Angie, Richard’s wife, became a grandmother (again) last week so Richard did the decent thing and opened a bottle of sparkling wine on Friday night. I tasted it blind, these are my notes.

(Whenever I read champagne tasting notes, I see one or more of the following – bready/brioche/yeasty. I must be missing something. Or wine writers drop in these cliches without thinking; they’ve almost become a must-write when describing champagnes. I’m going to have to buy some brioche and give it a good sniff to locate the smell. I wonder if it will remind me of champagne?)

Bright lemon colour, no hint of green, (aged?), very fine, persistent bubbles.

Rich citrus nose, appley  –  malic acid – but also maturity, fresh, attractive,

Bubbles are gentle, mouth-filling flavours, not overly acidic suggests maturity, base-wine age?

Good quality (recent vintage champagne?), Chardonnay dominant blended with PN/PM.

It was Cloudy Bay Pelorus NV (12.5%). Served at just the right temperature, this is a wine of some style. On checking the web-site, the wine is left for two years in bottle before being sold. This is 6 months longer than is required for NV champagne and may, in part, account for the added richness. The NZ climate, being warmer than northern France, may also have something to with the fuller flavours. However, it wasn’t overblown and retained its freshness.

And not a lump of sweet dough in sight.

[Richard: this was a wedding present so has had an additional eight months maturing. I used to drink a lot of Pelorus about 10 years ago but had forgotten all about it till recently. Probably linked to buying less and less from MWW who are a stockist. (Not keen on their pricing policy but that’s another blog). Like Geoff I’m baffled by the descriptors commonly used by wine critics to describe champagne. I wonder if their isn’t an element of group-think, rather in the way they invariably describe half bottles as ‘useful’ when they are anything but. Anyway, lovely drink, as good as an everyday champagne, very well made. But just lacking in a little something which means, for me, that I’ll chose the latter every time.]


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