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Casa Bianchi Brut Traditional Method NV (1x 75cl)

Awarded 90 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their October 2016 edition review of Argentina (see blue link below).

Casa Bianchi Brut Traditional Method NV - October 2016 Decanter review

The Bianchi family winery was founded in 1928 by Italian immigrant Valentin Bianchi It now covers 350 hectares of vineyard, situated 750m above sea level in San Rafael, about 240km south of Mendoza city. This is a cooler area than Mendoza's major vineyard areas of Luján de Cuyo and Agrelo because it is further south, which helps the flavours and perfumes develop more gradually, resulting in more aromatic wines. The estate is now run by the third generation of the family and has undergone a gradual transformation in the past few years, modernising both the winery and the vinification processes. 

The grapes for the Bianchi Brut come from the Doña Elsa and Las Paredes vineyards, which are situated in the San Rafael zone of Mendoza at 730 to 790 metres above sea level.

60% Chardonnay, 40% Pinot Noir.

The grapes for this sparking wine were vinified in the purpose-built, sparkling wine facility constructed by Bianchi outside San Rafael. The wine is made according to the 'Traditional Method' of sparkling wine production. The must is fermented between 16° and 18°C. After fermentation it is aged on its lees for a further 12 months before disgorgement and release.

Bianchi Brut is an excellent value sparkling wine with an intense biscuit and fruit character on the nose and good richness on the palate. Fresh and clean, it finishes dry.

£14.20

Casa Ferreirinha Callabriga Douro Tinto 2015 (1x75cl)

The 2014 Vintage was Awarded 91 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their November 2017 edition review of Top Value (<£25) Portuguese Reds (see blue links below).

Ferreirinha Callabriga 2014 - November 2017 Decanter review

This historic producer, founded in 1751, was purchased by Sogrape in 1987. Today, they have 520 hectares of vineyard in the Douro in all of its three sub-regions:  Lower Corgo, Upper Corgo and Douro Superior.  The winemaking is headed up by the talented Luis Sottomayor, who manages to restrain the Douro’s natural exuberance to produce wines that have a freshness, like Estevo and Papa Figos, allied to a wonderful depth and texture, as with Vinha Grande Red and Quinta da Leda.

The grapes were picked from different sections of the Quinta da Leda estate as well as some neighbouring vineyards. Quinta da Leda's 76 hectares of vines were planted in collaboration with the Universidade de Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro de Vila Real, where a study was carried out on clonal research to select the best varieties in the Douro. The findings decided the varieties to be chosen and planted on this estate, using only the best clones of each variety for grafting.

2014 was characterised by atypical weather. It was a particularly rainy year, with a cool summer, though there were heat waves recorded at the start of summer and the beginning of autumn. January was exceptionally hot but August was cooler than average. The harvested grapes had very well-balanced levels of sugar, acidity and phenolic compounds. The harvest took place at the start of September, and some rainfall was recorded in the middle of the month which made careful grape selection necessary.

The wine is made at the modern winery at Quinta da Leda. After full destemming, the grapes underwent gentle crushing before being transferred to stainless steel tanks and/or lagars (shallow, open troughs) where they underwent a long maceration to allow gentle extraction of colour, tannins and flavours from the skins. Once the fermentation was complete the wine was matured in used French and American oak (75% and 25% respectively) for between 12-18 months. The final blend is made with very careful selection after numerous tastings and analyses. The final wine is only slightly filtered before bottling.

Deep ruby in colour. The aroma is intense and very complex, with notes of black and red berries, pepper and pine needles along with attractive and well-integrated oak characters. On the palate, it has good body and acidity, high quality tannins, black fruit flavours and a hint of cocoa on the long and elegant finish.

£16.40

Casa Ferreirinha Papa Figos Douro Tinto 2017 (1x 75cl)

The 2015 vintage was awarded 90 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their November 2017 edition review of Top Value (<£25) Portuguese Reds (see blue link below).

Papa Figos 2015 - November 2017 Decanter review

Awarded 90 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their June 2017 edition review of Douro Table Wines (see blue link below).  

Casa Ferreirinha Papa Figos 2015 - June 2017 Decanter review

This historic producer, founded in 1751, was purchased by Sogrape in 1987.  Today they have 520 hectares of vineyard in the Douro in all of its three sub-regions:  Lower Corgo, Upper Corgo and Douro Superior.  The winemaking is headed up by the talented Luis Sottomayor, who manages to restrain the Douro’s natural exuberance to produce wines that have a freshness, like Estevo and Papa Figos, allied to a wonderful depth and texture, as with Vinha Grande Red and Quinta da Leda.

About 25% of the grapes for Papa Figos come from Casa Ferreirinha's Quinta da Leda estate, and the rest from producers owning north-facing vineyards at relatively high altitudes. The soil in the Duoro Valley is made up of schist - a slate-like metamorphic rock that is rich in nutrients and has useful water retention properties. 

The golden oriole (papa figos in Portuguese) is one of the rarest birds in the Douro region. An attractive, brightly-coloured migratory bird, its uniqueness and rarity make it the perfect inspiration for this lovely wine.

After gentle destemming and crushing, the grapes were transferred to stainless steel tanks. Intense maceration is achieved by pumping over. After maceration, the wine is run off the solids, the free-run wine is kept separate from the press wine. Malolactic fermentation was encouraged in controlled conditions. The blend was selected and remained in stainless tanks throughout the winter. 25% of the total of the blend spent eight months in used French oak barrels, and the final blend was bottled after 12 months.

Deep ruby in colour, it has an intense aroma with notes of strawberry, raspberry, plum and blueberry, along with cedar wood and a hint of chocolate from gentle oak maturation. Full-bodied, with well-balanced acidity, fine tannins, plenty of lively red fruit flavours and hints of cocoa. The finish is elegant and harmonious.

£10.90

Casa Ferreirinha Planalto Douro Branco 2017 (1x 75cl)

The earlier 2015 vintage was awarded 87 points and Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their June 2017 edition review of Douro Table Wines (see blue link below).  It is subjective, of course, but we judge the 2017 to be of at least a very similar quality.

Casa Ferreirinha, Planalto Branco 2015 - June 2017 Decanter review

This producer, founded in 1952, is named after the legendary Porto matriarch Dona Antónia Ferreira. Affectionately nicknamed 'Ferreirinha' by her countrymen, the house pays homage to her memory and was the first house in the region dedicated to making light wines. It has 520 hectares of vineyard in the Douro in all of its three sub-regions: Lower Corgo, Upper Corgo and Douro Superior. The winemaking is headed up by Luis Sottomayor, who restrains the Douro’s natural exuberance to produce wines that have a freshness, like Esteva and Papa Figos, allied to a lovely depth and texture, as with Vinha Grande Tinto and Quinta da Leda.

This white blend comes from relatively high-altitude vineyards above the river Douro. The grapes were harvested by hand in the highlands and plateaus of the region and were selected for their balance between phenolic maturity and excellent freshness. The soil in the Douro Valley is schistous; a slate-like metamorphic rock that is rich in nutrients and has useful water retention properties.

2017 was a very warm and dry year for the Douro with almost every month from December 2016 to August 2017 recording below average rainfall. Average temperatures were much higher than normal, especially in the crucial spring months of March, April, and May. This meant that the vine’s growing cycle was much more advanced than usual, often being one or two weeks ahead of the expected schedule. The advanced maturation of the vines and grapes coupled with heatwaves in June and July meant that the 2017 harvest was destined to be one of the earliest ever recorded. Harvest began in the last week of August and finished in most areas by the end of September, a time when most harvests usually begin.

On arrival at the winery of Casa Ferreirinha in Vila Real, the grapes were destemmed and softly crushed. They were pressed and the must clarified by static decanting at low temperatures. This was followed by a long alcoholic fermentation at controlled temperatures between 16ºC-18ºC. After fermentation, around 20% of the wine was aged in used casks for three months, the remainder held in stainless steel tanks.

This wine is made using Viosinho 25%, Malvasia 20%, Fina Arinto/Pedernã 15%, Códega 15%, Gouveio (Verdelho) 15%, Moscatel 5%, Rabigato 5%.

This wine is lemon yellow in colour with golden lights. On the nose, intense floral notes stand out with hints of tropical fruit and earthy, slightly shrubby tones. On the palate, the wine is full-bodied with a lively and well-integrated acidity, alongside floral notes and touches of white peaches. The finish is long and fragrant.

£9.20

Casa Ferreirinha Vinha Grande Douro Branco 2016 (1x75cl)

The 2015 vintage was awarded 88 points and Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their June 2017 edition review of Duoro Table Wines (see blue link below).

Casa Ferreirinha Vinha Grande Douro Branco 2015 - June 2017 Decanter review

This producer, founded in 1952, is named after the legendary Porto matriarch Dona Antónia Ferreira. Affectionately nicknamed 'Ferreirinha' by her countrymen, the house pays homage to her memory and was the first house in the region dedicated to making light wines. Purchased by Sogrape in 1987, it has 520 hectares of vineyard in the Douro in all of its three sub-regions: Lower Corgo, Upper Corgo and Douro Superior. The winemaking is headed up by Luís Sottomayor, who restrains the Douro’s natural exuberance to produce wines that have a freshness, like Esteva and Papa Figos, allied to a lovely depth and texture, as with Vinha Grande Tinto and Quinta da Leda.

The selected grape varieties were sourced from the Quinta do Sairrão estate located at a high altitude in the Cima Corgo region. The mountainous vineyards here have schistous soils with vines planted either in vertical rows or on traditional "patamares" (terraces). The selected plots are ideal for optimal maturation thanks to the hot days and cool evenings bringing out the fresh fruit character of the grapes.

The 2016 season experienced a dry and mild winter. Strong and persistent rainfall from the end of winter continued into spring, accompanied by periods of low temperatures. These factors affected flowering in lower-level zones, with high rainfall reducing the quantity of grapes produced. Summer was mild, with some spikes in temperature, and nights were generally cool. These conditions contributed to a long and balanced maturation, giving high quality fruit.

The grapes were hand-picked and selected in the vineyard and on arrival at the estate's own winery. They were then destemmed and gently crushed in a pneumatic press. Vinification took place with skin maceration in order to extract the right aromatic qualities. The must was gently pressed and transferred to stainless steel tanks and French oak barrels at controlled temperatures of 14ºC-18ºC. The wine was subject to bâtonnage and following completion of fermentation, was matured for eight months.

This wine was made using Viosinho 45%, Arinto/Pedernã 30%, Gouveio (Verdelho) 10%, Rabigato 10%, Códega 5%.

This wine is golden in colour with an intense aroma of white peaches and tropical fruit. Floral notes, subtle minerality and well-integrated oak. On the palate, this wine is full-bodied with a lively acidity and good length on the finish.

£12.30

Castello Montauto Vernaccia di San Gimignano, Cecchi 2017 (1x75cl)

The 2016 vintage was Awarded 87 points and Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their May 2018 edition review of Vernaccia di San Gimignano (see blue link below).

Castello Montauto Vernaccia Di San Gimignano, Cecchi 2016 - May 2018 Decanter review

Cecchi's success all began back in 1893, when company founder Luigi Cecchi became a professional wine taster or ''palatista'' – a surprisingly widespread profession in Europe at the time, and one which paved the way for the bottling of the first wines under the family name. The international success of the Cecchi wines was secured under another Luigi – the founder’s grandson – and now the fourth generation, in the shape of brothers Andrea and Cesare Cecchi, are at the helm.

The grapes were vinified off their skins, undergoing a cold, temperature controlled, pre-fermentative maceration. The 15 day fermentation took place in stainless steel tanks at a cool 15°C. After fermentation, the wine was aged for a period of at least 3 months in the bottle.

This wine is an aromatically rich wine, with fine, floral scents and hints of bitter almond. Exquisitely balanced by crisp, citrus freshness and a beguiling perfume.

£13.00

Castello Vicchiomaggio, Agostino Petri Chianti Classico Riserva 2014 (1x75cl)

The historical origins of Castello Vicchiomaggio can be traced back to the 5th century. The present owners, the Matta family, acquired the property in 1964 and restored it back to its former splendour. The estate, with 150 hectares, is one of the largest in the area, and of these, 32 hectares are dedicated to the vine. Castello Vicchiomaggio produces several styles of wine, from the traditional to the innovative. In order to achieve this, the estate has been carefully classified according to its soil type and exposure. All production and winemaking is supervised by John Matta. The hallmark of John's wines is elegance, perfumed, stylish and all have beautiful balance. These wines truly show off the Sangiovese grape at its best. Vicchiomaggio is consistently classified amongst Italy's top estates and John Matta has been named IWSC Italian Winemaker of the Year four times in the last 14 years.

The grapes are sourced from the Agostino Petri vineyard. The vines are trained on the cordon system and are grown in a marl and clay soil.

Fermentation took place in temperature controlled tanks with medium length maceration on skins. Matured in French oak barriques for six months and then in large oak barrels of 25 to 50hl, for a further nine months.

A perfumed and elegant wine with a great structure and bouquet reminiscent of chocolate and walnuts. Opulent, with a wonderful complexity and a silky, lingering finish.

Serve at room temperature to accompany roast or grilled meats, game and Tuscan bean stew.

This wine is suitable for vegetarians and vegans.

£19.20

Castello Vicchiomaggio, La Prima, Chianti Classico Gran Selezione 2015 (1x75cl)

The 2013 vintage was awarded 91 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their May 2018 edition review of the top tiers of Chianti Classico (see blue link below).

Castello Vicchiomaggio La Prima Chianti Classico Gran Selezione 2013 - May 2018 Decanter review

The historical origins of Castello Vicchiomaggio can be traced back to the 5th century. The present owners, the Matta family, acquired the property in 1964 and restored it back to its former splendour. The estate, with 150 hectares, is one of the largest in the area, and of these, 32 hectares are dedicated to the vine. Castello Vicchiomaggio produces several styles of wine, from the traditional to the innovative. In order to achieve this, the estate has been carefully classified according to its soil type and exposure. All production and winemaking is supervised by John Matta. The hallmark of John's wines is elegance, perfumed, stylish and all have beautiful balance. These wines truly show off the Sangiovese grape at its best. Vicchiomaggio is consistently classified amongst Italy's top estates and John Matta has been named IWSC Italian Winemaker of the Year four times in the last 14 years.

The Chianti Classico region experienced a balanced climate during the 2015 vintage. Warm weather in spring allowed the buds to flower evenly. This was followed by fantastic weather conditions during the growing season, warm, sunny days with low rainfall were balanced by cooler nights, enabling the grapes to reach excellent maturity levels in a healthy condition and with concentrated flavours. 2015 is considered an excellent vintage.

The sustainably cultivated vines are grown in La Prima vineyard where the soils are marl and clay. Gran Selezione is a DOCG Chianti category and is produced exclusively with grapes from single vineyards or selected from the estate's best-suited vineyards. In addition to having stricter technical and organoleptic characteristics, Gran Selezione wines can only be released to the market 30 months after the grape harvest, having spent at least three months in bottle. These features place this at the summit of the Chianti Classico quality pyramid.

Fermentation took place in temperature controlled tanks, with regular pump-overs of the cap to ensure the desired levels of aeration. The wine was matured in French oak barriques for a period of 20 months, followed by one year maturation in the bottle.

This wine is made using Sangiovese 90%, Merlot 10%.

A complex bouquet showing aromas of red and black berried fruit, with hints of lemon, tobacco leaves and a touch of toasted oak. Full, velvety and complex flavours shine through on the sublimely smooth palate leading to a fresh and elegant finish. A superb pairing with roast beef, a rack of lamb, steak or mushroom ravioli.

£36.05

Catena Appellation (San Carlos) Cabernet Franc 2016 (1x75cl)

The 2015 vintage was awarded 90 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their October 2018 edition panel tasting of South American Cabernet Franc  (see blue link below).

Catena Appellation (San Carlos) Cabernet Franc 2015 - Oct 2018 Decanter review

See/click the link below for data on this wine from the winemakers themselves.

Catena Appellation Cabernet Franc 2015 - fiche technique

This wine is a purple colour with red ruby tones. The nose offers elegant aromas of spices, and fresh herbs as thyme and rosemary, red berries, cassis and raspberries, with layers of cedar. The mouthfeel is full and rich with cassis, raspberries flavours and notes of black pepper and oregano. The finish is bright and fresh with finely grained tannins.

£14.50

Caves de l Ormarine Les Prades Picpoul de Pinet 2017 (1x75cl)

Awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter in their April 2019 Panel Tasting on the Picpoul de Pinet (see blue link below).

Caves de l'Ormarine Les Prades Picpoul de Pinet 2017 - April 2019 Decanter review

The grapes used for this wine come from one south-facing vineyard 10-30 metres above sea level in the Languedoc Roussillon region of Southern France. The 30 year old vines are planted on a chalky clay plateaux, rich in Cretaceous limestone and loaded with quartz gravel chippings. Grapes are harvested in September at night to retain freshness and acidity.

Grapes are carefully sorted in both the vineyard and winery, with analysis of ripeness being carried out before picking. At the winery, they are destemmed and crushed, with skin contact for 3-4 hours to draw out the aromatics. After pressing, fermentation lasts 10-15 days at 16°C in cement tanks. The wine remains on its lees for 1 month with twice weekly battonage. Malolactic fermentation is prevented so that the wine can retain its crisp acidity and fresh primary fruit characters. The wine is fined, filtered and bottled and released whilst young and fresh.

The Les Prades Picpoul de Pinet has a clear, brilliant yellow colour with green tints. It has fine fresh, fruity and floral aromas. The aromatic persistance is good with overtones of citrus fruit. The flavours are lively, fresh with lemon and floral touches followed by a light refreshing grapefruit finish. Serve with fresh seafood, grilled fish, salads, or drink on its own as an aperitif.

£10.85

Chambers Rosewood Rutherglen Muscat NV (1x 37.5cl)

Awarded 93 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their August 2018 edition's "Weekday Wines (25 under £25)" (see blue link below)...

Chambers Rosewood Rutherglen Muscat NV - August 2018 Decanter review

The 6th generation of the Chambers family to make wine in the Rosewood winery, Stephen, took over the winemaking in 2001. This venerable winery, started in 1858 by William Chambers, is one of the most fabled in Rutherglen. This charming, northeastern Victorian town, the sort of place that time forgot, still speaks of the gold rush that led to the town's foundation, and the development of the wine industry, in the 1850s. 

The vineyards are located on the fringes of the Rutherglen Township, slightly to the North West, where Chambers produce drier style Muscats which express rose petal characters. The vines are hand pruned to a rod and spur system which allows each vine to be viewed on an individual basis. The trellising system is a single wire with a sprawling canopy.

Harvest of the grapes for this wine commences once the fruit reaches a ripeness of 16 Baumé. At this stage the grapes will have some variation throughout the bunches, with some being plump, while others showing signs of grape shrivel. Once a parcel of grape is harvested, it is destemmed and the must placed into a closed stainless steel fermentation tank. The amount of fermentation is dependent upon the final baumé level of the parcel, and it occurs around 24 hours after harvest and a soak on skins. Once fermentation has commenced and the sugar level has fallen to between 14 and 15 baumé the grapes are pressed with the fermenting juice and fortified with neutral grape wine spirit (95.8 to 96.2%). The resultant wine is then settled in stainless steel tanks and then racked into old oak casks, which range in size between 220 to 5500 litres. The wines are kept as single vintage and vineyard parcels until blending.

The Rutherglen Muscat is typically tawny red in colour with aromas of rose petals, raisins and dried fruit. These characters carry through to the palate, balanced with fresh acidity. The wine is unctuous and rich yet zesty and balanced.

£12.10

Champagne Marc Hebrart, Selection Brut 1er Cru (Vieilles Vignes) NV (1x75cl)

Awarded 90 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their December 2018 edition review of Value Champagne (see blue link below).

Champagne Marc Hebrart, Selection Brut 1er Cru (Vieilles Vignes) NV - December 2018 Decanter review

Marc Hébrart and his wife started making Champagne in 1963, adding to the land little by little due to the high price of land in Champagne. In 1983, their son Jean-Paul started his own small production. In 1997, the parents and sons of Champagne Hebrart merged together, making Jean-Paul the director of the company. Their land now covers 15.5 hectares, over 68 plots spread across the two banks of the river Marne. On the right bank (Côtes des Blancs), Hébrart Grand Cru terroirs of Avize, Oiry and Chouilly are producing fine, ripe and mineral Chardonnays. On the left bank (Vallée de la Marne and Montagne de Reims), Aÿ, Mareuil-sur-Aÿ, Bisseuil and Avenay-Val-d'Or are Premier Cru villages producing juicy and structured Pinot Noirs. This diversity and owned supply allows Jean-Paul to create very precise cuvées, controlling the grape quality from growing to winemaking. In the vineyard, natural methods are used rather than insecticides. In 2014 Hébrart was quoted as being among the 100 Best Wine Producers in the World by Wine & Spirits Magazine.

The Cuvée Selection is a selection that orignates from the best vineyards belonging to Hébrart and which have benefitted from age. The Chardonnay grapes come from the Grand Cru terroirs of Avize, Oiry and Chouilly, on the right bank, or Côtes des Blancs. These Hébrart plots produce fine, ripe and mineral juice. The Pinot Noir part of this blend comes from the left bank, in the Vallée de la Marne above Mareuil-sur-Ay. Here the old vines grow on steep south facing slopes and the resulting grapes are concentrated and rich, due to the old vines and the clay layers of the soil. Mareuil-sur-Ay is a Premier Cru village (scored 99% in the echelle des crus) and is considered to be one of the very finest of Champagne's Premier Cru villages. Marc Hébrart practices sustainable viticulture. He keeps chemical treatments to a strict minimum on the vines, which have an average age of 36 years.

Pinot Noir 70%, Chardonnay 30%.

Each parcel is gently pressed and vinified separately to preserve their individual characteristics. This wine is made from the coeur de cuvée, the heart of the freerun juice. Fermentation takes place in small tanks. The wine undergoes malolactic fermentation. Dégorgement is carried out approximately six months prior to release. Lees ageing is for a minimum of three years, ie that seen by many vintage Champagnes.

An elegant, precise and mineral Champagne; hints of pear and plum are underpinned by a salty backbone and a touch of jasmine on the finish.

£31.10

Chante Cigale Chateauneuf du Pape Blanc 2017 (1x75cl)

The 2016 vintage was awarded 90 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their August 2017 edition review of Southern Rhone Whites (see blue link below)

Chante Cigale CdP 2016 - Aug 2017 Decanter review

Domaine Chante Cigale is situated on the left bank of the Rhône, between Orange and Sorgues, on a variety of soils which contain a high proportion of ‘galets.’ These are the large stones of Châteauneuf-du-Pape which heat up during the day and release their heat at night, allowing the grapes to achieve maximum ripeness. The white is fresh and attractive and an interesting alternative to the ubiquitous Chardonnay. Since taking over the running of the estate from his father over ten years ago, Alexandre Favier has transformed the quality of the wines, which now rank amongst the very best of the appellation.

The grapes for this wine are harvested manually and go through a selective sorting process to ensure that only the best quality grapes are used in the winemaking process.  The wine is fermented in both stainless steel (70%) and wood (30%).  It then spends 6 months on its fine lees before being bottled.

This wine is fragrant, with aromas that are reminiscent of almond and peach blossom. The palate is wonderfully smooth with a silky textured balance of dried apricot fruit and fresh, apply acidity.

This wine is a particularly good match for fish and also works well with smoked ham dishes.  It also compliments slightly spicy dishes as well as traditional Mediterranean cuisine.

£27.15

Charles Heidsieck Blanc de Blancs NV (1x75cl)

Awarded 94 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their September 2018 edition producer profile of Charles Heidsieck (see blue link below)...

Charles Heidsieck Blanc De Blancs NV - Sept 2018 Decanter review

Charles Heidsieck is one of the most admired Champagne houses thanks to the unrivalled and consistently high quality of its wines. Founded in 1851 by the man who would become known as ‘Champagne Charlie’, this family-owned house is the smallest of the Grandes Marques. Their size, and commitment to excellence, has been underpinned by a winemaking team that between them have been named 'Sparkling Winemaker of the Year' at the International Wine Challenge 15 times.

Charles Heidsieck Blanc de Blancs combines several of the best Chardonnay crus from three Champagne sub regions. It is made from a majority of crus from the Côte des Blancs (Oger, Vertus), completed by the Montagne de Reims (Villers-Marmery, Trépail, Vaudemange) and the very special cru of Montgueux in the northern part of the Aube, near Troyes.

After the first fermentation, the wines were racked to separate the lees and then underwent malolactic fermentation to soften the natural acidity and to enrich their texture. This 100% Chardonnay blend comprises 25% reserve wines with an average age of five years. All the reserve wines were aged in stainless steel vats on their fine lees. In order to achieve depth and complexity required by the house style, the Blanc de Blancs was aged for four years in Charles Heidsieck’s chalk cellars (The Crayeres), much longer than the legal requirement of 15 months.

Charles Heidsieck Blanc de Blancs is a pale, crystalline gold colour. The nose is characterised by aromas of mature Chardonnay; white peach, candied citrus with notes of lime, honeysuckle and fresh hazelnuts giving way to subtle hints of tangerine and lemon. On the palate, the Blanc de Blancs bears all the hallmarks of a Charles Heidsieck Champagne: boldness, generosity and elegance. Embracing yet light, it displays appealing mineral, slightly salty, iodine notes, and has a silky, creamy texture – unexpected from a Chardonnay – that leaves a lasting impression.

£58.75

Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve half bottle (1x37.5cl)

Awarded 93 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their September 2018 edition producer profile of Charles Heidsieck (see blue link below)...

Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve - Sept 2018 Decanter review

Charles Heidsieck is one of the most admired Champagne houses thanks to the unrivalled and consistently high quality of its wines. The current range is one of the most awarded collections of wines in the world. The intricacies of the champagnes' complex make-up have been perfected over the years by one of the most celebrated winemaking teams in Champagne - between three winemakers they have been awarded 'Sparkling Winemaker of the Year' at the International Wine Challenge fifteen times. This winemaking legacy, paired with the house's flamboyant history since its foundation in 1851 by the man who would become known as 'Champagne Charlie', makes it a unique offering from Champagne: a house with great, hand-crafted wines, heritage and proven quality.

Charles Heidsieck have built exceptional relationships with the most experienced growers across the Champagne region, and can draw on a rich palette of crus. Precise selection of grapes takes place from 60 specific sites. Vineyards which are integral to producing grapes which build the house style are Oger for Chardonnay for its texture, floral notes and ageing ability, Ambonnay for Pinot Noir for its power, vinosity and fruit, and Verneuil for Pinot Meunier for its acidity, body and aromatics.

After the first fermentation, the wine is racked to separate the lees and then undergoes malolactic fermentation to soften the natural acidity. After blending, using 40% reserve wines which have an average age of 10 years, the cuvée is bottled and selected yeast added to begin the second fermentation. The bottles are placed in the cellars at a temperature of 10°C. In order to achieve the depth and complexity required by the house style, Charles Heidsieck age their Non-Vintage champagne for 5 years before disgorging, much longer than the legal requirement of 15 months.

The Brut Réserve NV is a radiant pale gold colour with fine, persistent bubbles. The nose is characterised by complex pastry aromas, with an opulent combination of ripe apricot, mango and greengages, dried fruits, pistachio and almond. The palate begins with a silky-smooth sensation, developing into ripe fleshy apricot, melon and enticing plum pastry notes and delicate spice. There is perfect balance of freshness and generosity.

£23.95
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