From €11.40, $19.97, £13.17, 2,990 yen
I was absolutely entranced by this wine when I tasted it in a line-up of assorted fizzes recently. Jacky Blot explains the name of this cuvée on the back label: no chaptalisation, no liqueur de tirage, no liqueur d'expédition. It just shows that there are alternatives to champagne among great sparkling wines.
This one comes in a smart, very dark bottle and stylish label and is obviously made from top-quality Chenin Blanc. The average age of the vines is apparently about 50 years and the hand-picked grapes are fermented in oak. (See Dry Chenin for more details.) The delightfully vivacious result is just 12.5% and this is my tasting note:
'Gosh, this is interesting on the nose! Smells of a damp cellar, like a particularly successful natural wine. Apple-y Chenin with enormous vibrancy. I would love to be served this at a party! Not aggressively tart and dry. Just lots of fascinating flavour. Very racy and refreshing. Impossible to spit. Long but not especially potent.'
This stunning wine can be found around the world but the only British retailer I can find is Justerini & Brooks, who are currently offering it at £55 for six bottles in bond, which apparently somehow translates into £13.17 a bottle - surely a bargain. Note the prices in the other currencies.