“Champa … Ooops, sorry, a metodo classico.”

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Franciacorta is a small region that sits between the wine saturated area (mostly Pinot Grigio and Prosecco) of north-east Italy and the more up-market (?) north-west Italy, of Barolo, Gavi and Barbera fame. DOCG (gained 1995) status can only be used for sparkling wine made in the classic method and this has kept the quality at a good level. We just don’t see a lot of it in the UK so when M & S halved the price to £9.50, I grabbed the last three bottles.

‘I Due Lare’ – Franciacorta DOCG is 100% Chardonnay made by the Gatti family near Lake Iseo. Its appearance is a deeper than average lemon colour with an obvious mousse. The nose had that ‘old cellars’ whiff – slightly yeasty – but with a cooked apple undertone and a hint of honey. Lovely! The apple taste persisted on the palate which was dry, long with clean almond finish. I loved the richness of flavour that is missing from many sparkling wines and cheaper champagnes and it knocks spots off Prosecco. A bargain!

[Richard: just the wrong side of dry for me – not really a ‘brut’ –  but Angie loved it. Clearly well made with lots of flavour and length. Lasted well into the third day and certainly better than most (all) proseccos I’ve tasted.

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As it happens we were in M&S Tamworth yesterday – where the Franciacorta came from – and I actually found some more reduced wines. Usually, by the time I get there, all the 50% off stuff is gone, with only a ‘sold out’ notice on the shelf label. These were both about £16>£8.

The one on the left is our third Canadian recently. Bright, slightly sweet Cabernet, easy to drink (12%), well balanced, lacking in complexity, very attractive – but not worth £16.

The Land of Hope is a South African pinot, tasting, as they often do to me, as if a dollop of Pinotage has been added to the blend. Slightly tarry and smokey, with lots of grip and persistence. Pretty good and we both preferred it to the Southbrook.]

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