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Berry Bros go east, and north, south and west

11 Apr 2013 by Tamlyn Currin

Berry’s spring tasting was an eclectic collection and, indulgently, I picked the regions that most piqued my interest. It was a vagabond journey, starting in the chilly northern hills of Champagne (because those of us in the UK need some fizz to perk up this dreary cold excuse of a spring), heading gradually further south and further east until I landed up in the golden triangle of Liaoning province, China.

Three sweet spots along the way gave me reason to pause. The first was in Vouvray - the minerals-and-sunlight wines of Vincent Carême. Vincent and his South African wife Tania are brave enough to not only have started from scratch in 1999 (no inherited vineyards here) but to have their 14 ha certified organic. Their entire range is a Chenin lover’s delight.

The second sweet spot was the intriguing mini horizontal set up by David Berry Green - a man on a single-handed mission to bring about a terroir revolution in Chianti. All I had to do to partake was taste eight wines : four producers from four different terroirs. Can you spot the differences ?

The final sweet spot was, well, sweet. It all came to a rather sticky end with some very indulgent offerings from Crete and China. Berrys has boldly stepped out and listed some Chinese wines from the large producer, Changyu (Jancis wrote a bit about their background here). The red from Ningxia is a very credible red Cabernet blend, but at that price... I’d pass. The ice wines, from further north east, deliver tooth-aching sweetness and lots of flavour, but I felt that they needed just a little more acidity to provide perfect balance.

CHAMPAGNE

Ployez-Jacquemart, Extra Quality Brut NV Champagne
17 Drink 2013-2016

Gold tints. Plenty of autolytic development, and the aroma of just-wrinkled, super-sweet golden delicious apples. Mouthfilling lacy mousse. Beautiful intensity. Slightly bitter seam around a heart of fresh crunchy fruit, spice and brioche. Full yet diaphanous. So much pleasure per sip. VGV (TC) 12% £29.95 Berry Bros & Rudd

Ployez-Jacquemart, Extra Brut Blanc de Blancs 2004 Champagne
17.5 Drink 2013-2020

Bright lemon. Creamy yuzu-lemon nose. Lemon leaf. Tightly mineral along a long elegant spine. Lovely green steak and chalky and firm and taut. Shimmering with acidity. Lipsmacking. Stunning. Slightly aloof – perhaps with time it might become a little more generous – but real long-legged elegance. (TC) 12%

£49.95 Berry Bros & Rudd