Our wines of the week

(by peter & susie)

We’re fully aware how hard it is to avoid talk of the royal wedding, so we thought we’d theme this piece loosely around celebration rather than anything particularly regal or British.

There are plenty of excuses right now to crack open special bottles in celebration of one thing or another. We’ve just had Easter, many people in the UK are currently enjoying an unseasonally long holiday owing to the two bank holidays in a row, and it’s great weather. The mood is buoyant – and long may it remain so in 2011.

It also just so happens that we have been tasting more than our fair share of fizz lately, so we’re in a good position to pick out a few wines that will fit the celebration bill very well indeed.

First up is the Jacquart Oenotheque Champagne Brut 2000, currently on a special deal in Majestic at £20.

It’s rare to pick up a big-name non-vintage champagne these days at much under £30, so this bready, nutty vintage fizz, with an elegantly refreshing palate, is a real bargain. It maybe lacks some of the richness, thrill and depth of other 2000 vintage champagnes, but it’s brilliant at the price. Snap it up while you can (which is what we did when we were in shopping for other things…)

If you want a piece of the royal action, then you could also try the ever-elegant Pol Roger Réserve NV Champagne, which Majestic are reducing from £33 to £24.99 until Monday 2nd May.

This offer is presumably designed to tie in with the reports that this very wine will be served at the wedding banquet on Friday. Either way, it’s still a good deal for this wonderfully yeasty, lemony and entirely self-assured fizz.

(You can read both our tasting notes on this Pol Roger NV by clicking through to Our Big Champagne Review. We’d equally recommend Pol’s 2000 vintage, also reviewed in this piece, which Majestic have at £35 – well worth it.)

It’s also worth noting that Marks & Spencer are currently running a 25% discount on all wines when you buy 6 or more in store until Monday 2nd May.

We’d recommend the Ridgeview Marksman Brut Blanc de Blancs 2008 (£17.60 down from £22) and the Balfour Brut Sparkling Rosé 2006 (£28 down from £34.99). Both of these are reviewed very positively in Susie’s recent blind tasting of top UK fizz. The former is full, rich and racy, with flavours of bruised apples. The latter is lighter and more easy-going, very elegantly made.

Finally, if you want to go overboard with your nationalistic fervour on Friday, we couldn’t resist flagging up the opportunistic bid by champagne house Pommery to piggy back on the royal wedding celebrations.

Pommery Pop – their mini-bottle format – has been daubed in the Union Flag colours and can be yours for £258 inc VAT for 24 bottles of 20cl (down from the usual price of £285.60).

I’m afraid we didn’t rate the Pommery non-vintage fizz in our recent champagne review (it crept into the list of ‘duds’ at the end). But then again with a bottle like this, the quality of the wine inside may not be of paramount importance…

On a final note, if you’re around on Saturday morning, don’t forget to tune into Saturday Kitchen on BBC1 from 10am to see Susie in action choosing wines to go with some delicious quail by Marcus Wareing as well as an anchovy/artichoke double whammy courtesy of Francesco Mazzei.