Friday, 25 November 2016

HV Wines: Ridge Monte Bello Santa Cruz Mountain California

I tastes this domain for the first time about eight years ago, (simply because they aren't cheap to buy), when a client for whom I consulted at the time ask me to look over the pond and see what American wines he should know and have.
So of course I looked through my lists of suppliers to see what they had to offer states wise. There were quite a bit to choose from, London does have that advantage point to have close links with the States as well many Americans do live in London. I made up a list and highlighted which ones should be taken in consideration. Ridge Monte Bello Proprietary red wine was one of them.

So I ordered a couple of cases and when delivered he was of course intrigued to try, so thankfully, he had a dinner planned, so the opportunity presented itself effortlessly. The vintage I purchased was the 2005. Of course I had a taste before presenting to make sure it was at the right temperature, had enough breading time and if it had no default (corked). I still remember the look on his face, spoke a thousand words. Moving forward, last weekend in full surprise Ridge Monte Bello 2005 represented itself and boy what a feast it was.

I was at a friends place for a casual dinner with some of his friends and he was quite upbeat from the moment I entered his house, He is in general a very positive and friendly guy, but this time the buzz was definitely affecting all of us. We were all a bit intrigued why and what is there to come, as I knew his affinity for wine, I was hoping it might have to do something with that, damn right I was.
When the bottle arrived on the table, all smiles and shine was there to be seen 360 degrees.

He told us that he could lay his hands on 6 bottles and that he knew how I spoke about this wine some time ago and that you should definitely try it if you get the chance. Well, I can tell you that memories came back as if it was yesterday when I taste Ridge Monte Bello for the first time.
Image result for ridge vineyards

Ridge Vineyards
Ridge history begins in 1885, a man named Osea Perrone a doctor and prominent member of the San Francisco Italian community. He bought 180 acres of land on the top of the Monte Bello Ridge. In 1892 he produced the first wine under the name Monte Bello winery. In 1940 it was bought by William Short bought the abandoned winery and vineyard. He replaced several parcels to Cabernet Sauvignon, but quickly it was bought up by Stanford research engineers, Dave Bennion, Hew Crane Charlie Rosen and Howard Ziedler. This cabernet sauvignon was already then one of the finest wines in California. The first Zinfandel  was produced in 1964, followed by the first Geyserville Zinfandel in 1966. In 1969 Paul Draper joint the team and the estate was then producing under three thousand cases a year.  Paul shaped things even sharper and quality became very consistent, Ridge built and settled its reputation on a global level. In 1991 they acquired Lytton springs in Sonoma county, reinforcing the brand even more. Today world wide this estate is known for its persistent high level quality wine and one of America's greatest.
Image result for ridge vineyards
Time line:
1885; San Francisco Doctor Osea Perrone buys 180 acres on Monte Bello Ridge
1886; Dr. Perrone plants vineyards and begins construction on the stone and redwood Monte Bello Winery.
1892; Construction complete on the Montebello winery and the first wine under the label Montebello winery is produced.
1920; The original vineyards are abandoned due to enactment of prohibition in the United States.
1949; WIlliam Short who owns abandoned vineyard land adjacent to the Perrone property replants Cabernet sauvignon and plants Chardonnay for the first time on Monte Bello.
1959; Four scientist , Dave Bennion, Hew Crane, Charlie Rosen and Howard Ziedler, purchase the property from Mr Short and produce a small amount of the Cabernet sauvignon ten year old vine in the small winery on the property.
1962; The new owners from a partnership and become Ridge Vineyards. They re-bond the winery for commercial sale. First official vintage of Monte Bello.
1966; First vintage of Geyserville.
1968; Ridge purchased the old Monte Bello winery and a small part of the Perrone vineyard property.
1969; Paul Draper joins Ridge vineyards as wine maker.
1972; First vintage of Lytton Springs.
1976; Ridge becomes fifth among ten French and Californian wines, at the Paris tasting which later became known as the Judgement of Paris.
1986; Ridge vineyards is purchased by Otsuka pharmaceutical
1988; Paul Draper appointed as Chairman and then as Chief Executive Officer, Ridge buys replanted portions of the Perrone property.
1989;  David Gates, Vice President of Vineyard operations, joins Ridge.
1991; Ridge buys Lytton Springs winery and the old vineyards surrounding the winery in Sonoma county.
1994; Eric Baugher, wine maker at Monte Bello, joins Ridge.
1995; Ridge's buys the large Western portion of the original estate of Captain Litton in dry creek valley.
1995, John Olney, wine make at Lytton Springs, joins Ridge.
2000; Paul Draper is named "Man of the Year" by Decanter magazine and receives the "Distinguished Service Award" from Wine Spectator magazine.
2003; Paul Draper receives first "COPIA Award" for wine making.
2004; Ridge completes the construction of a new winery at Lytton Springs, with a focus on the production of Zinfandel.
2005; Paul Draper receives the "Lifetime Achievement Award" from the German magazine " Wein Gourmet".
2007; Paul Draper is giving The James Beard Award for winemaking.
2008; Monte Bello is served at the welcome dinner on the 34th G8 summit in Japan.
2012; Ridge Celebrated 50 years as a bonded winery.
2015; Paul Drapes is named as one of the 5th most admired winemakers in the world by Decanter magazines poll by his peers.
2016; Paul Draper retires as CEO and winemaker, but stays as chairman of the board.

Ridge Monte Bello Santa Cruz, 2005.

Image result for ridge vineyards monte bello 2005
Grapes: 70% Cabernet sauvignon, 22% Merlot, 6% Petit verdot, 2% Cabernet franc. 

Alcohol: 13.4% 

Price: €201 $270 £170 average ex tax 

Visual: Pouring into your glass a warm dark ruby coloured wine appears, with stamina, bravour, power, class, attitude, quite exceptional. It shines perfectly and it transparency is top, the brilliance is very seductive and it asks only for one thing" do try me". 

Nose: The invasion of aromas is just mindblowing, clove, vanilla, spices, juicy dark/red fruits (blackberries, black currants, dark cherries), layers upon layers of seduction and perfection. A wine that reaches all desires one wants in a wine. Just superb. 

Palate: It comes in big and powerful, but with well controlled brakes, so it doesn't blow you backward over and invades aggressively like some new world wines do. No here it comes in style and balance, the tannins are beautiful round and still well packed,  mid-palate appear those juicy luscious black fruits again, holding the structure together with the acidities perfectly balanced as a wine should be. It lingers on for moments on end, pure joy. 

Conclusion: It was such a long time I had the opportunity to taste this wine again, and boy does it go well, utter joy and feel good factor. A wine that gives you an uplift and a positive vibe. I just love this wine and it is made with such expertise and craftsmanship. I only praise and ask to taste it again and again. 

Score: I rate this wine 19.5/20 98/100.

Until the next time please do drink responsibly.  

Monday, 21 November 2016

HV Wines: The top 30 Boutique Champagne houses

It took me awhile to get this blog finished as I had to go through every house listed down below and taste one of the range, so I am happy to give you the 30 top boutique Champagne houses.

For most of the time when it comes to Champagne we hear talking about the big brands, the star names. Something that is vital to the existence of Champagne as there is an envy globally towards this region as we all know Champagne associates with luxury, well-being and somehow wealth.

An image carefully crafted by the best in the business, an image different then pretty much anything in the world of wine. No wonder that it is taxed higher than many other product in the world of wine and the standard of Champagne have risen significantly in the last two decades that today some of the champagnes reach prices 30 years ago one could only dream off.

Of course as with many luxury products you do pay for the brand a lot, although that in their top cuvee's quality isn't lacking, that can not always been said about their Brut NV. But we are not here to talk about big brands, no this is classification of the top 30 boutique champagnes.

What does it mean? Well houses that simply not producing more than 250,000 bottles and houses that produce a distinctive terroir and identity. It is the new wave of Champagnes, the revolutionaries, the other choice, the craft. There is much hype around these houses as customers are looking at alternatives to put on the table, a champagne that not everyone's known, novelty to say the least.

Champagne facts: 

Champagne has four zones;  Montagne de Reims, with towns like,  Bouzy, Ambonnay, Verzy, Verzenay, Mailly.....Vallee de la Marne, with towns like,  Tours sur Marne, AY, Dizy, Epernay.....Cote de Blancs, with towns like, Chouilly, Cuis, Cramant, Avize, Oger, Le Mesnil-Sur-Ogier, Vertus..... and Cote de Bars, with towns like, Celles-Sur-Ource, Urville, Les Riceys...

Grapes:  three principle grapes; Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, four other grapes are also allowed to make Champagne such as; Arbanne, Petit Meslier, Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris. 

Bottle Sizes;
0.25 cl  Quart (quarter)
0.50 cl  Demi ( half)
0.75 cl  Bouteille (bottle)
1.5 L    Magnum 
3 L       Jeroboam
4.5 L    Rehoboam
6 L       Mathusalem
9 L       Salamanazar
12 L     Balthazar
15 L    Nabuchodonosor

Labeling reference;

CM;  Cooperative manipulator; which means she/he rather produce for himself/herself or for someone else

NM; Negociant manipulator; a merchant that makes Champagne from grapes he/she partially or entirely buys from someone else.

RC; Recoltant cooperative; a producers associates to a cooperative where he receive his Champagne which he then will sell under his name.

RM; Recoltant manipulant; a producer that makes his Champagne exclusive from the grape she grows, only a maximum of 5 % of grapes is allowed to be bought.

MA; Marque d'acheteur; a brand (supermarket for example) who haven't produced the Champagne themselves.

Vintages Chart
( from 1 to 5, 1 being the worst, 5 excellent)

1978; 3   1979; 4  1980; 2  1981; 4  1982; 4   1983; 3  1984; 1   1985; 4
1986; 3   1987; 2  1988; 4  1989; 4  1990; ex 1991; 1  1992; 2   1993; 2  1994; 2      1995; 4
1996; ex 1997; 2  1998; 4  1999; 3  2000; 3   2001;  2002; ex  2003; 3 2004; 4/ex 2005; 3
2006; 3   2007; 3  2008; 4  2009; 4  2010; 2   2011; 2  2012; 3    2013; 3 2014; 3      2015; 4

So the list below is worked out with notes I made when I tasted these Champagnes and in consultancy with La Revue de Vins de France guide, Larousse guide, Bettane and Desseauve guide and Gault Millau Champagne guide. Some Champagnes will have a * next to their overall quote which means that not all guides quoted this Champagne, so also lower down the list, so between brackets there will be an extra quote with an average imaginative quote from the missing guide and where this house would be listed if all did quote the house.

Top 30 Boutique Champagnes 2016

1. Salon. Ruler of excellency.
 Image result for salon champagne
Salon produces only one Champagne a blanc de blanc, situated in Mesnil-sur-Oger right in the cote de blanc chardonnay is the ruler here in this house. It is mythical and produces only a Champagne when the vintage is really worthy of one. It stands at the top as when I tasted the 2002 vintage (which is an exceptional vintage) it had all the hallmarks of the best Champagne can produce. A burst of fruits and freshness, buttery  and soft with a pearl so delicate and fine it does really something. This is a Champagne that ask time when drinking, and I guarantee you, you never forget a Salon Champagne when you had one for the first time. (my quote 20/20)

The overall score for Salon is 98/100.  
Salon 2002 €364 $386 £311 average ex tax 

Owner:  Laurent-Perrier
Owner of land: 1 hectares
Buying grapes: yes, from 19 small parcels in Mesnil-sur-Oger
Production: about 60,000 bottles
Cellar master: Michel Fauconnet.

2. Jacques Selosse. The Master
 Image result for jacques selosse champagne
Here is a man that creates Champagnes with such beauty and style, one which there was much more of it. Production is tiny here as well and the identity that hides in his Champagnes are out of this world. I tasted the Brut Initial also a blanc de blanc and from the attack, its precision and perfection. Agrumes, confit fruit, bergamote, a texture with a dry feel and a bubble well balanced not to vivid with great freshness. A champagne like no other, truly rare and unique. (my quote 19.50/20)

The over score for Selosse is 96/100.
Jacque Selosse Brut Initial €133 $141 £114 average ex tax

Owner:  Anselme Selosse
Owner of land: 8.3 hectares
Buying grapes: no
Production: 57,000 bottles
Cellar master: Anselme Selosse

3. Egly-Ouriet. The Craft of perfection
Image result for egly ouriet
Here is a domain that craft Champagnes in total new style and approach, although the tradition is kept very well in the philosophy, the way they do it is unique. It is without a doubt that this house shines at the top of Champagne as each and every bottle of this house sits full of character and personality. I tasted the Brut Grand Cru Tradition, and  it was extremely fine and complex with green apples, yeasts, hints of minerals. The bubbles are full of energy and with it comes all things citrus, very refreshing and paired perfectly with food and fish in particular. (I blogged about Egly-Ouriet a couple of months ago 15.09.2016). (my quote 19.50/20)

The overall score for Egly-Ouriet is 95.50/100
Egly-Ouriet Brut Grand Cru Tradition €84 $89 £72 average ex tax

Owner: Michel and Francis Egly-Ouriet
Owner of land: 12 hectares
Buying grapes: no
Production: 90,000 bottles
Cellar master: Michel and Francis Egly-Ouriet

4. Agrapart et Fils. The Outstanding
 Image result for agrapart et fils
Besides a tiny bit of red grapes, this is predominately a blanc de blanc house that has its roots born in 1894. This house here is so exceptional that since some time now this house stands at the pinnacle of what is Champagne a house that beats all the likes of the monk hands down, even though the monk doesn't go blanc. I tasted Les 7 Crus Brut, a champagne with zest, apples, baked bread and volume, It hold good length and indicates a beautiful idea of what the other cuvees will be like. This is their entry champagne but far from thinking that it will hide an identity and craft, well far from it, it indicates that here you are dealing with the best the business can offer. (my quote 19.50/20)

The overall score for Agrapart et Fils is 94.50/100
Agrapart et Fils Les 7 Crus Brut €34 £29 $36 average ex tax

Owner: Fabrice and Pascal Agrapart
Owner of land:  12 hectares
Buying grapes: No 
Production: 95,000 bottles 
Cellar master: Pascal Agrapart

5. Larmandier-Bernier. The natural approach
 Image result for larmandier bernier
Working the vine in these families dates back to the French revolution. 20th Century the Larmandier family made Champagne that quickly proved their fine quality. So the family began to supply their Champagne to the top restaurants in Paris (La Tour d'Argent, Taillevent, Charlot Roi des coquillages...). In 1971 Philippe Larmandier grandson of Jules Larmandier, together with his wife Elisabeth Bernier, who owned vineyards in Vertus created Larmandier-Bernier Champagne. Until 1992 the house suffered a bit but Pierre brought back the house to where it belong and converted much to biodynamic culture. Since then it collect many awards worldwide. I tasted the Larmandier-Bernier "Latitude" extra Brut. This champagne had a beautiful yellow glow with a fine bubble and polished shine. Very fruity and some floral on the nose, nicely balanced and seductive on the palate was it fresh, round with a flair of softness and hints of minerals mid palate with a long finish. (my quote 19/20)

The overall score for Larmandier-Bernier is 92/100
Larmandier-Bernier Latitude extra Brut €30 $32 £26 average ex tax

Owner: Pierre Larmandier
Owner of land: 16 hectares
Buying grapes: no
Production: 130,000 bottles
Cellar master: Pierre et Sophie Larmandier

6. Fleury. Biodynamic is the norm

This is a house that many might not have heard of although that this house exist since 1895. Since 1989 this house is converted to biodynamic culture and many thought then that this will be the end but look who is laughing now! Many houses and not just in Champagne are converting or thinking of converting into biodynamic culture. Here there is an honesty and balance, champagnes with much identity and champagne's that get better with age. I tasted the Fleury blanc de noir Brut. Very pleasantly surprised as it was the first time I tasted this Champagne and it was bold and yeast/almonds,lingering to fresh baked bread, red fruits came second (raspberries especially), good structure and power on the palate with good balance between aromas and acidity, lingering on long and a good feel of power thanks to the 100% Pinot Noir, which is what a blanc de noir is. (my quote 18.50/20)

The overall score for Fleury is: 90.50/100

Fleury Blanc de Noir Brut €25 €26 £21 average ex tax

Owner: Jean-Pierre Fleury

Owner of Land: 15 hectares
Buying grapes: Yes
Production:  200,000 bottles
Cellar Master: Jean-Pierre Fleury

7. Francoise Bedel et Fils. A bright star 
Image result for francoise bedel et fils
Another domain that plows a total bio dinamisme and creating Champagnes with attitude and personality. Together with her son Vincent this tiny house of 8.4 hectares has nestle itself amongst the champagnes definitely to have encounter in your life. I tasted the Francoise Bedel Brut Origin'elle. It appeared goldy and shiny, very refreshing and energetic, on the nose a very fresh fruity bouquet especially white/yellow fruits (apricot, peaches) , followed by dry fruits, and little hints of brioche followed by the cognac armagnac notes. It lingers well and leaves you with a definite memory of a champagne different then many others. (my quote 18.75)

The overall score for Francoise Bedel et Fils is 89/100
Francoise Bedel Brut Origin'elle €28 $30 £24 average ex tax

Owner: Francoise Bedel
Owner of Land: 8.4 hectares
Buying grapes:  no
Production: 60,000 bottles
Cellar master:  Vincent Desaubeau

8. De Sousa. True Value
 Image result for de sousa champagne
A true family affair and here one of the most entrepreneurial men of his generation. Predominately Chardonnay grower and land in Avize, Cramant and Oger grand cru. Here is a family spirits united and with time also gone totally biodynamic, a sign where things are leading here in Champagne. I tasted the, The Sousa et Fils Brut Tradition. A Champagne The Brut tradition is predominately chardonnay with Pinot noir and meunier. A clear brilliant visual aspect with reflect of green colour, the mousse is thick and tight, meaning compact bubbles, on the nose it is very floral, intense and expressive, a touch of mimosas and citruses with little hints of brioche and tiny elements of mineral and chalk in particular. On the palate its vert refreshing and  warm touches of honey and medium dry aspects with a reasonably good long lingering. The acidity is well balanced and the Champagne is surely impressive. (my quote 18.75/20)

The overall score for this house is 88.85/100
The Souza et Fils Brut Tradition €23 $25 £20 average ex tax

Owner: Erick de Souza
Owner of land: 11 hectares
Buying grapes: no
Production: 100,000 bottles
Cellar master: Erick de Souza

9. Dehours et Fils. A rising star
 Image result for dehours et fils champagne
I had the chance to meet Jerome Dehours on a beautiful occasion and listen to the man himself explaining his Champagnes. You understand straight away that his vision and craft of the making of champagne lays in his entire range on the aspect vintage, which means that his champagnes will not every year taste the same as what you get with the big brands Brut NV's. His champagnes will express terroir, savoir-faire and the natural elements of that particular year. You understand quickly when you taste his champagnes that they are brimmed with structure complexity and identity. I tasted the Dehours et fils Grand reserve Brut. This champagne is based on Meunier grapes, which gives you fruit, energy and power but all so well balanced that it feels like a well orchestrated symphony. Deeply moving and emotional. (my quote 18.50/20)

The overall score for this house is 87.90/100
Dehours et Fils Grand reserve Brut €23 $25 £20 average ex tax

Owner:  Jerome Dehours and Caroline Laisne
Owner of land: 14 hectares
Buying grapes: no
Production: 80,000 bottles
Cellar master: Jerome Dehours

10.Pierre Gimonnet et Fils. Tradition and knowledge
 Image result for gimonnet et fils 
This house has been settled in Champagne since 1750, generation on generation has passed the knowledge and know-how of champagne making and with new generations looking in different directions, this house stays strong and with a firm hand on the future, creating champagnes that are on the absolute top. Predominately chardonnay house so I tasted the Brut cuis Premier crus blanc de blanc. The blanc de blanc represents itself beautifully pale yellow with floral hints on the nose and waves of citruses, with here and there hints of minerals. Dry on the palate it ignites huge freshness and well balanced acidity and aromas. A good starter to any evening or dinner. (my quote 18/20)

The overall score of this house is 85.50/100
Pierre Gimonnet et Fils Cuis Premier Cru €22 $23 £19 average ex tax

Owner: Family Gimonnet
Owner of land: 28 hectares
Buying in grapes: no
Production: 250,000 bottles
Cellar master:  Olivier and Didier Gimonnet

11. Francis Boulard et Fille.
 Image result for francis boulard et fils 
I never heard of Francis Boulard before I tasted his Brut nature Les Murgiers. I had a look into their history and they do exist since quite some time but under Raymond Boulard, but since 2009 their is change and here we have a tiny production but with star quality. (my quote 18/20)

The overall score of this house is 84/100
Francis Boulard et Fille Les Murgiers  blanc de noirs €27 $28 £23 average ex tax

Owner: Francis Boulard and Delphine Richard-Boulard
Owner of land: 3 hectares
Buying grapes:  no
Production: 25,000 bottles
Cellarmaster: Francis Boulard and Delphine Richard-Boulard

12. Benoit Lahaye. 
Image result for benoit lahaye champagne
Reasonably young in the field although when you taste his champagnes one would never know. Totally organic since 2007, here is another house that one need to look out for as he is rising faster then a bullet. I tasted the Brut blanc de noirs and it was one of the best blanc de noirs tasted so far. Beautiful work and talent, tiny production so certainly not easy to find. (my quote 17/20)

The overall score for this house is 83.85/100
Benoit Lahaye Brut blanc de Noirs €30 $32 £26 average ex tax

Owner: Valerie and Benoit Lahaye
Owner of land: 4 hectares
Buying grapes:  no
Production:  38,000 bottles
Cellar master: Benoit Lahaye

13. Chartogne-Taillet.
 Image result for chartogne taillet
Based in Merfy at 8 km from Reims the Taillet family were a long line of wine growers since 1485 (not Champagne then). This for many unknown house steeped in tradition and innovation, Alexandre Chartogne now at the helm is directing this house to even higher levels than it already is. I tasted the Chartogne- Taillet Brut NV. (my quote 17/20)

The overall score for this house is 83.45/100
Chartogne-Taillet Brut NV €29 $31 £25 average ex tax

Owner: Alexandre Chartogne
Owner of land: 11 hectares
Buying grapes:  no
Production:  80,000 bottles
Cellar master: Alexandre Chartogne

14. Bereche et Fils.
Image result for bereche champagne 
A house that exist since 1847 with now the fourth generation at the helm of this tiny but crafted Champagne house. Totally moving towards an organic movement and treat their vines with the up most natural approach, listen to and speak with nature. I tasted the Bereche et Fils Brut reserve. (my quote 17/20)

The overall score of this house is 82.10/100
Bereche et fils Brut Reserve €21 $26 £25 average ex tax

Owner: Family Bereche
Owner of land:  9.5 hectares
Buying grapes: No
Production:  90.000 bottles
Cellar master: Raphael Bereche

15. Tarlant. 
Image result for tarlant champagne
This house is at "l'etat pure" of Champagne (the purest state), as far as 1687 goes this family and have seen many historical moments during the generations of the Tarlant family. Today they stand as a reference is France if you want to taste identity of Champagne. I taste the Tarlant Tradition Brut. (my quote 16.50/20)

The overall score for this house is 81/100
Tarlant Tradition Brut €27 $28 £23 average ex tax

Owner: Jean-Marie Micheline et Benoit Tarlant
Owner of land: 14 hectares
Buying grapes: No
Production: 130,000 bottles
Cellar master:  Benoit Tarlant

16. Pierre Peters.
 Image result for pierre peters
1858 Gaspard Peters was the founder of this house, In the heart of the Cote de Blanc, only 1 hectare in red all the rest is Chardonnay. A house that also respect hugely the importance of terroir and treats it with the up most respect. I tasted the Brut Grand Cru Blanc de Blanc. (my quote 17/20)

The overall score for this house is 80.95/100
Pierre Peters Brut Grand Cru Blanc de Blanc €54 $57 £46 average price ex tax

Owner: Peters family
Owner of land: 19 hectares
Buying grape: no
Production: 175,000 bottles
Cellar master: Rodolphe Peters

17. Gonet-Medeville.
 Image result for gonet medeville
Fairly young estate, this is a family from Sauternes in Bordeaux with a long viticultural history. Big interest in this small estate as if they make their Champagne as good as their Sauternes then a new star shines in the sky of Champagne. I tasted the Brut Premier Cru tradition. (my quote 16.50/20)

The overall score for this house is 80.50/100
Gonet-Medeville Brut Premier Cru Tradition €37 $40 £32 average price ex tax

Owner: Xavier and Juliette Gonet
Owner of Land: 10 hectares
Buying grapes: no
Production: 90,000 bottles
Cellar master: Xavier Gonet

18. J-L Vergnon. 
Image result for j-l vergnon
This house exist for two Centuries, but in 1950 Jean Louis Vergnon recreated his vineyard on the slopes of  de Cote de blanc in Mesnil-sur-Oger. 100% Chardonnay so here again a total blanc de blanc production. Tiny house with beautiful crafted talent. I tasted the Brut Grand Cru Blanc de Blanc Conversation. (my quote 16.50/20)

The overall score for this house is 80.30/100
J-L Vergnon Brut Grand Cru Blanc de Blanc Conversation €37 $40 £32 average price ex tax

Owner: Vergnon family
Owner of land: 5.26 hectares
Buying grapes:  no
Production: 50,000 bottles
Cellar master: Christophe Constant

19. Pierre Moncuit. 
Image result for pierre moncuit
Once again we venturing in the Blanc de Blanc 100%, a domain that stand proud since over a century. Based in Mesnil-sur-Oger and with 19 hectares of vines here we indulge in superb champagne making. i tasted the Pierre Moncuit-Delos Brut Reserve Blanc de Blanc Grand Cru. (My quote 16/20)

The overall score for this house 80/100
Pierre Moncuit-Delos Brut Reserve Blanc de Blanc Grand Cru €36 $38 £31 average ex tax

Owner: Nicole, Valerie and Yves Moncuit
Owner of land: 19 hectares
Buying grapes: no
Production:  180,000 bottles
Cellar master: Nicole Moncuit

20. Franck Pascal. 
Image result for franck pascal champagne
A great discovery this tiny domain of 3.5 hectares and now totally biodynamic. A very young domain as he (Franck) started renting his dads vines to make his own champagne. In 1998 he started to convert to organic then biodynamic culture and his first biodynamic champagne came onto the market in 2006. I tasted the Franck Pascal Reliance Brut nature. (my quote 15.95/20)

 Overall score for this house 79.75/100
Franck Pascal Reliance Brut Nature €46 $48 £39 average price ex tax

Owner: Franck Pascal
Owner of land:  3.5 hectares
Buying grapes: no
Production: 30,000 bottles
Cellar master: Franck Pascal

 Image result for gatinois
Another well established family productive since 1696 in AY. Predominately vines of red grapes, only 1 hectares in white although that this domaine isn't big total 7 hectares. A pleasant discovery. I tasted the Gatinois Brut Grand Cru Tradition. (my quote 15.80)

Overall score for this house 79.50/100
Gatinois Brut Grand Cru Tradition €46 $48 £39 average price ex tax

Owner: Pierre et Marie Cheval-Gatinois
Owner of land: 7.5 hectares
Buying grapes: no
Production: 50,000 bottles
Cellar master: Pierre Cheval-Gatinois

22. Pascal Doquet.
 Image result for pascal doquet
As with many smaller houses, working the land with care and observe its behavior without using any chemical products is the key. With the believe that it produces a champagne more truthful to the terroir and the cellar master's vision. This is that is totally biodynamic and almost entirely chardonnay production. I tasted the Pascal Doquet Brut blanc de blanc. (My quote 16/20)

Overall score for this house 79.30/100
Pascal Doquet Brut Blanc de Blanc €43 $46 £37

Owner: Doquet family
Owner of land: 8.5 hectares
Buying grapes: no
Production: 75,000 bottles
Cellar master: Pascal Doquet

23. R.Pouillon et Fils.
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Another domain that is totally new to me and so with much anticipation is explored this house. Created in 1947 by Roger Pouillon, and today thanks to the marriage between Fabrice (one of the sons) and Elodie holds the house now 15 hectares of vines. I tasted the R.Pouillon Carte Blanche blanc de blanc Premier Cru. (my quote 15.8/20)

The overall score for this house 78.05/100
R. Pouillon Carte Blanche blanc de blanc €29 $31 £25 average price ex tax

Owner: James and Fabrice Pouillon
Owner of land: 15 hectares
Buying grapes: no
Production: 85,000 bottles
Cellar master: James and Fabrice Pouillon

24. Laherte Freres. 
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An estate founded in 1889 by Jean-Baptiste Laherte, Fourth generation Michel Laherte has now the reigns in hand with 10 hectares in hand makes Michel together with his son Aurelien a beautiful range of champagnes. I tasted the Brut Ultradition. (My quote 15.5/20)

The overall score for this house 77.65/100
Laherte Freres Brut Ultradition €35 $37 £30 average price ex tax

Owner: Thierry and Christian Laherte
Owner of land:  10 hectares
Buying grapes:  yes
Production:  110,000 bottles
Cellar master: Thierry Laherte

25.Rene Geoffroy.
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A house I didn't know before, but a house alive since the 17th Century, With good values and visions is this a house that steadily steps up its presence in Champagne and the world. I tasted the Brut Nature Purete. (My quote 15.50/20)

The overall score for this house: 75.20/100
Rene Geoffroy Brut Nature Reserve €47 $50 £40 average price ex tax

Owner: Rene and Jean-Baptiste Geoffroy
Owner of land: 14 hectares
Buying grapes: no
Production: 135,000 bottles
Cellar master: Rene Geoffroy

26. A. Margaine. 
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This house started its life in 1920 when the grandfather Gaston Margaine, bought the house and cellar. Predominately chardonnay vines with a tiny bit red (.035 hectares), end we again with much blanc de blanc style champgnes. Much attention is spend here inmaking these champagnes. I tasted the A. Margaine Brut. (my quote 15/20)

The overall score for this house is 75/100
A. Margaine Brut €42 $45 £36 average price ex tax

Owner: Margaine family
Owner of land: 6 hectares
Buying grapes: no
Production: 58,000 bottles
Cellar master: Arnaud Margaine

27. Georges Laval.
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This is one of the tiniest productions on this list and most likely in Champagne, this is micro production and very stylish champagnes. Hard to get but worth the hunt. I tasted the Brut nature Premier Cru Cumieres. (My quote 15/20)

The overall score for this house is 69.26/100 * (84.26 place 11)
Georges Laval Brut Nature Premier Cru Cumieres €71 $76 £61 average price ex tax

Owner: Family Laval
Owner of land: 2.5 hectares
Buying grapes: no
Production: 10,000 bottles
Cellar master:  Vincent Laval

28. Jerome Prevost.
 Image result for jerome prevost
Together with Georges Laval and most likely Jerome prevost the tiniest of Boutique Champagnes, super exclusive and utterly devilish. Only two Champagnes are made here, I taste the La Closerie les Beguine. (My quote 17/20)

The overall score for this house 67.85/100 * (84.85 place 11)
Jerome Prevost La Closerie les Beguine €77 $82 £66 average price ex tax

Owner: Jerome Prevost
Owner of land: 2,2 hectares
Buying grapes: no
Production: 13,000 bottles
Cellar master: Jerome Prevost

29. Lilbert et Fils.
 Image result for libert et fils champagne
A totally blanc de blanc production and one of the oldest in the Cramant village and cote de blanc 1746 birth year of the house. One other brand I made acquaintance for the first time. I tasted the Brut Grand Cru blanc de Blanc. (My quote 16.50)

The overall score for this house 65.25* (80.25 place 19)
Libert et Fils Brut Grand Cru Blanc de Blanc €47 $50 £40 average price ex tax

Owner: Bertrand Lilbert
Owner of land: 4 hectares
Buying grapes: no
Production: 30,000 bottles
Cellar master:  Bertrand Lilbert

30. Alfred Gratien. 
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Created in 1864 and also one of the largest producers in this list Alfred Gratien will most of you have heard of, Good level of Champagne and a good reference. I tasted the Brut Classique. (My quote 15.80)

The overall score for this house 65.15* (79.65 place 21)
Alfred Gratien Brut Classique €42 $45 £36 average price ex tax

Owner: Henkell and Sohnlein
Owner of land: 2  hectares
Buying grapes: Yes
Production:  250,000 bottles
Cellar master: Nicolas jaeger

So here you have a list of really cool trendy stylish and top champagne house, where you will drink and understand the terroir side of Champagne.

Until next time please do drink responsibly.

Sunday, 13 November 2016

HV Wines: Dominio de Atauta Ribera del Duero, Spain

Dominio de Atauta is still a Spanish high flyer at a reasonable low cost price. There are some wines in Spain that reach prices in line with the 1st/5th growths of Bordeaux. In the last 8 years Spanish wines have become immensely popular, well even more than before (European statistics). Due to the global crisis in 2008/2009, the Spanish were hit from all sides and the rollercoaster downhill had no brakes, of course they were not the only economy that hit trouble but they were with Portugal and Greece the front runners. Thank god that they do have some strong pillars (assets) that held them up (barely), but some financiers said at the time that, if Spain sold of its gold that was cladded all over their churches, they would be amongst the wealthiest states in Europe and jump straight out of trouble. Of course for the Spanish that was unthinkable, rather suffer then touch my church, very ironic don't you think so ?  
Image result for ribera del duero vineyard
So the Spanish had to get ways of building stronger brakes and enforce their firewalls, of course as in all for any loss there is a winner. For Spain that came in the form of Cava, the world was not going to stop enjoying a glass of sparkle, so to be seen drinking Champagne was then at the time a not done thing as Champagne was expressing wealth and good times.
So many turned to alternatives and cava who was a fraction of the price of Champagne plus they improved the quality of their bubble was the answer and with that followed of course the red and white wines. As the Spanish needed to sell/export, they pushed prices downwards, so suddenly in Europe Spain was the alternative to French wines as they were seen as becoming too expensive. Of course the crisis did make other nation think as well but nobody did as good as Spain, even to a point that some French sabotaged any Spanish wine (especially bulk wine) passing their frontiers. There have been many reports of French wine terrorist dumping down the drain any cheap Spanish wine coming into the country because they could simply not compete with the them. Shows you how bad of a player the French can be as the bulk French wine is far very far from being great, but they didn't care it was competition they couldn't handle.

Today all this has changed and a balanced is restored more or less, but when you have a look around in supermarkets the Spanish choice is definitely more present than before, competition is fierce. All this is good for the consumer but still as with all, there are always producers who will try to jump onto the bandwagon and bring a product on the market not worthy and at a price even less. But you can't blame the producers for that, it is the buyer as he/she should be able to set standards and be able to make the difference. It is with all in this world of craziness and a craziness we might want to rethink and shape some lines to it, as right now there is discontent and anger, in a world of which we do not have a spare one laying aside.

Dominio de Atauta Ribera del Duero.
I have tasted this wine on several occasion and each time it is pure joy and happiness. Dominio de Atauta comes out of Ribera del Duero, one of the star regions in Spain, the region with the most expensive Spanish wine on the market (Pingus, Vega Sicilia to name two).  Ribera del Duero, gets its name of the Duero river that runs through the region. It is 115 km long and 35 km wide. A total of 102 municipalities spread over 4 integrated provinces in the autonomous community Castilla Y Leon.
Ribera del Duero only gets in 1982 its D.O recognition although they have been making wine here for thousands of years. It is mainly a red wine region (more of Ribera del Duero in a blog I wrote last year

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The valley of Atauta is in the region of Soria, located in the Eastern side of Duero river with a long viticultural history. The valley of Atauta close to a thousand meters above sea level, is stamped by the personality of its vineyards. Here a steady wind that blows from West to East, helps keeping bunches fairly clean and healthy. Rain fall is little, except from the occasional big summer thunder storm, which can also bring big disaster, apart from that hot dry days, fairly cool nights and importantly cold winters. Atauta's strength is the diversity of its terroir, limestone and clay are the major contributors but the way its positioned in the valley, gives it huge varieties and identity in style to the wines. Atauta is a biodynamic winery and used fairly old vines to help characterize their wines. They own 15 hectares of vines and produce about 100,000 bottles divided between 5 members ofthe family. Of the Dominio de Atauta they produce annually about 26,000 bottles. 

Dominio de Atauta 2012
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Grape:   100% Tinto Fino 

Alcohol:  14% 

Price: Average around €27 $29 £23 

Visual: The sight of this wine in a glass is very bold, masculine, with purple and red cherry colour. It shows muscle and elegance, depth and energy. When you swirl the wine a beautiful brilliance shines, a sparkle and twinkle catches your sight. Very seductive and overly inviting. 

Nose:  It hits your first of all with intense red ripe fruits, dark red fruits, black cherries, blackcurrants, wild black berries, a good stream of liquorice and coffee (mocha) make their guest appearances and the well settled oak balances this wine in great style. Balanced to outstanding quality, indicating the meticulous biodynamically approach of this wine. 

Palate: A beautiful attack of dark red fruits with well integrated tannins, a medium to full body with a lovely balance between aromas and acidities. Mid palate hold this wine to excellent standards. The oak balance and the freshness of the delicate acidities gives this wine a long lingering finish. Even after the nectar has past, is the longing for another sip inevitably. 

Conclusion: A domain that strives for excellence and for the price you pay, I keep on wondering how long it will last before this wine's price tag jumps up, as it definitely stands amongst the kings of kings in Spain. Don't misunderstand me here, I do not encourage for this wine to be more expensive, and that counts for all wines but with such a small production and such high standards, is not will all good becomes also exclusive? I enjoyed this wine as much and more as I did the first time. Great value for your money 20 out of 20 for that. 

Score: I rate this wine 18.75/20 93/100

Until next time please do drink responsibly.

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

HV Wines: Vasse Felix Heytesbury Chardonnay 2013 Western Australia

I remember well the first time I taste Vasse Felix, Margaret River. It was in London a place named E&O restaurant in Notting Hill. I was then already well impressed with what came from down under, so when the opportunity stroke again last week, I was more then excited.

Often here in Europe, many do get a wrong message or image/idea of Australian wines, as often they do encounter the other side of the Aussi brand. Although they do not always look it the same way when they have buckets of bad and as much not so interested French, Spanish wine on offer, they seem to critic more directly wines from the new world as that from the old. Also I have to add to this that I do talk of a generation that hasn't got the use of travelling distances, so the old and safe although not always great seems to be better... go figure.

But luckily there is the "generation change and open minded" that do look and adventure, so for all that dare here is an example of how well they do make wines down under.
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Vasse Felix Magaret River
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This is actually the first build winery in Margaret river, owned and run by the Holmes family today, but it all started in 1967 by a certain Dr Thomas Gullity. It started precisely in 1965 when he was searching for the perfect plot of land to plant his vines as a report came out by Dr John Gladstones that the region around Margaret river had climatic similarities as Bordeaux, so the possibility to produce great wines. He was looking for a plot of land that contain the perfect mixture of red gravel and clay. Once he found that piece of land he planted Cabernet sauvignon, Shiraz, Malbec and Riesling and he established "Vasse Felix".

In 1971 came his first vintage of 4 year old vines (that is the time it takes for a vine to be able to produce grapes that have enough elements to make a wine), but the harvest was a disaster due to disease.
In 1972 came the first wines to life, cabernet sauvignon and riesling. At a wine show it created a stir and set the spotlight on Margaret river. In 1973 it won a gold medal for its cabernet sauvignon at the Perth Royal show.

In 1984 the estate was sold to the Gregg family, it was also this vintage that turned Vasse Felix global at it reached the American market.

Then in 1987 it exchanged hands again, the Holmes family acquire it and run it to this day. it was also that year that the first dry white Vasse Felix was made.
In 1987 opens the Vasse Felix restaurant, it is set in a room that the former owner David Gregg build as a Champagne room. Today it is one of the best restaurants in Australia.

1990, the Hermitage wins the "Chairman's" trophy for best wine at the W A Wine Awards and sells out in three days. In 1997 the first Heytesbury is made, a wine that will make global impact as outstanding quality and craft. In 1999 they open a new winery with state of the art technology.

2006 Vasse Felix home vineyard in Wilyabrup begins its most significant expansion since establishment as the estate narrows its focus to Cabernet sauvignon and Chardonnay.
2010 Vasse Felix adds a vineyard in Karridale, which is in a much cooler zone and where grapes like Chardonnay, Sauvignon and Semillon will strive producing their best.
2012 Heytesbury Chardonnay makes history, with 11 trophies in wines shows becoming one of the most awarded wines in Australian history.
2015 Vasse Felix adds Gnarawary vineyard a terroir chosen for its quality for the Chardonnay and Shiraz grape.

 Vasse Felix Heytesbury Chardonnay 2013
Image result for vasse felix heytesbury chardonnay
Price: €45 $50 £40 (average)

Alcohol: 13.5%

Grape: 100% Chardonnay 

Cellar Potential:  7- 10 year +

Ageing:  100% French oak for 9.5 months (73% new oak, 27% oak 1-2 years old)

Average score:  93/100 18.5/20

Visual: A brilliant lemon yellow colour with reflections of warmth and seduction. The legs are beautiful thick and creamy, the brilliance is very well balanced. A wine with potential and elegant appearance.

Nose:  The nose is hit by impressive aromas of kumquat and citruses, with peaches and orange blossom. The layers below give you impressions of lemon curd and even thyme and herbs combined with mushrooms. Hugely complex and intense, with seduction and identity.

Palate:  The hit on the palate is intense, aromatic and impressive. Stone white fruits and citrus evade the palate, feels soft and silky, round and slight oily, very generous and totally imaginative. Vanilla, biscuits and ginger make their appearances and lingers on with no ending. The oak is totally balanced amongst the aromas and acidities.

Conclusion: Yes, I was taken back to that first time I sipped this wine, but better, stronger, bolder and matured. This is once again proof and a statement, that Australia has what it takes. This wine is a must for any cellar and a perfect gift for any wine lover. Thank you.

Until next time please do drink responsibly.

Friday, 4 November 2016

HV Wines: 3 outstanding sparkling wines

As the festive season is right upon us, time for sparkling wine is again on the rise more then ever. No other time during the year is there so much demand for bubbles, from Champagne to Cava, Prosecco, Cremant and the sparkling wines from the new world. There is choice in abundance from €6.5 $8 £5.5 to over €100 $120 £95+, the rise in sparkles has caught up everywhere and today it is much less embarrassing to hold anything besides Champagne in your glass.

I have selected 3 sparkling wines not from Champagne and not from France to emphasize that outside this marvel country they produce to great bubbles to, (although one of those three is from a big french house)

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Gramona, Spain
Gramona is a house based in the heart of Catalonia, 50 minutes away from the magnificent city of Barcelona and squeezed between two giants of Cava production, Freixenet and Codorniu. This house goes back to 1850 where the great great grandfather Joseph Batlle, who was working as a winemaker and grower for a family who owned the vineyards in La Plana, in the Anoia river valley. His son Pau set up their own winery in 1881, thanks to him selling wine to the French sparkling producers as they were ravaged by the phylloxera disease. Then Pau's daughter Pilar married Bartolome Gramona, the son of Joseph Gramona, the then president of the Barcelona Taverners guild and founder of La Vid Catalana newspaper of the Catalan association of wine producers and from San Sadurni (known today as the center of sparkling wine production in Spain). 
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In 1945 was a new start for Gramona under the stewardship of Batomeu y Josep Llui, the hard working generation were they called. They were also the visionaries and pioneers for long-ageing cavas. The first Gramona III Lustros was created in 1951 and because of their philosophy the Cava was only released in 1961, daring stunt at the time, and till late 20th Century they were at the helm of a small winery, highly regarded for the quality of its cavas. 

Today the destiny of their wines is shaped by the personality a new generation of Gramonas, made up by Jaume Gramona, an oenologist, hard working, highly skilled with the spirit of an explorer. But he is not alone in that the other brother Xavier, a visionary and thinker with a strong analytical mind helps to keep this house at the top. Both are committed to the excellence of Cava. 

The wines are pretty much made the same way as in Champagne, just here other grape varieties are used, the terroir is different, which creates its very distinctive identity. 

Grapes: Macabeu (provides finesse),  Parellada ( gives fragrance)  and Xarel-Lo (is the backbone and structure of the wine), in some they use also Chardonnay.

Ageing:  At Gramona their average ageing time is 6 years and double for the Gran Reserva.

Gramona Enoteca 12 Anys Brut nature
Image result for Gramona Enoteca 12 Anys Brut Nature Cava, Catalonia, Spain115 $128 £104 
Grapes: 75% Xarel -Lo 25% Macabeu. 

Alcohol: 12.5%

Ageing time: 12 years

Culture: Organic/ Biodynamic

100% artisanal process and less than 3 grams of sugar left per liter.

Visual: Beautiful golden colour with extreme fine pearls, closely knit to each other. A magnificent shine and a stunning persona.

Nose:  Because of its long aging time, it is wise to let it breath for about 15 minutes. Amazing yellow fruits from cool notes to mature notes. Lots of candied fruits, plums, apples and pears. Hints of patchouli and incense, with intervals of balsamic notes such as eucalyptus, rosemary, bay-leaf and fennel. An amazing complexity, with appearances of roasty notes, nuts, coffee and cacao.

Palate: Intense freshness on the attack, very creamy feeling with a beautiful lively spark, Ripe fruits burst all over the palate with a well balanced acidity and a longevity out of this world.

Of course Gramona has several different Cava's and not all that pricey but looking for a different direction and not to be disappointed this house might just be the key.

Roederer Estate California USA
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This house was founded in 1981, so in wine terms reasonably young, although that the house founding it isn't. The Roederer Estate is Louis Roederer from Reims, Champagne. The hot spot of Champagne houses, voted several years in a row. The Estate is nestled in the Mendocino Anderson Valley.  Jean Claude Rouzaud, fifth generation descendent of the founder, selected 580 acres (234 hectares) of land in the Anderson valley. The style is based on two elements: complete ownership of the vineyard and the addition of oak-aged reserve wines to each year's blend or cuvee, with 200 years of experience and knowledge, this house was hammering down a statement for many to follow.  The first Brut arrived in 1988 and the first cuvee L'ermitage in 1989, released in the fall of 1993. The valley was chosen for its cool climate and well drained soil which suits the style of the Roederer vision. The premium grapes are grown proximately close to the coastline, giving gentle cycles of warm days and cool nights, permitting the grape to grow slowly on the vine and develop full varietal characters. One of the very few houses that only uses estate grown grapes, even in France they do buy as mall amount of grapes in (about 10%), to complete their production. The Roederer estate uses only Pinot noir and Chardonnay to make their sparkling wines. 

Roederer Estate L'ermitage

Image result for l'ermitage 2009 roederer estate€44 $49 £39

Grape: 52% Chardonnay 48% Pinot Noir 4% reserve wine , vintage 2006 and 207

Alcohol: 12.2%

Ageing: 5.5 years

Culture: reasoning culture, preventing ahead the potential problems. 

Visual: Fine tiny bubbles row after row, projecting elegance and craft, a warm mature yellow ish colour and a shine igniting freshness on the eye. 

Nose: Very vivid and expressive on the nose, often remembering the bakery opening first thing in the morning. Almonds, yeasts, bread, mature ripe white fruits. A light woody aroma blends in the complexity. 

Palate: Energetic and vivid, with bubbles bursting the palate in excitement. Fresh, rich, power and gourmand is what you will get on your palate. With a beautiful balance between aromas and acidity. Holding itself very well together with a nice and classy ending. 

Conclusion: This Californian spark, has really come of age, although it is made by a French house, the French themselves do not like to hear how well and close this comes to a Champagne. 30 years settled in the Anderson valley and growing in confidence. A top alternative and price wise top quality for money, speaking here in the range of top cuvee's.  Here to you will find different ranges of the family at very affordable prices. 

Bella Vista,Franciacorta 

Here we arrive into the world of Italian sparkling wines and maybe beside prosecco not all of you have heard of Bellavista.
Bellavista, Ca'Del Bosco and Ferrari are three crown jewels in Italian sparkling wine(that is my mening). 

Bellavista was born in 1977 when Vittorio Moretti, with a vision of a true entrepreneur, decided to transform a small wine-making business on a few hectares of family property into a real company. The name derives from the panoramic position that offers from one single place a view of lake Iseo and the entire Po valley, which extents until the Alps. Today they own 190 hectares of land and working on 10 different municipalities in Franciacorta. They use 228 litres oak barrels to ferment their wines 1,500 pieces of them, producing about 1.3 million bottles. A, DOCG nomination that is Franciacorta, gives this winery together with the steep long history of the terroir and the savoir faire, the best made sparkling wine outside Champagne. Using same grape varieties and techniques it is arguably right up there with the top Champagnes on earth. For a house that started not so long ago, has truly impressed many wine critics and with the wide range they offer, there is a bottle for every pocket. With their catchy and very well pitched marketing, Bellavista suits as much the younger generation as well as the established one. 

Bellavista Vittorio Moretti 2008

Image result for bellavista cuvee v moretti extra brut 2008 €87 $98 £78

Grape: 58%  Chardonnay 42% Pinot noir

Alcohol: 12.5%

Ageing: 7 years 

Culture: Reasoning, observing and implementing when the land is in need and in harmony with nature. 

Visual: Pale yellow with an amazing shine and brilliance. A certain youth evokes the vision with a strong maturity as the back bone. Very inviting very classy.

Nose:  Full, complex and reminiscent of sweet white paste fruit. with a hint of boiled chestnut and laurel, jam and candied citrus fruit, elderflower and wild flower honey. Deep with intensity and power in a class structure. 

Palate: What appeared on the nose, confirms on the palate, excellent density and depth, covering the entire palate. A beautiful persistence and good volume, a sizzling crispness combined with complexity and freshness. A smooth and careful balance between aromas and acidity, a perfectly crafted sparkling wine. 

Conclusion: It is truly remarkable what this family produce and if they would have been settled in Champagne, they would have challenged the likes of the DP's, Selosse, Krug's, Salon's to name a few. A range for all to enjoy, a must for any wine cellar. 

I could have chosen at least 10 more but then this blog would become a book and that is then again not the idea. Soon more bubbles on blog so till the next time,

Please do drink responsibly.