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Other sparkling (New World)

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Akarua Brut NV (1x 75cl)

Awarded 91 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their March 2019 edition Weekday Wines feature (see blue link below).

Akarua Brut NV - March 2019 Decanter review

The Skeggs family were among the first people to buy and plant vineyard land in Central Otago in the mid 1990s, so were lucky enough to acquire a superb north-facing site in Bannockburn. Planted in 1996, this 50-hectare site has since provided the backbone of the Akarua wines. Due to the short growing season in Central Otago, site selection is one of the key elements in making a great wine, and Akarua have a site that is among the very best. Akarua was re-introduced after many years to Liberty Wines by Tony Jordan, who makes their sparkling wines. Tony built Domaine Chandon in Australia, and is one of the world's leading experts in sparkling wine production. He has been convinced of the potential for Central Otago to make top quality fizz for quite a while, and is now doing so with Akarua.

All the grapes are harvested from Akarua's 50 hectare estate on Cairnmuir Road, Bannockburn which lies at 270 metres above sea level. The soils are fine and sandy with loam topsoil overlaying schist. Vine age is 12 years.

67% Chardonnay, 33% Pinot Noir.

Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from several blocks on the vineyard were hand harvested and whole bunch pressed. All batches were kept separate. Juices were settled and racked to yeast fermentation in old oak barriques and stainless steel tanks. Once malolactic fermentation was complete, the base wines, together with up to 15% of reserve wines were blended to produce the Akarua Brut NV. The blend was transferred to bottle with yeast and a precise amount of sugar to undergo the secondary sparkling fermentation. The wine was then aged for a minimum of 18 months on yeast before riddling, disgorging and labelling.

Akarua Brut NV is a fresh aperitif style with floral perfumes and savoury bread dough aromas. With lovely balance and complexity, the palate is clean, has a creamy middle and a long, crisp finish.

£22.45

Bellavista Franciacorta Saten Brut 2014 (1x75cl)

This estate makes Italy's finest sparkling wines from its 200 hectares of vineyard situated in the western part of the Franciacorta zone in a natural amphitheatre. The glacial soil is full of stones, and provides the ideal environment for the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes used in the production of their Franciacorta. Bellavista, meaning 'beautiful view' in Italian, was founded by Vittorio Moretti in the early 1970s, with the first vintage produced in 1979. In 1981, he met a young winemaker, Mattia Vezzola and this partnership transformed Bellavista into Italy's leading producer of quality sparkling wine.

Bellavista owns 200 hectares of vines across 10 communes within the Franciacorta DOCG. Their vineyards enjoy some of the best sites in the area with excellent exposure and soil types and produce fruit with character and great expressive potential. For the Satèn, fruit is taken from the older, south facing vineyards on the hillsides of the commune of Erbusco.

Made in the traditional method, 40% of the wines that make up the blend are fermented and matured for at least seven months in small oak barrels. The remainder of the blend is fermented in stainless steel vats. Satèn is released to the market four years after vintage.

100% Chardonnay, being a Satèn.

Straw yellow with a sage hue this wine has fine, persistent and vibrant pearlescent bubbles. The complex bouquet has intense aromas of flowers with peach, citrus, honey and hazelnut notes. On the palate, the wine is elegant, refined and soft, with a freshness and balance that emphasise the excellent quality of the fruit. Satèn will age well for at least five years after the vintage.

£39.40

Cloudy Bay Pelorus NV (1x 75cl)

Established in 1985, Cloudy Bay was one of the first five wine makers to venture into Marlborough. At the time, it was almost an unimaginable place to set-up a vineyard but Cloudy Bay’s founder, David Hohnen, was convinced of its potential to produce great wine and invested in the best land of the region. The winery was named after Cloudy Bay, a body of water explorer Captain James Cook found during his voyage to New Zealand in 1770. His discovery coincided with flooding in the region, which washed large amounts of sediment into the sea. Noticing the water’s opaque appearance, Cook christened the area Cloudy Bay. 

Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes used in the production of Pelorus are sourced from a combination of vineyards located within the Wairau Valley. They have free-draining gravel based soils with shallow sandy-loam horizons.

All Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes are pressed without crushing. Juice is given a short period of settling before racking and inoculation with a pure strain of Montrachet yeast. The base wines are fermented and aged in a mixture of stainless steel tanks, large oak vats and small French oak barrels. Following a spontaneous malolactic fermentation the wines are left to age on lees for a further eight months prior to blending each November. This chardonnay predominant blend is put on tirage using prise de mousse yeast the following February and subsequently allowed to attain a minimum of two years lees ageing in the bottle before disgorgement.

Jim White, Technical Director at Cloudy Bay says the following of Pelorus: "We are not after big, bright, loud flavours; what we are after is pastel colour flavours; apple skin, flowers, light citrus. Elegance meets complexity in a melange of crispness and toasted brioche."

Pelorus is a  fresh, aperitif style sparkling wine with apple crisp flavours, underpinned by nutty yeast complexity derived from two years bottle maturation on lees. This is a sparkling wine that manages to subtly combine fresh and fruity Chardonnay notes with rich and savoury hints of Pinot Noir.

£22.80

Graham Beck Brut Rose NV (1x75cl)

The foundations for the success of the Graham Beck brand were laid in 1983 when the late Graham Beck purchased Madeba, a farm located outside the Western Cape town of Robertson. It was his ardent ambition to establish a world-class winery in this area that saw the erection of a state-of-the-art cellar. The cornerstones of the Beck family ethos were entrenched from the very start – contributing to the passion and dedication that continues to drive the entire team today. From grape to glass the entire process of producing a Graham Beck Méthode Cap Classique (MCC) relies on meticulous attention to detail, dedication to authenticity, precision timing and plenty of patience. At Graham Beck the team is passionate about the pursuit of the perfect bubble – a golden thread of excellence runs throughout the entire process and portfolio. 

To see the winemaker's excellent notes on this wine, please click on the blue link below.
 

 Graham Beck Brut Rose NV - fiche technique

£15.70

House of Arras, Grand Vintage Brut, Tasmania 2008 (1x 75cl)

Awarded a Platinum medal and 97 points at the 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details).

For other 2019 DWWA winners, click here.

Awarded 97 points and Outstanding status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their August 2019 edition article on Australian (and especially Tasmanian) Fizz (see blue link below).

House Of Arras, Grand Vintage Brut, Tasmania 2008 - August 2019 Decanter review

Aditionally, the 2007 vintage was awarded 93 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their January 2019 edition article: The Most Exciting Wines of 2018 (see blue link below)....

House of Arras, Grand Vintage Brut, Tasmania 2007 - January 2019 Decanter review

... and 95 points and Outstanding status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their November 2017 edition feature on Tasmania (see blue link below).

Arras Grand Vintage 2007 - November 2017 Decanter review

Ed Carr, the man behind Arras, has been making sparkling wines in Australia since 1986 and for the Hardy's group since 1994. He was one of the first winemakers to see the potential Tasmanian fruit had for producing world class sparkling wine and has been producing Arras solely with Tasmanian fruit since the 1998 vintage. Much to the horror of the accountants, however, he has insisted on ageing the wines on lees for over six years prior to release, something that increases both their cost and complexity.

For more than a decade, the House of Arras team has been identifying and developing the ideal vineyard sites for world class sparkling wine, which led them to call the ancient soils and cold climate of Tasmania home. Its climate is significantly cooler than the mainland, with long summer daylight and maritime influences, which are ideal conditions for long, slow and consistent fruit development. The House of Arras sources fruit from many outstanding vineyards in southern Tasmania and the south-east coast. Each location bestows its own nuances of character on Chardonnay and Pinot Noir fruit.

Fruit for this wine was hand-picked from cold climate Tasmanian vineyards prior to gentle whole bunch pressing, from which only free run juice was collected. Primary fermentation was undertaken on light lees, followed by 100% malolactic fermentation. Once clarified, the wines were judiciously blended to style, bottled as tirage and matured in cool, dark storage for a minimum of eight years before disgorgement.

The appearance is crystal clear with an ultrafine and persistent bead, medium straw with a bright yellow gold lustre. The bouquet expresses enticing aromas of grapefruit, jasmine flowers, sea brine and lychee. The palate has great elegance and poise with complex nuances of exotic spice, truffle, meringue and naural yogurt.

£36.05

Jansz Premium Cuvee NV (1x 75cl)

Awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their August 2019 edition article, Weekday Wines (see blue link below).

Jansz Premium Cuvee NV - August 2019 Decanter review

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

Jansz Premium Cuvee NV - January 2018 Decanter review

In 1986, esteemed Champagne house - Louis Roederer partnered with the owners of Heemskerk Wines to produce Tasmania’s first premium vintage sparkling wine. They saw the similarities between the climate here and the famous wine region of their homeland. In 1997, the Hill-Smith family purchased the vineyard and began the journey that has seen Jansz Tasmania become the most highly regarded sparkling wine house in Australia.

The Jansz Tasmania vineyard sits to the northeast of the island state within the Pipers River region of the Tamar Valley. This cool little corner is colloquially known as ‘Sparkling Tasmania’. Temperatures here are moderated by close proximity to Bass Strait. The ocean breezes keep the temperature up during winter – minimising risk of frost, and down in summer – allowing our grapes to ripen slowly and develop intense, delicate and refined flavours. Resting on a bed of pure, red, free-draining basalt soils, the Jansz vineyard truly is the perfect site to grow grapes for world-class sparkling wines.  At Jansz, the focus is on the vineyard.They believe the vineyard is where the wine is born. Every day during the growing  season, the winemaker walks the vines and tastes the grapes to gain an intimate understanding of each of the twenty-three one-hectare blocks. This experience informs every decision Jansz make from picking to fermenting. That focus on the vineyard has been instrumental in establishing Jansz as Australia’s sparkling wine specialist.

Classical sparkling winemaking techniques are used here: grapes handpicked, gentle whole-bunch pressed, cool fermentation, 100% MLF, complex assemblage and extended ageing on lees after bottle fermentation all combine to produce a stylish and complex wine. In particular, to maximize blending options and complexity in the final wine, batches are kept separate during winemaking. Secondary fermentation takes place in the bottle and is aged on yeast lees for as long as possible. The perfect balance for the Premium Cuvée is reached at just over two years.

60% Chardonnay, 40% Pinot Noir.

Honeysuckle and citrus scents are immediately apparent with slight aromas of nougat, roasted nuts and a hint of strawberry from the Pinot Noir. A well-balanced palate of delicate fruits and creaminess fills the mouth with a lingering finish of citrus and nougat.

£19.10

Kaiken Método Tradicional Brut NV (1x 75cl)

Kaikenes are wild geese, native to Patagonia, that fly across the Andes between Chile and Argentina. Montes, the Chilean winery, crossed the Andes in the same way to set up in Mendoza. Their vineyards are situated in the heart of Mendoza and further to the south in Valle de Uco, where many of the premium producers are now sourcing their fruit. The focus is primarily on Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon, a variety that has been somewhat forgotten as Malbec has surfed one wave of success after another in the past decade. Kaiken's own vineyards supply 70% of their production requirements and 30% is from vineyards that they control.

The Pinot Noir (70% of the assemblage here) and Chardonnay (30%) grapes are sourced from a vineyard situated at 1400 metres above sea level in the Gualtallary sub-region of the renowned Uco Valley. This is one of the highest zones in Mendoza and is famed for producing fresh yet balanced fruit, perfect for sparkling wine production.

The grapes were hand-picked into 10 kilogram boxes and only the healthiest grapes were hand-selected. The grapes were whole-bunch pressed and the juice was then cold settled for 48 hours. Fermentation took place at a temperature of 10ºC to produce a high quality base wine. For the second fermentation, the wine was bottle-fermented for 30 days and left on the lees for a full two years to enhance its structure and complexity before disgorgement.

This wine is very bright in appearance, with a subtle golden hue and small, elegant bubbles in the glass. The nose offers aromas of green apple and pear alongside buttery notes, toast and a hint of almond. Refreshing with remarkable balance and vibrant acidity, it has a persistent finish. <Residual sugar is 9g/litre, so at the sweeter end of Brut>.

At this price, this represents fantastic value among traditional method sparkling wines.

£14.45

Ken Forrester Sparklehorse Cap Classique 2016 (1x75cl)

Click here for a short video on - and tasting note for - the Sparklehorse from Ken Forrester himself (in classic Ken fashion).

Without the efforts of men like Ken Forrester, South African Chenin Blanc might be scarcely more than a footnote to the country’s recent winemaking history – a workhorse (see below) grape responsible for vast amounts of forgettably bland white wine. But this Zambia-born former restaurateur saw the potential of this grape, placing it firmly at the centre of his resurrection of the historic Scholtzenhof farm on the slopes of Stellenbosch’s Helderberg mountain in the early 1990s. More than twenty years on, Ken is known as ‘Mr Chenin’. 

Sparklehorse is made using the Cap Classique method (MCC appears on labels, Méthode Cap Classique), which is the South African term for the traditional method/méthode traditionelle of in-bottle second fermentation used to create many of the world's classic sparkling wines (including Champagne).

The grapes for Sparklehorse - 100% Chenin Blanc - come from a carefully selected cool vineyard site which was first planted in 1975. The vineyard faces south-south-west and has sandy soil. These factors all allow the grapes to mature whilst continuing to maintain a high level of refreshing acidity which gives the wine its character.

This wine is aged for 14 months on its yeast lees to allow it to develop a creaminess and delicate mousse while still maintaining bright, fresh apple, pear and quince aromas. Intense green apples dominate the nose and first sip is like biting into a crisp, bright, green cooking apple. Fresh mousse and soft finish make it a delicious wine. Served as an aperitif or with food or simply with friends. As they say at the Forrester vineyards, "ideal with seafood, salmon, sushi, salads and sunsets.”

"And why Sparklehorse?", we asked.

Ken replied, “I was always captivated by the intricacies of sparkling wine. One specific vineyard on the property offered the right conditions for full-flavoured, early harvest wines and so with this fruit I decided to embark on a special project. Since deriving from the workhorse variety, I wanted to have some fun and cheer the whole package up and the name "sparklehorse" had instant appeal, with the idea of a colourful fairground pony, a sparkling carousel horse - every child’s first pony! And so the concept was presented- a dreamy, colourful, sparkling horse, straight off a carousel. The label captures the spirit and fun of the fair, the horse is truly the embodiment of fun and all that sparkling wine represents!"

£18.40

Miolo Brut Millesime 2012 (1x75cl)

Complex and pleasant, with a range of fruit and ageing bouquets. A balanced acidity and fine body, with a delicious aftertaste.

£20.65

Peter Lehmann Masters `Black Queen` Sparkling Shiraz 2013 (1x75cl)

Peter Lehmann, with 33 vintages already under his belt, started his own winery in 1979, partly as a means of helping with the glut of grapes then afflicting the Barossa. "I'll take your grapes and turn them into wine," he told the desperate growers, many of them conservative farmers of Silesian descent who regarded their old vines as part of their patrimony. "But I'll only be able to pay you when I sell the wine." They gratefully accepted. Without this deal, it is widely thought that the Barossa would have lost a huge chunk of its old vines. The 'Masters' wines are made from the parcels regarded by the winemakers as the best Semillon, Riesling, Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz of the vintage.

Peter Lehmann Wines works with over 140 growers across the length and breadth of the Barossa Valley region, with access to over 750 individual vineyard sites. The Black Queen is made from Shiraz grown on old, low-yielding vines in premium vineyards in the Moppa and Light Pass districts.

Often referred to as the jewel in their/his crown, Lehmann's lack Queen Sparkling Shiraz is a unique and indulgent wine using grapes sourced from premium vineyards in the Barossa region, used to craft this exceptional wine. 

See blue link below for the excellent fiche technique/technical note from Peter Lehmann.

Peter Lehmann Masters `Black Queen` Sparkling Shiraz 2013 - fiche technique

Beautifully deep in colour with a persistent fine bead. The bouquet shows hints of satsuma, plum and black cherry leading to an explosion of dark exotic fruits on the palate. A very special sparkling red for times of celebration.

£22.80

Darenberg The Peppermint Paddock Red Sparkling NV (1x 75cl)

Family owned d’Arenberg is located in the breath-taking McLaren Vale in South Australia and produces an enviable range of wines. From humble beginnings, these wines quickly gained cult status amongst imbibers and judges alike – it’s a deft combination of winemaking tradition and vinous innovation. A tall order for some, but one that d’Arenberg takes in their stride as they continue to push the boundaries and get under the skin of each individual vineyard in order to get the best from the vines. This is backed up by an engaging consumer-friendly approach to the ‘deadly serious fun’ of wine.

D'Arenberg's own tasting notes for this wine are excellent, so please click the blue link below to see all this wine's details.

d'Arenberg The Peppermint Paddock NV – Fiche Technique

£18.10

Graham Beck Brut Non Vintage (1x 75cl)

The foundations for the success of the Graham Beck brand were laid in 1983 when the late Graham Beck purchased Madeba, a farm located outside the Western Cape town of Robertson. It was his ardent ambition to establish a world-class winery in this area that saw the erection of a state-of-the-art cellar. The cornerstones of the Beck family ethos were entrenched from the very start – contributing to the passion and dedication that continues to drive the entire team today. From grape to glass the entire process of producing a Graham Beck Méthode Cap Classique (MCC) relies on meticulous attention to detail, dedication to authenticity, precision timing and plenty of patience. At Graham Beck the team is passionate about the pursuit of the perfect bubble – a golden thread of excellence runs throughout the entire process and portfolio. 

To see the winemaker's excellent notes on this champagne, please click on the blue link below.

Graham Beck Brut NV - fiche technique

£15.55

Peller Family Estates Ice Cuvee Rose NV (1x 75cl)

A medium-bodied, refreshing sparkler that is slightly off-dry, yet finishes dry as a result of the delicate tannins from the Cabernet Franc. On the nose there are wonderful aromas of strawberry, peach juice, watermelon and currant. On the palate this wine is bursting with red berries and currants which linger through on the finish with an added note of spice.
£26.10

Peller Family Estates Ice Cuvee Sparkling NV (1x 75cl)

Very fine bubbles spiral upwards, through this brilliant yellow straw coloured wine. The bouquet of apricot, yeast and ripe apple, with hints of honey, are followed by tropical fruits on the palate and a refreshing sweet grapefruit finish.

£24.70
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