A lovely no-sulfites MCC from Villiera

Methode Cap Classique, aka MCC, is the South African designation for quality sparkling wines. I was really taken by this example, from Villiera. It’s made without any added sulfur dioxide, and aged for a decent length of time in the bottle before disgorgement. I love the rich flavours and the way they are nicely countered [...]

Fifth Grand New Year Blind Champagne Tasting Video

So here it is, the fifth Grand New Year Blind Champagne Tasting. A little shorter than last year’s (only 48 minutes!), but with two more wines, and some quality chat, not just on the subject of Champagne and sparkling wine. Eight Champagnes, three English bubblies, a Franciacorta and a Tasmanian fizz all in the mix. [...]

An ambitious high-end English sparkling wine

I was very impressed by this new single-plot English sparkling wine from Nyetimber. It claims to be ‘the first single vineyard sparkling wine from England with all the grapes specifically selected from a single vineyard site’. The idea for this wine was prompted by the discovery of an extraordinary parcel of Pinot noir, and Chardonnay [...]

Another new English sparkling wine, Digby Fine English

Here’s another new English sparkling wine. It’s cleverly branded, and the winemaker is Dermot Sugrue, a specialist sparkling winemaker who worked for Nyetimber for three years. Dermot is now based at Wiston Estate and does contract winemaking for a number of operations. I like this wine a lot, although it’s still pretty primary. Perhaps taking an ’NV’ [...]

Ambriel Classic Cuvee, a new English sparkling wine

Now this is interesting. It’s the first release of a new English sparkling wine, called Ambriel. It comes from a 9.5 hectare vineyard in West Sussex, planted as recently as 2008, so this is the first crop from those vines. Considering this, it’s fantastic. It’s a blend of 70% Chardonnay, 27% Pinot Noir and 3% [...]

Hoffmann & Rathbone, a new English Sparkling wine

Impressed by this new English sparkling wine from Hoffmann & Rathbone. Mine was bottle 84 of just 1500! It’s predominantly Pinot Noir with a bit of barrel-fermented Chardonnay, and it’s beautifully packaged. It comes from West Sussex.

Hoffmann & Rathbone Rose Reserve 2010 Sussex, England
Bright pink in colour with a hint of orange. Lovely vivid cherry [...]

Graham Beck Blanc de Blancs 1997

This MCC (Methode Cap Classique, a term used for traditional method sparkling wines from South Africa) deserves a post of its own. It’s 15 years old (almost 16) and it’s drinking beautifully, with no sign of tiredness.

Graham Beck Brut Blanc de Blancs 1997 Robertson, South Africa
50% of this was fermented in barrels, and it spent [...]

Some thoughts about Cava, and Raventos leaving

Cava is, sadly, not cool.

The news that one of the leading producers of Cava, Raventos, is to leave the Cava appellation has shocked a lot of people. [Aside: ‘appellaton’ is a bad word for it, because Cava is not a geographical designation, even though the vast majority of its production is from the Penedes region [...]

Some festive fizz, and fun quotes

It’s always a good time for sparkling wine and Champagne. Christmas gives me that extra prompt to open bottles though, and to seek out the company of those who also like to bring out the bubbles. Here are some fizz highlights of the last few days.

First, a couple of Christmas day quotes. I was at [...]

Recaredo: world-class Cava?

Great discovery today, made at Les Caves de Pyrene’s sparkling tasting. Recaredo. World-class Cava, something that many wine nuts didn’t think was possible.

The secret to Recaredo’s wines? Biodynamic viticulture and long ageing on lees, on the cork. During this lees ageing they carry out Poignetage, a shaking of the bottle to spread out the lees. Riddling and [...]