Essi’s sparkling world tour

Hot foot from visiting 30 wine regions for her major revision of Christie’s Encylopedia of Champagne and Sparkling Wine, Essi Avellan MW introduces 16 traditional-method sparkling wines. What she showed was how many places – including some very surprising locations – where the high quality sparkling wine is being made.  Please excuse any minor errors – this is live blogging!

 Champagne-style blends

1. Alexandrovic Trijumf Brut 2008 Vinca, Oplenac, Serbia

100% Chardonnay, 100% malo, dosage 6g, €25 locally

lovely mild autolytic note, some richness on palate, high acidity, hint of oak – amazing quality if with the help of a Champagne consultant

Essi Avellan

2. Codorniu Gran Codorniu Gran Reserva Chardonnay 2007

12g RS, 286 m above sea level, night time harvest, pH 2.7 in base wine

toasty, classic green apples, chalk, quite unlike Cava! beautiful acidity


3.  Arras Blanc de Blancs, Tasmania, Australia, 2001

‘Krug of Australia’, 97% Chardonnay, 100% MLF, 9.6g RS, oak only in dosage liqueur; 11 years on the lees; bit of aged brandy in the dosage

rich buttery, yeasty, coconut hint (though French oak) wide and rich on palate, high acidity again, great quality, unique style in Australia

4. Tarlant La Vigne d’Or Blanc de Meuniers 2003

100% Pinot Meunier and single vineyard – Pierre de Bellevue, sustainable, biodynamic, all in Marne valley – more of a challenge, very natural wine making, barrel fermented, low dosage, 2g RS,

gold, powerful palate, meaty notes, citrus, very good acidity despite hot year,

Non-Champagne varietals

5. Istenic No 1 Cuvee Speciale NV, Bizeljsko-Brezice, Slovenia

70% Chardonnay, 30% Rumeni Plavec; 80% 2008, no MLF, 2 years on lees, 12.7g RS

pale lemon, lovely freshess, following sweetness, ripe apple, pretty nose,

6. Dindori, Maharashtra, Chandon India

80% Chenin Blanc, 10% Chardonnay, 10% Pinot Noir, this is all 2011 but future vintages will have reserve wines

could produce two crops a year, hard in April (no fruit in wet season), again in October, ripen as a S hemisphere period, in a warming temperature! bit of barrel fermentation in old barrels, some wine goes through MLF, 8.3 TA

ripe apple, tastes sweeter than 9g RS, good acidity

7. Schloss Gobelsburg Brut Réserve NV

55% Gruner Veltliner, 15% Riesling, 15% Pinot Noir,

Has sparkling tradition but mainly large cheap houses but some quality houses; here solera system for 15% of the wine; tame fruitiness by MLF (100%), bottled after 6 months in cask; early picked Kamptal vineyards, 2-3 years on lees

restrained fruit, high acidity, classy, demanding

Gramona 8. Gramona Cava Celler Batlle Gran Reserva 2002

70% Xarel-lo, 30% Macabeo; 100 year old Solera wine for dosage, 6-8 g/L

lovely aged notes, ripe fruit but with restrained, real breadth, excellent


9.  Torres Chile Santa Digna Estelado NV

Valle del Maule Chile, 100% Pais (!), Saignée, 6-9 months on lees, pay a fair price, 8g/L

pale salmon, youthful red fruit, green leafiness, not sure

10. Caves Transmontanas Vértice Rosé 2010

Cima Corgo Douro

mostly Touriga (75%)

light, pleasant, good red fruit hint, refreshing, simple

11. Graham Beck Brut Rosé Vintage Cap Classique 2009

pale salmon, clean red fruit, medium acidity (no MLF),

cold press PN (82%) and Chardonnay, no malo

12. Henri Abel Le Sourire de Reims Rosé 2002

Les Riceys, Rosé de saignée (40 hours), MLF, 9 g/L

evolved deep colour (orange), meaty, little obvious fruit, good food wine

Best of the best – non-Champagne!

13. Nyetimber Single Vineyard Tillington, England 2009

79% Pinot Noir, 21% Chardonnay, 10 g/L

bright, fresh, high acidity and restraint, classy, chalky and mineral, intense,

Ca' del Bosco14. Ca’ del Bosco Cuvée Annamaria Clementi Franciacorta, Italy,  2004

55% Chardonnay, 25% Pinot Blanc, 20% Pinot Nero, fermentation in small oak casks, MLF, 1.5 g/L, nitrogen chamber for disgorgement

gold and toasty, rich fruit, lovely oak, lovely ripe fruit quality, mineral undertow

15. No 1 Family Estate Cuvée Remy Marlborough NZ 2007

80% Pinot Noir, 20% Chardonnay, hand picked, 6 g/L; not really exported

perfumed, mineral, ripe rich fruit, acidic tug, lovely, great tension between ripeness and acidity

16. Roederer Estate Anderson Valley L’Ermitage Brut 2004

remote Anderson Valley, organic, 52% Chardonnay, 48% Pinot Noir, 4% aged reserve wine vintage 200, no MLF , 12 g/L

rich nose – fruit and toast,  but then crisp acidity and super dry finish,









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