palate and an iconoclast's love of the bleeding edge.

In short, it screamed "sommelier":

- obscure place and grape
- edgy style
- versatile, complex and food-friendly
- strong mid-palate
- sounds intimidating if you describe it but delicious when you try it
- almost too cool for school, but actually not

Inevitably, my swapper turned out to be donaldé, aka Donald Edwards, a man with a love of being back-lit, who channels serious Eddie Izzard vibes with a booming voice and sense of audience and shares my love of the possibilities of leftover cooking fats, as well as wines from Eastern Europe.

Donald, who is sommelier at La Trompette and makes wine in Tokaj, explained that he lists around 700 wines, but will only add a wine if it is in some noticeable way different from a wine he already has.

He talked through the background of the wine, neatly summarised by Wayward Wines who stock it:

This is a tale of a son of a Frenchwoman and an Istrian father, growing native Croatian grapes and making them in an old Mussolini-era concrete water tank. Born in French Basque Country (Jurançon) in the foothills of the Pyrenees, Dimitri Brecevic studied oenology in France and then worked at Domaine de Chevalier in addition to working harvests in Australia, New Zealand, Bordeaux, and Burgundy.

In 2004 he decided to invest himself in his father’s homeland of Istria near the town of Buzet - formerly known as Piquentum in the time of the Ancient Romans. Istria is the largest peninsula in the Adriatic, Croatia’s westernmost region, and borders both Italy and Slovenia.

With only about 1750 square miles, over 280 miles are coastline with 35% covered with oak and pine forests. Indigenous grapes like Malvazija Istarska and Teran coupled with the mineral rich white and red karst soil all seem to echo the salinity of this pristine coastline and the pungency of its truffle-ridden interior.

Grapes are hand-picked and then slowly pressed into tank without temperature control. Since the winery is a converted concrete water tank, the temperature is a constant 10-11ºC all year long. Whist this is perfect for ageing, it is often too cold to get a native fermentation started.

Using fans to draw in the warmer outside air to around 14ºC, all of Dimitri’s wines complete a wild ferment without the use of added yeast, bacteria, enzymes, or any additives. After a long and slow fermentation without stalling fermentation or cold soaks, the wines are bottled unfiltered with just enough sulphur.

This particular wine has a relatively short maceration of 3 days, and some time in various sized barrels adds to its golden hue

The wine has aromas of wildflowers and misty sea minerals and is rich and rounded on the palate, with great texture. Medicinal, Mediterranean sage lingers somewhere in the background. 

The twelve circles on the bottle label map the annual rainfall in the region over the year the wine was made, starting in October 2018 top left and finishing the month of harvest, September 2019 in the bottom right.

Saturday, 13 February 2021

Japanese Wine - A Masterclass With Swirl Group

A Masterclass in Japanese wine with Sarah Abbott MW of Swirl Group

The Overview 

Produced in tiny quantities, expensive to buy and yet fascinating, Japanese wine is akin to the best of Switzerland or Burgundy.

Japanese wines, like much in Japan, are not cheap, with some justification as the climate is harsh and production is generally on a very small scale. £15+ is entry level and nothing at this tasting was under £20.

The country is small and mountainous, its population prosperous, well-educated and sophisticated yet insular; Japan somewhat resembles Austria both geographically and as a consumer, buying quality over quantity; it is the world's 6th biggest importer by value, but the 10th by volume.

The Principles

Japan loves to combine tradition and modernity; its winemaking is hugely influenced by France, especially Burgundy (think elegance and delicacy, as well as price), yet it is also a significant importer of uber-cool Georgian qvevri wines.

Japanese wines are expensive when compared to New World countries, but better value when compared to the top Burgundies that they emulate.

A key feature of Japan’s approach is an absolute dedication to craft, combining a drive for technical mastery with a love of the possibilities of fermentation in both food and drinks. This interest is not limited to wine; on opening up to the outside world, Japan also sent emissaries to Scotland to learn the process of whisky-making.

However, with Japan there is always a contradiction; the country also has a reverence for nature. Mastery, with reverence.

The History

Although Japan has a rich and ancient culture of food and drink, Japanese wine culture is a relatively new and goes back little more than a hundred years. Japanese wine culture developed in the late 1800s during the Meiji dynasty after the opening up of Japan when the country rediscovered an interest in the rest of the world and sent out emissaries to bring back examples of local cultures that could be adopted there.

It now makes wine in 36 of the country’s 47 prefectures; it has a strong affinity for French oenology, but always in a very Japanese sort of way.

The Geography

Geographically, Japan is an extended archipelago of jagged mountains, experiencing winter snow and summer typhoons, wedged between China and Russia on one side with the Pacific Ocean on the other.

Japan’s main wine area is the prefecture of Yamanashi, just over an hour from Tokyo by bullet train; it is a wet climate with lots of rain by European standards but also lots of sunshine. Home to Mount Fuji it is on the tourist trail and highly visited.

Second in importance comes the cool, dry and more-continental Nagano and lastly the northerly island Hokkaido which is influenced by cold polar air but manages to avoid typhoons.

The Approach

The indigenous Koshu grape is made mostly in a traditional, classic style, but it starting to see some experimentation. By contrast, Hokkaido in the north is the centre of innovation; it is Japan's Oregon or Mornington Peninsula, a cool-climate location that attracts poets and visionaries.

The Grapes

Koshu (indigenous) is the main white grape; Muscat Bailey A (a hybrid) the most common red grape.

Koshu has pink berries with thick skins and is 30% non-vinifera; it is believed to have entered Japan over 1,00 years ago from from the Caucasus and naturally crossed with an Asian variety from the Labrusca family. The thick skins protect the grapes during the heavy rains of ripening season. The vines are often trained high up on pergolas to improve air circulation and reduce humidity.

The distinguishing features of Koshu are fresh but rounded acidity with similar aromas to Sauvignon Blanc; it is most often made in an ultra-delicate, subtle, dry style with a sleek texture. However, a newer generation has learnt from natural wine approaches and is bringing more experimentation to the variety, such as using the skins to make orange wines.

The Tasting

The wines were all accompanied by some high-end tuna and salmon sashimi, with seaweed salad, sushi ginger, wasabi and 2yo soy sauce from Fine Foods Direct, suppliers to the Japanese embassy in London.

All the wines here were elegant, pure and nuanced with a structured core; fruit quality and technical standards were high and they all benefitted from aeration, suggesting they will repay some cellaring.


Lumiere Sparkling Koshu 2017 (Amathus Drinks, £35)

From one of the oldest wineries in Japan, founded in 1885 and run by the 5th generation. Japan was feudal until WWII and this was a land-owning family (the cellar is a listed monument). They buy in grapes from land gifted to farmers after end of feudalism.

Natural yeasts, Traditional Method, lees-aged for over a year. IWC Silver medal and Decanter Silver medal. Orchard fruits, soft, fruity and aromatic bouquet with overtones of citrus, peach and jasmine; clean, delicate and fresh yet not austere, a good match for Japanese cuisine.

Dry Whites - Koshu

Koshu Clareza 2019 Aruga Branca (Japan Food Express, £33)

A classic Koshu style, the winery was founded in 1937 and is now run by 3rd and 4th generations; they were originally silk merchants.

Fresh, aromatic and minty with white stone fruits; crisp, delicate and steely.

Grace Winery

A family business, run by father and daughter; sheltered west-facing site at 700m on volcanic soils of Mt Kayagatake

Grace Kayagatake Koshu 2019 (Hallgarten & Novum Wines, £22)

Classic Koshu; neutral and lemony with textural interest, some skin contact, very delicate and nuanced, very mineral and persistent.

Grace Koshu Private Reserve 2019 (Hallgarten & Novum Wines, £25)

Clay soils give more fruit, here white peach; fermented in SS for freshness and 3m on lees for savouriness, softer and plusher


An island to north, it is much dryer, with no monsoon and stylistically more influenced by Germany; historically, the wines were more port-style sweetened wines. It used to be a massive market for imported grape-must fermented and bottled in Japan; the distinction between home-grown grapes and processe imported grapes was introduced only in 2004 and has since led to local wines being taken much more seriously.

Hokkaido has become much more dynamic since the 1970s; it grows not Koshu but German varieties; the weather is sub-arctic but there is a dry summer and autumn. It is a place for poets and visionaries, a centre for natural wine and Pinot Noir.

Hokkaido Wine Company

A cooperative founded in the 1970s.

Tazaki Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2018 (Hokkaido Wine Company, £24) 

SB is new to Hokkaido. Smokey-toasty, musky, delicately aromatic with exotic spice and marzipan-almond, precise yet not austere, pure, clean fruit.

Tsurunuma Gewurtztraminer 2019 (Hokkaido Wine Company, £23)

Fresh and balanced, minty-herbal and highly aromatic with honeysuckle and sweet spices from extended pre-fermentation skin contact and a complex, savoury leesiness.


Next-door to Yamanishi, where Yamanashi is pastoral and idyllic, Nagano is epic and on a grander scale; it is one of the driest parts of Japan, ringed by high mountains. Historically, it was all about hybrids and sweetened bulk wines. 

Solaris Shinano Riesling Karakuchi 2019, Manns Wines (JFC International,  £24) 

From a major producer (it is owned by Kikkoman), the Shinano Riesling grape is a cross of Riesling and Chardonnnay; the wine is fermented and aged in SS; fresh, aromatic, leesy and rich; precise floral, almost Viognier-esque with peach-apricotty fruit.

Solaris Shinshu Chardonnay Tarujikomi 2018, Manns Wines, (JFC International £30)

Cool-year Burgundian Chardonnay, low-yield vines fermented and aged in oak; fresh, very creamy with nutty almond, white stone fruits, citrus and herbal mintiness; savoury and complex with some brioche and spice. Focused and precise yet not austere.

Chateau Mercian Hokushin Left Bank Chardonnay Rivalis 2018 (Boutinot, £35)

Warmer-Burgundian; toasty oak (1/3rd new), riper fruit, more substantial; leesy, almondy; still delicate and floral with blossom. Well-balanced acidity, sleek, understated. Muscular and powerful yet understated, spicy savouriness does not overpower the fruit.

Lumiere Prestige Orange 2019 Chateau Lumiere (Amathus, £27) 

Orange wine made from Koshu; fresh and structured, mineral and textured, bone dry, delicate and elegant, acidity without being astringent; orange peel, white tea tannins and bergamot, freshness, muscular grip, very fresh. Very food friendly.

Chateau Mercian Mariko Syrah 2017 (Boutinot, £35) peppery-minty with fragrant cherry fruit; pure aromatics with a muscular core; delicate yet complex and nuanced.

Thursday, 4 February 2021

Calvet Crémant de Bordeaux Rosé

A pink fizz from Bordeaux at Ocado

Bordeaux is one of the most varied and versatile wine regions in France; its wines are fresh, yet substantial enough to match with food.

Pink fizz may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you consider Bordeaux but the region can do traditional-method crémant pretty much as well as any other area in France.

At just 1% of production, Crémant makes up a small part of Bordeaux's output, but it is growing rapidly, in part due to the popularity of Prosecco. Like Prosecco, Crémant de Bordeaux is slightly riper with more fruit and less yeasty-biscuity autolytic character; it has a shorter secondary fermentation period making it inexpensive to produce and an easy-drinking fizz.

Crémant is also less expensive than Champagne and, whilst quite a different drink, can often be better value. Without aspiring to be at the level of Champagne, in terms of price or quality at the top end, a good Bordeaux fizz will beat many a similarly-priced Champagne. 

Pink fizz is less than half of Crémant of production, about 0.3% of Bordeaux's total output, but also growing rapidly. It must be made from black grapes only, often Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, unlike rosé Champagne, which is based on Pinot Noir and / or Meunier, 

In summary, then:

- the traditional production method of crémant gives the elegance of a Champagne

- the warmer climate provides a Prosecco-like fruit ripeness

- the grape varieties bring a Bordelais flavour profile

So, where to start?

Calvet is is a reliable regional producer, making good, typical and inexpensive wines; it is the best-selling French brand in the UK, so they are clearly doing something right.

Calvet Crémant de Bordeaux Brut Rosé (£12.99, Ocado)

Calvet Crémant de Bordeaux Rosé | Official website Bordeaux.com

The wine is a blend of traditional Bordeaux grapes, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, and made like Champagne using the Méthode Traditionnelle, in line with the strict Crémant production regulations in place to ensure quality remains high, the grapes are hand harvested and the wine then spends 11 months in bottle before disgorging and dosage. 

This is a 2018 Brut, so it is fully dry with a little bottle age and some complexity. The grapes undergo a short cold soak maceration to give a very pale pink colour and a cool fermentation to preserve the fruit aromas. The slightly longer aging gives more sophistication.

There are fresh, elegant redcurrant fruits, a leesy-creamy texture, fresh red summer berries, florality and some pastry notes. The bubbles are fine and the finish is long and complex.

Fresh enough for an aperitif, it also has the savoury versatility to match with a range of lighter foods, such as chicken or ham salads and mixed antipasti.