Friday, 11 March 2011

Ridgeview Bloomsbury 2007

Waitrose, £20.00

At about 6 o'clock on Friday morning I had a broken leg. After a couple of hours and three X-Rays this had been downgraded to a combination of torn cartilage and 'funny-shaped bones'.

The previous evening had been a strange one: I recovered temporarily from an early fall to enjoy some ping-pong and a wildly successful trip to a Mayfair casino. But the £300 winnings were beginning to weigh me down, and by the time we left I could barely walk.

At around 4am I abandoned my intention of going to Cornwall for the weekend and made like a snail for Accident and Emergency.

The croupiers may have been kind earlier, but in life I was limping in. Distinctly unamused by the earlier diagnosis, I needed some form of invigorating tonic to re-establish perkiness to my sleep-deprived body.

English sparkling wine has been enjoying a stellar few years. Down in the South both the soil and the globally warmed climate are similar to that of Champagne, and in the best years all three grapes can ripen nicely. It's even rumoured that Champagne houses are buying up land here.

The headline news at last year's Decanter Wine Awards was that an English fizz, Ridgeview's 2006 Grosvenor Blanc de Blancs, had taken top prize in the Champagne and Sparkling wine category.

The Grosvenor is, obviously, all Chardonnay. Mine on the other hand was Ridgeview’s 'Bloomsbury', which adds Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier to give the full Champenois menage.

The Decanter judges found the Grosevenor to have 'plenty of elan'. Which is no doubt reassuring for the hopelessly pretentious amongst us. But I have no time for dictionaries, and wanted to get on to the bottle in hand...

Initially it has a light mineral nose, but not much going on.

A fine-ish mousse. Very champagne-y on the palate with loads of citrus acid. Lovely breadiness comes through on the nose once it opens up. There's lots of fruit but to my mind not enough body for the acidity. Gimme a granule more sugar in the dosage or a billion barrels of crude to burn, and this'll be a cracking wine.

It's young tasting and I'd like to see it in a few years, but still fizzily good for both body and mind, especially at the price.

If I could walk I might go buy another.

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