A cooling nightcap


Friday evening spent talking to fellow wine enthusiasts was a delightful way to end the week. However, the one downside was having to remain dry as I had to drive home at 9.45. Not for long. Once home, Richard thoughtfully brought round a bottle of champagne and, with Claire declining to arise from a warm bed, we tasted the Benoit La Haye, Brut Essential NV from the Wine Society (£27). Made in Bouzy on the Montagne de Reims – the northern side of the bowl of hills sweeping down to Epernay – this wine is 90% Pinot Noir and 10% Chardonnay. The label also proclaimed biodynamic production methods and with no filtration or fining.
The colour was a give away for the dominant grape variety. It had a lemon-yellow but pink-gold hue – sometimes seen in Pinot Gris – that denotes a white wine from light red skinned grapes. An intriguing wine to look at! The mousse was very fine – it declared its quality. On the nose it had an distinct apple and yeast scent and Richard spotted an undertone of ripeness in a vegetal smell. The taste was full-flavoured, rich and dry with well-balanced acidity . A gorgeous mouthful of fizz. Thoroughly recommended.
We drank this, not from the usual flutes but from larger, more standard wine glasses that concentrated the nose but also gave more room for the liquid to circulate; we both think it helped the wine.
PS. Claire would like me to add that she doesn’t just shop (see previous post) and lie in bed. Perhaps we’ll get her thoughts soon!

[Richard: this is another ‘growers’ champagne (see previous posts) from a maker who has developed (on Google at least) a good reputation. Bought as part of a mixed case and all have been interesting, well made wines. Can’t add anything to Geoff’s comments except to say that this had a lot of character – more so than some grande marques. I’m not sure about the use of wine glasses rather than flutes. Very much an in-vogue, wine trade thing. We should have done a comparative tasting in different glasses. Next time.]


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