Chandon Sparkling Brut, Argentina
South America produces a lot of sparkling wine for home consumption - wineries in Brazil, Chile and Argentina have strong local markets, with plenty of people looking to crack open some fizz given the slightest excuse, dropping of hats included. Though we do occasionally see sparkling wines from South America on our shelves, they have tended to be pretty rare and often at the cheaper end of the spectrum. Now, the French Chandon company (part of the luxury good giant LVMH and producers of Moet et Chandon Champagne amongst others) has brought this very high quality wine to the UK from their Argentinean outpost.
Made from Champagnes famous twin grapes, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, at its list price of almost £20 it would be tough to recommend - not that it is not good enough, arguably, just that at £20 there's a lot of competition not only from Champagne, but from English sparklers, the best of the New World and up and coming regions like Franciacorta in Italy. At the offer price, however, it really is a bargain, with lots of toast, nuttiness and honey from long ageing on the lees, really ripe Chardonnay fruit of baked apple pie and lemon, and a palate that is delightfully dry and refined. It has plenty of fruit and flavour edging into the tropical, but it finishes with terrifically crisp acidity, a racy mousse, and a long, elegantly tapering finish. A very good buy reduced from its normal £19.49 at Majestic, down to £12.99 from July 1 - August 4, 2014.