Friday, December 18, 2009

WINES OF THE WEEK, 18 December 2009

Some more champagnes this week – and some still wines later. Berry Bros’ full range of grower’s champagnes is worth exploring further.

J-L Vergnon, Grand Cru, £24.95, Berry Bros & Rudd
Fine, floral, honeyed nose with a nicely dry, mineral, chalky-textured palate. Relatively low dosage (about 6gm/l). I hadn’t come across this blanc de blancs grower in Le Mesnil-sur-Oger until Berry Bros’ October tasting. In fact it was one of ten interesting growers’ champagnes that BBR showed.

Benoît Lahaye Cuvée Prestige Blanc de Noirs, £27.95, Berry Bros & Rudd
Powerful and toasty with rich pinot noir fruit balanced by steely acidity and a long dry finish. Vine Trail does Lahaye’s grand cru 80:20 blend of pinot noir and chardonnay, which is also very good.

2002 Le Mesnil Blanc de Blancs, Grand Cru, £29.99, Waitrose
Honeyed, citrussy fruit, biscuity, creamy, intense and refined. This comes from the small, admirably reliable, quality-oriented Le Mesnil co-operative in the grand cru chardonnay village of Le Mesnil-sur-Oger. The non vintage is also well worth buying.

2002 Oudinot, £23.99, Marks & Spencer
Good value vintage blanc de blancs. Lots of perfume, a buttery richness to the palate, good depth and freshness. Mainly from grand cru vineyards.

Veuve Clicquot yellow label, £25-£30, widely available
In a blind-tasting , mainly of own-labels, this stood out of the crowd. Attractive floral nose, peachy, appley fruit, toasty, biscuity flavours and a supple texture.

Sainsbury’s Blanc de Noirs, £15.98
Not in the same league as all the above, and certainly not complex, but rounded, well-made, crowd-pleasingly fresh, fruity, biscuity and soft. And cheap.