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Champagne, Rosé & Port Recommendations


 

Champagne & English Sparkling


 

Champagne Renard Barnier, Blanc de Noirs Brut NV £26.00

For over 20 years Renard Barnier champagne has been exceeding our expectations for quality and value for money.  A ‘Blanc de Noirs’, it is made entirely from black grapes leading to a rich, rounded, fuller style of champagne.  Aged for 3 years before dégorgement, far longer than regulations require, resulting in a rich, almost toasty nose, crisp, balancing acidity on the palate with apple and citrus notes and small, persistent bubbles.  A creamy finish with a touch of brioche, and very good length. 

Champagne Mailly Grand Cru, Brut NV £35.00 / £18.75 halves / £80.00 magnums 

Mailly is a Grand Cru-rated village in the Montagne de Rheims, making first class wines that rival the better 'Grand Marques' like Roederer and Bollinger.  "A very refined example, zesty and limey on the nose with supporting floral notes. Elegant palate, with great purity on the finish.  93 points."  Decanter Magazine, Dec 2019

Rathfinny Blanc de Noirs Brut NV, Sussex £39.50

"The 2016 Blanc de Noirs is aged for 36 months in bottle with a dosage of 3g/L. It has a burnished silvery hue. The well-delineated nose is an absolute delight, presenting scents of orange pith, brioche, toasted pine nuts and a hint of white peach in the background. The palate is well poised with a light walnut opening, quite saline in the mouth and precise toward the finish; a touch of blackberry appears on the aftertaste. Impressive energy and sophistication are clear to see in what might be one of England's best Blanc de Noirs. Highly recommended.  93 points."  Neal Martin, Vinous.com

 


 

Champagne Louis Roederer Collection 243 £55.00

"Dried-lemon, apricot, green-apple, salted-almond, walnut and light caramel notes. Vinous and layered, with small and tight bubbles. Excellent focus and intensity. Based on 2018, with reserve wines going back to 2009. Dosage 8g/L.  94 points."  Jamessuckling.com

Champagne Louis Roederer Blanc de Blancs 2009 £75.00

“The 2009 Blanc de Blancs Vintage is mainly from Avize (80%), but chef de cave Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon is aiming for 100% due to the forward pushed ripeness of Chardonnay. The wine offers a deep, intense and very elegant nose of ripe, but nobly discreet Chardonnay on chalk flavors, which are repeated on the palate. Think of white fruits, flowers and blossoms, hazelnuts, brioche and almonds - and you are almost there. The 2009 offers a mouthful of round, rich and very elegant, precisely defined Chardonnay that shows a lovely freshness and purity in the finish. The wine is silky, vinous and very long, and reveals an endless elegance. No malolactic fermentation, but a remarkably chiseled acidity. 94 points."  RobertParker.com, Jun '16  

Champagne Ruinart Blanc de Blancs NV £95.00

"This blanc de blancs (100% Chardonnay) is sourced mostly from the Côte des Blancs and Montagne de Reims, including a portion of premier cru vineyards. It has a lean, lemon and apple bite backed up by some smooth creaminess. It's fuller in body than stablemate Veuve Clicquot, displaying good acidity and power. Dosage 9g/l.  91 points."  Decanter Magazine, Nov 2019


 

Champagne Ruinart Rosé NV £85.00

"A blend of 55% Pinot Noir and 45% Chardonnay, and featuring around 25% reserve wines, this is 100% premier cru fruit from the Montagne des Reims and Côte des Blancs. Almost a third of the Pinot Noir was vinified as a still wine. A deep coral colour, this is fresh and youthful, with rounded wild red berry fruit, and hint of rose. With some time in the glass, it develops deeper, complex, more exotic notes, leading to a long and lively finish. Dosage: 8g/L.  Drinking Window 2021 - 2026.  92 points."  Decanter Magazine, Jan 2021

Taittinger Comtes de Champagne 2012 £135.00

“As usual, the 2012 Comtes de Champagne is a classic blend of the five Côte des Blancs grands crus Avize, Chouilly, Cramant, Oger and Le Mesnil-sur-Oger. This is as classic a recipe as it gets, and it works like a dream. Right upon launch now, it holds back plenty but also gives generously, promising a lot. It's rich and expressive on the nose, with gorgeous toast-lined fruit of the utmost purity. Comtes de Champagne's hallmark toasty layers are already there and increasing. The palate is intense and structured, coming with fine nervosity and tension. Refined, linear and long. This is sheer perfection already, but it's greatly ageworthy. Despite the small yields of the year, an average good volume of Comtes was produced.  97 points."  EssiAvelan.com

NV Krug Grande Cuvée '168 Edition' £195.00

"Krug's NV Grande Cuvée 168ème Édition is a classic in the making, wafting from the glass with aromas of dried fruits, pear, toasted nuts, orange zest, honeycomb and freshly baked bread. Medium to full-bodied, generous but incisive, it's deep and elegantly fleshy, with a beautifully refined mousse and an enveloping core of fruit that's complemented by the characteristic Krug patina of nutty complexity imparted by barrel fermentation...based on the 2012 harvest, complemented by fully 42% reserve wines—a blend of 198 wines from 11 different vintages dating back to 1996. 96 points."  William Kelley, The Wine Advocate, May 2020


 

Provence Rosé


 

L'Oratoire Rosé, Domaine Saint Andrieu, Coteaux Varois En Provence 2022 £15.40 SOLD OUT

Pale onion-skin hue, with fresh watermelon and notably intense, pure white peach aromas on the nose (the white stone fruit character seems particularly perfumed in this vintage).  Completely dry, but with ripe raspberry fruits, more white peach, spice and just a little limestone minerality on the palate.  

Domaine Ott Clos Mireille Rosé 'Coeur de Grain', Côtes de Provence 2022, £39.50 

The 2022 Rosé Clos Mireille Cru Classé is dreamy, wafting up with a perfumed blend of nectarine, sweet white flowers and white strawberry. Like pure silk on the palate, this soothes with its ripe orchard fruits, which are gently contrasted by a bitter tinge of sour citrus as juicy acidity adds fleshy depths. The 2022 cleans up beautifully as inner florals and confectionary spice echo throughout. This is a gorgeous Rosé today, yet it should evolve beautifully for years.  2023-2026.  93 points."  Eric Guido, Vinous.com, May '23


 

Sauternes, Vintage Port & Madeira


 

Château Raymond-Lafon, Sauternes 2010 £39.50

"Pale to medium lemon-gold in color, the 2010 Raymond-Lafon comes charging out of the gate with flamboyant floral and spice notes of lime blossoms, jasmine, honeysuckle, allspice and powdered ginger plus wafts of dried mango and pineapple tart with a touch of marzipan. Rich, full-bodied, decadently spicy and fantastically opulent, it has oodles of freshness lifting all the accented fruit to a long and layered finish. 2020 - 2036.  93 points." Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, Wine Advocate, Mar '20

Château Doisy Vedrines, Sauternes Grand Cru Classé 2014 £30.00

"The 2014 Doisy-Védrines is delicate, nuanced and silky on the palate, with lovely texture and plushness, but no excess weight. White orchard fruit, jasmine and bright acid notes give the wine its distinctive freshness. As is often the case, Doisy-Védrines is one of the classiest and most understated Sauternes of the vintage.  94 points.(AG), Vinous, Feb '17

Smith Woodhouse Vintage Port 2000 £45.00

Smith Woodhouse is a niche port house, established in the late 1800s and now owned by the Symington family, who also own Grahams.  The 2000 was trodden by foot in traditional stone lagares and is at a perfect point of maturity, with plenty of fruit and a smooth, velvety texture. RKL


 

Croft Vintage Port 1970 £80.00

"The 1970 Croft Vintage Port has a russet core. The nose is detailed and focused with an attractive bouquet of cooked meats, mulberry, spice and leather. It is light and feminine, although it never really develops the nuance that I was hoping for in the glass. The palate is vigorous and not quite as elegant as the 1966: a little more alcoholic and unrefined, the finish more linear with liquorice, burnt toffee and raisin. 2018-2025. 90 points." Neal Martin, Vinous, Jun '18

Blandy's Verdelho Colheita 2010 £95.00

"The 2010 Blandy’s Colheita Single Harvest Verdelho was aged for ten years in very old oak casks and contains 75g/L residual sugar. The nose offers dried peach skin, melted candle wax and wood varnish scents, well-defined and demonstrating a little more focus than its Sercial counterpart. The palate is superb. Seamlessly constructed with a pitch-perfect line of acidity, this just feels complete and effortless. This Verdelho comes highly recommended with gorgeous mandarin, dried honey, hazelnut notes and a slight oxidative edge on the finish. 2,523 bottles produced. 94 points" Neal Martin,Vinous.com

Blandy's Bual Colheita 2010 £95.00

"Grapes from Calheta on the warmer south coast of Madeira: mid-amber with gently smoked, yet rich savoury-spicy aromas, quite seductive and evocative; lovely Elvas plum and quince marmalade richness (92 g/l residual sugar) with a spicy backdrop, balanced by fresh appley acidity and a long finish akin to a gently cinnamon-spiced Tarte Tatin. There is no substitute for age in Madeira but this shows great complexity for a colheita with a decade in wood. 18.5 points." Richard Mayson


 

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