Waitrose are offering 25% discount across their entire wine range for any purchase of six or more bottles, from Wednesday 29 October to Tuesday 4 November. The deal includes sparkling and fortified wines, and is available in store and via their website.
The recent press tasting held by Waitrose showed a very wide variety of price and style, but also quality – with everything represented, from stonker to stinker. That means a certain degree of discretion is required when choosing from their range. Hence this selection of tasting notes, grouped by wine style then in descending score order.
66% Pinot Noir and 34% Chardonnay. La Grande Année is made from 16 crus: 88% grands crus, 12% premiers crus. 2004 was quite a delicate year in Champagne, with a relatively dry winter and spring. The grapes were picked during a fine Indian summer which meant they were in an excellent state of health. This vintage was aged entirely in barrels for more than twice the time required by the appellation.
Very, very fruity – even at ten years old. Apple, lemon and lime, and something almost Fino-esque – the crossover of flor and autolysis perhaps? Very complex and individual. (RH)
60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay, sourced from 20 Grand & Premier Crus from the Montagne de Reims and Côte des Blancs. The must underwent two débourbages (settlings), one at the press house and the second, a cold-settling, in stainless steel tanks at 6 °C over a 24 hour period. Slowly cool-fermented at less than 18°C, with each variety and each village kept separate until final blending. Full malo and then 2ndary ferment took place at 9 °C in the deepest Pol Roger cellars (33 metres below street level) where the wine was kept until being riddled by hand. Winemaker Dominique Petit. Suitable for vegetarians and vegans.
Really rich and doughy on the nose, bits of smoke and lemon juice. Great – but not quite as multi-dimensional as I expect from Pol Roger. The nose outplays the palate at the moment. (RH)
100% Pinot Noir from Bob and Sam Lindo at the Camel Valley vineyard near Bodmin in Cornwall. This wine wines repeated awards, most recently a Gold Medal at the IWC 2014 and Trophy for best rosé English fizz.
Pretty understated – and certainly less expressive and varietal than I remember from previous vintages. Dry, bright, plenty of substance and stuffing. Actually, it’s growing on me – the length is brooding and dense. Needs time, then. (RH)
62% Chardonnay, 19% Pinot Noir and 19% Pinot Meunier from 19-year-old vines planted on chalky South Downs. Site chosen for similarity to Champagne. 2011 produced very clean fruit with smaller berries than usual and intense fruit characteristics with very high quality base wines. Due to a warm September, first grapes were ready around a week ahead of normal. Grapes were hand-harvested and the clusters were whole-bunch pressed in a specialist Coquard sparkling wine press before fermentation with Champagne yeast. 100% malolactic and 24 months spent cellaring on lees in purpose built underground cellars. Winemakers Mike and Simon Roberts. Suitable for vegetarians and vegans.
Creamy, rich and fleshy. Sweetly spiced, loads of green fruit, good autolytic integration and a very tart acidic lift on the finish. (RH)
45% Pinot Noir, 45% Chardonnay and 10% Pinot Meunier from a small, family-owned parcel of just 2 hectares occupying an elevated position in the Sussex Weald. Blackboys is believed to mean 'black wood', so called due to the soot deposited in the woods from the charcoal burners that were prevalant up until the 19th Century. Grapes were harvested by hand over four days in Oct 2010 and immediately transported to the purpose built winery in Kingscote. Whole bunch pressed and fermented in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks. Blended in April 2011 with secondary fermentation taking place in bottle. Lees aged for a minimum of 24 months. Winemaker Owen Elias.
Very well developed nose. Quite subtle palate but very determined, with tart green apple fruit. Probably needs more bottle age for the palate to fully express itself. (RH)