Super-impressed by these two sparkling wines from the ‘new world’ – specifically South Africa and Australia. They’re both available from UK retailer Marks & Spencer (I strongly suspect that the Rhona is the re-badged Blanc de Blancs from Graham Back; M&S like to have exclusive labels).
[A side note on scoring. I hate the 100 point scale, but I use it to give you, dear reader, an idea of how much I liked the wine. Nothing scientific: just putting my view out, for better or worse. And I use the 100 point scale because it is the most widely used and easiest understood. And it is a universal scale. So for these wines, if I give one 93/100 and give a Champagne 93/100, I’m saying that I believe these to be qualitative peers. I hate the idea of scores relative to peer groups, because in this case it would patronize the non-Champagne sparklers and confuse readers/buyers.]
Josef Chromy NV Tasmania, Australia
12% alcohol. A blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Quite pale in colour. Lovely aromatic nose of pear and peach with some subtle toastiness. Textured, broad palate of pear and ripe apple with a nice creaminess. Very stylish: it has richness but also finesse. World class fizz. 92/100 (£20 Marks & Spencer)
Graham Beck The Rhona Methode Cap Classique Blanc de Blancs 2009 South Africa
12% alcohol, disgorged August 2014.Very fine toasty nose with lovely white peach, melon and biscuit aromas. The palate is powerful with a hint of bacon savouriness, some toast, and ripe peaches. Deliciously expressive and decadent, this is lovely stuff. Drink now. 93/100 (£11 Marks & Spencer a stunning bargain!)