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Sparkling Wines

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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

Alfred Gratien Brut Classique NV (1x75cl)

Awarded 91 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their December 2018 edition review of Value Champagne (see blue link below).

Alfred Gratien Brut Classique NV - December 2018 Decanter review

If exceptional had a name, it would be Champagne Alfred Gratien. Alfred Gratien Champagnes are handcrafted for guaranteed quality and consistency. A few miles away from Epernay’s bustling town centre, deep in the heart of a Champagne vineyard, are the Alfred Gratien Champagne cellars. It was here, on Rue Maurice Cerveaux, that Alfred Gratien set up his business and created his first cuvées in 1864. For over a century and a half, Alfred Gratien Champagnes have remained a family affair perpetuated by the expertise and know-how of their founder. For four generations, the Epernay-based Jaeger family have been handing down the trade of cellar master from father to son, ensuring the Alfred Gratien style lives on.

The pale yellow hue of this wine’s colour is complemented by its lively effervescence. The bubbles are small and quick to rise to a fine mousse. The nose is moderately intense yet complex. The sweet pastry, biscuit and orchard fruit notes are followed and enhanced by hints of citrus, white flowers and fresh butter. The initial taste is clean: this is a very silky and sparkling wine whose sugar content works well with its body. There is a certain chalky minerality and the texture is smooth. It is characterful without being overbearing. The finish is crisp, with a slight mineral undertone, and long at 6 to 8 seconds. It leaves an excellently balanced acidic aftertaste, with a sugar component that is undeniably pleasing on the palate.

Thi is an exemplary Brut Champagne, which places a great emphasis on the bubbles created in the wine. It has benefitted from its reserve wine content and its maturation in cellars. Superb complexity combines young aromas with notes gained through maturation in cellars.

Its balanced qualities mean it can be paired quite liberally. Avoid anything too salty, sugary, fatty or spicy, opting instead for balance. Ideal for your savoury or sweet-and-sour hors d’œuvre, and for apéritifs.

£36.60

Bellavista Alma Franciacorta Cuvee Brut NV (1x 75cl)

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 190 hectares of vines in 10 communes within the Franciacorta DOCG. The vineyards have some of the best exposure, character and expressive potential in the area. From these vineyards, they produce 103 different parcels of wine.

Made in/with the traditional method, the different parcels of wine are all vinified separately. 15% of the wines used in the blend are fermented and then matured for seven months in small oak barrels. These wines are then blended with the "reserve wines", which come from between six and nine earlier vintages. Once blended, the wine is bottled and the second fermentation takes place in bottle. It is then left to age on the lees for two and a half years before release. The contribution of the reserve wines ensures Bellavista's consistent, signature style in every bottle.

22% Pinot Nero (Noir), 77% Chardonnay, 1% Pinot Bianco.

It has a lively and persistent mousse with fine perlage. It is an attractive pale yellow in colour, with green reflections. Perfumes of white flowers and stone fruits, with subtle hints of vanilla, which follow through on to the palate. Fine, elegant yet rounded and beautifully balanced.

£30.50

Bellavista Franciacorta Brut 2013 (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 has 200 hectares of vines across 10 communes within the Franciacorta DOCG. The vineyards have some of the best exposure in the region and produce fruit with character and great aromatic potential. For the Vintage Brut, site selection is rigorous. Fruit only comes from vineyards that are high up on the hillsides, with a south/southeast exposure. Average vine age is over 25 years old.

This was an unusual year. The long spring was characterised by short, light spells of rain. Summer was generally mild, with flowering taking place between 5th and 12th of June, with good levels of sunshine, perfect wind conditions and night time temperatures below 17°C. Harvesting commenced on the 2nd September and lasted just over two weeks.

Individual parcels are specially selected for this blend of 75% Chardonnay and 25% Pinot Noir. Made in/using/with the traditional (Champagne) method, 30% of the wine that makes up this Vintage Brut is fermented and matured for at least seven months in small oak barrels with the remainder in stainless steel tank. Once blended and bottled, the wine matures on lees for an additional 4 years before disgorgement.

See also the blue link below for the 'culturally rich' fiche technique/technical note from the winemakers themselves.

Bellavista Franciacorta Brut 2013  - fiche technique

Bellavista Brut is a vibrant green gold colour with an exuberant and persistent mousse. The nose exhibits sweet ripe orchard fruits with hints of candied citrus complemented by hawthorn and elderberry blossom, white almonds and pastry notes. Elegant and complex, this powerful wine balances a silky texture with a backbone of fresh acidity and hints of white fruit and blossom on a long dry finish.

£36.75

Bellavista Franciacorta Rose 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 has chosen 190 hectares of vines in 10 communes within the Franciacorta DOCG. The vineyards have some of the best exposure, character and expressive potential in the area. This has given rise to 107 small crus that express the intrinsic personality of the land and the subtle nuances of its character and personality.

The Franciacorta Rosé Brut is a special cuvée of limited production, a blend of at least 30 of the best parcels from the Bellavista vineyards, some of which are fermented and matured in small oak barrels.The wine is made partially from red grapes in submerged cap maceration, where the must is in contact with the Pinot Noir skins until fermentation, giving the wine a delicate colour.

62% Chardonnay, 38% Pinot Noir.

Delicate pink with persistent bubbles. The nose opens with intense white peach that mellows into wild strawberries, golden apple, rosehip and a hint of toast. On the palate, the wine is dry with well balanced, fresh acidity. An elegant background of blackcurrant and sweet almond flavours linger on the finish.

£41.35

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

Bellenda Prosecco San Fermo Brut Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore 2018 (1x 75cl)

The 2017 vintage was awarded 90 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their January 2019 edition panel tasting  review of Prosecco Superiore/Conegliano Valdobbiadene (see blue link below).

Bellenda Prosecco San Fermo Brut Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore 2017 - January 2019 Decanter review

These thoughts from the team at Bellenda sum them up perfectly. "We consider, believe, create: these three words constitute the synthesis of what Bellenda is all about, who we are who work there, our family, and our close bond with our land. We love exploring the vast world of sparkling wine. That is a world that holds an enormous fascination for us and enables us to express ourselves in so many ways: sparkling or semi-sparkling, with or without sediment, classic or Charmat method can be woven and combined together, depending on the fruit from the vineyard, on local traditions, or even on a simple desire to try one’s hand at something never before attempted."

Please click on the blue link below to see an excellent fiche technique for this Prosecco from the winemakers at Bellenda.

Bellenda San Fermo Brut - fiche technique

Bright and crisp, this bright sparkler has aromas of lime and apple that follow through to the lively palate. Vibrant acidity gives it a refreshing finish.

£15.50

Bisol Crede Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore 2017 (1x 75cl)

Awarded 91 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their January 2019 edition panel tasting  review of Prosecco Superiore/Conegliano Valdobbiadene (see blue link below).

Bisol Crede Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore 2017 - January 2019 Decanter review

In each bottle of Bisol Prosecco Superiore, the traditions of a family that has tended its vines in the Valdobbiadene area since 1542 are combined with the history of a landscape whose generosity is only matched by the difficulty of cultivating its steep, rocky hills. Each Bisol Prosecco Superiore has its own, unique identity which varies depending on the nature of the specific terroirs in which the grapes are grown. After all, the Glera grape, from which this type of wine is made, is particularly sensitive to variations in the soil and microclimate.

"Crede" is a dialect word for clay, which is a defining feature of the terrain in Valdobbiadene in which the grapes for this Prosecco Superiore are cultivated. These ancient slopes - at one time the seabed - were formed as the land slowly buckled and curved upwards, arranging the strata of the soil almost vertically.

To view a fiche technique / information sheet for this prosecco from the winemakers at Bisol, please click the blue link below.

Bisol Crede Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore - fiche technique

£16.95

Botter Prosecco Santi Nello NV (1x 75cl)

They say that a good wine needs time to reveal its qualities, but it also needs dedication and constant commitment. Few products can embody so much expertise and thousands of years of history as those made by Botter. It has passed through the careful hands of three generations for whom wine is a passion as well as a trade. They have responded to the constantly evolving market over time, in a process of ongoing expansion.

Grapes are accurately selected both for area of origin and quality. The soft pressed must is stored in steel tanks for the static cold decanting. The fermentation with selected yeasts, is made at a controlled constant temperature of 18°C and is completed in 8/10 days. The team of oenologists select the best wines obtained to continuethe sparkling winemaking process. Afterwards the wine is filtered in steel tanks with the addition of saccharose and selected yeasts for the second fermentation (Martinotti – Charmat method) at a controlled temperature of 14/15 °C. Once the wine has reached the required pressure levels, alcohol and sugar content, it is refrigerated, cold stabilized (–2/-3°C), filtered and controlled before bottling.

The Santi Nello is a pale light yellow colour, with fine bubbles. Its flavours and aromas are delicately fruity as well as slightly aromatic. This prosecco is well balanced and light bodied with a harmonious palate. 

£12.20

Botter Prosecco Spumante NV (1x 75cl)

They say that a good wine needs time to reveal its qualities, but it also needs dedication and constant commitment. Few products can embody so much expertise and thousands of years of history as those made by Botter. It has passed through the careful hands of three generations for whom wine was a passion as well as a trade. They have responded to the constantly evolving market over time, in a process of ongoing expansion.

The grapes for this Prosecco are picked in the second half of September.

The soft pressed must is stored in steel tanks for static cold decanting. The fermentation with selected yeasts is carried out at a controlled temperature of 18 °C and takes 8-10 days. After a storage period, the winemaker ensures the expected level of quality is achieved for this Prosecco Spumante cuvée. The wine is then filtered and stored in steel tanks with the addition of sucrose and selected yeasts for the second fermentation (Martinotti-Charmat method) at a controlled temperature of 14-15 °C. Once the wine has reached the required pressure levels, alcohol and sugar content, the wine is refrigerated and cold stabilized. It is filtered before bottling.

The Botter Prosecco Spumante has a crisp and delicate perlage. There is a pale light yellow colour, alongside a delicate and complex bouquet with fruity notes that are reminiscenrt of peach, green apple with second notes of acacia and wisteria. It is fresh and light on the palate, with balanced acidity and body; it proves itself to be harmonic with a long persistent aftertaste.

Ideal as an aperitif, it is a perfect combination to hors-d’oeuvres and delicate first courses. Also wonderful with sushi, fish and shellfish.

£11.95

Bruno Paillard Brut Premiere Cuvee NV (1x 75cl)

Awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their January 2019 edition article on changes in chefs de cave in Champagne  (see blue link below).

Bruno Paillard Brut Premiere Cuvee NV - January 2019 Decanter review

Bruno Paillard Champagne is an independent, family-run house. Its exceptional vineyards are located in the heart of the Champagne region. The wines have a highly personal style characterized by stringent quality control at every stage of the process. They only use the first pressing of Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir, and each cru is produced separately in oak barrels or stainless steel tanks. The house was the first to indicate the date of disgorgement on its bottles.

The Première Cuvée is a very personal interpretation of the Champagne region and is the flagship of the Bruno Paillard style. A top quality wine, the Première Cuvée has the ability to survive any harvest The blend is made usingonly the first pressing of the grapes to extract only the purest juice - Pinot Noir (45%), Chardonnay (33%) and Pinot Meunier (22%), part of which (20%) was in barrel for the first fermentation. This champagne is a blend of 25 vintages, dating back to 1985. Ageing takes place over a period of time that is always longer than the legal requirement; three years sur lie, then a minimum of a further five months after disgorgement. 

The golden straw colour is indicative of the exclusive use of the first pressing. The fine bubbles are due to a strict selection of the best grapes, perfectly controlled temperature in the cellar and very long ageing. The primary aromas are of citrus - lime and grapefruit. Then the red fruits aromas start to appear - redcurrant, raspberry, morello cherries. When left to open up in the glass, the wine shows hints of dried fruits, which are sometimes exotic. The palate is lively and vivacious, thanks to a low dosage. The aromas on the nose are echoed in the mouth. There are primary flavours of citrus, almonds, and toasted bread, followed by redcurrant jelly but also dark fruits like cherry, fig and blackberry. As the wine opens up in the glass, and gets warmer, it expresses light plum and pear flavours. The palate is full, quite long with a very clean finish. The Premiere Cuvee champagne is an excellent aperitif. It matches divinely with cheese (Brie de Meaux, Camembert, aged salers), poultry and shellfish.

£38.55

Bruno Paillard Premiere Cuvee Rose NV (1x 75cl)

Awarded 93 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their January 2019 edition article on changes in chefs de cave in Champagne  (see blue link below).

Bruno Paillard Brut Premiere Cuvee Rose NV - January 2019 Decanter review

Bruno Paillard Champagne is an independent, family-run house. Its exceptional vineyards are located in the heart of the Champagne region. The wines have a highly personal style characterized by stringent quality control at every stage of the process. They only use the first pressing of Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir, and each cru is produced separately in oak barrels or stainless steel tanks. The house was the first to indicate the date of disgorgement on its bottles.

A hymn to the bright delicacy of Pinot Noir, the Premiere Cuvee Rosé is named on account of its composition of only the first pressing. This multi-vintage rosé, made with Pinot Noir, is created in two ways: 1. White wine from Pinot Noir: after a quick pressing, and a fast separation of the skins, the juice is very pale and can be vinified as a white wine. 2. Red wine from Pinot Noir: is obtained by a prolonged maceration of the juice on the skins. A touch of Chardonnay brings the necessary vivacity to balance the fruits of Pinot Noir.

The blend is a first pressing of mainly Pinot Noir with some Chardonnay, the amount of which remains a secret. The reserve wines are a blend of 25 vintages, going back to 1985. The champagne is aged for three years sur lie, then a minimum of a further five months after disgorgement. This wine has a very low dosage, (labelled as Extra Brut) at less than 6g per litre. It is a very pure wine.

The pink copper colour with a hint of raspberry when young evolves to salmon while ageing. The fine bubbles are due to a strict selection of the best grapes, perfectly controlled temperature in the cellar and very long ageing. The initial aromas of redcurrant and red fruits evolve to morello cherry, wild strawberry and violet while breathing in the glass. A touch of lemon denotes the discrete presence of Chardonnay. With age, aromas tend towards dark fruits like dark cherry, fig and blackberry. The palate reveals red fruit captured at full freshness. The finish is bright and long.

Pale in colour yet with a distinctive hue. This Cuvee has finesse and purity but is very fine and fresh. With subtle cherries, strawberries and nice overall acidity.

£45.65

Ca` Morlin Prosecco Superiore DOCG Conegliano e Valdobbiadene NV (1x75cl)

Finding a Prosecco of consistently good quality from a respected producer that offers value for money can prove almost impossible. However, renowned winemaker Matt Thomson (of Alpha Zeta fame) has come to the rescue and now works to produce a real Prosecco - clean, fresh, soft, frothing, uncomplicated, gulpable and above all, affordable  with Andrea Morlin of Conegliano and a grower friend in a modern, compact winery tucked into the hills of this beautiful region. As of the 2015 vintage, all Ca' Morlin wines have been certified organic. 

Glera grapes for this Prosecco are grown on 12 hectares of vineyards in Asolo, a sizeable quantity in this fragmented zone.

The fruit was picked relatively late and cool fermented in order to preserve the delicate aromatics of the grape. Both the first and second fermentation take place in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks. The 'spumante' style of Prosecco is fully sparkling, with more carbon dioxide retained at bottling. Due to the quality of the fruit, they have been able to utilise a lower level of residual sugar than is usual with Prosecco, so the wines are drier and more drinkable as a result. This prosecco is labelled as 'Extra Dry' so is a drier style but still has the characteristic fruitiness you expect from prosecco.

Asolo, Valdobbiadene and Conegliano are the three areas that produce DOCG Prosecco. This Asolo Spumante is soft, scented and grapey, with delicious lightness and a long lasting 'mousse'. Perfect as an aperitif, it is best served between 6-8°C.

£15.95

Cantina Cleto Chiarli Pignoletto Brut Modena Cleto NV (1x75cl)

For a decade the native Pignoletto grape variety has extended its presence on the territory, meeting the favor of the most attentive winemakers. Today Pignoletto is an interesting reality that thanks to the care given by the manufacturers comes in full with Lambrusco in the new DOC Modena.

From a selection of the best Chiarli vineyards. The grapes are harvested early to mantain freshness and acidity. Kept at low alcohol content, it is vinified in closed tanks to get the maximum vibrancy and finesse.

  • - BRONZE MEDAL, International Wine Challenge 2012
  • - BRONZE MEDAL, Decanter World Wine Awards 2012
  • - BRONZE MEDAL, International Wine Challenge 2014
£11.60

Cantina Cleto Chiarli Pruno Nero, Lambrusco Di Grasparossa di Castelvetro NV (1x75cl)

Deep ruby red in colour with an aromatic nose, strongly reminiscent of fresh strawberries. The palate is richly soft, generously fruity and delightfully refreshing, offering ripe, concentrated red berry fruits such as cranberries, raspberries and strawberries, a fine, persistent mousse and a soft finish. Low acidity and very little tannin combine to create a deliciously fruit driven, thirst quenching wine.

£13.45
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