Why would you drink middling $45 Mumm when you can have this charismatic Clover Hill Vintage Release 2014 for the same price?
I know, it’s a rhetorical question, one that I’ve posed before (here), but I want to bring it up again because everyone needs to hear it again, and Australia Day (whatever the date is) provides a good opportunity to push the case of good Australian fizz over Champagne.
Clover Hill is particularly notable because the recent releases from this Tassie stalwart have been uniformly impressive, and this ’14 Brut is v. good. Yeasty nose, has quite some aftershave Pinot perfume, dry and quite sustaining palate has a sense of purpose and the acidity feels right too.
This is quite an accomplishment – it doesn’t have the perfect acid delicacy and subtle integrated sweetness of big house Champagne (in fact it’s just a little sweet and the acid is also a bit taut). But there is character, intensity of flavour, leesy development and a stamp of fruit here that means you come away feeling like this was made by a person (who gave a shit) in a vineyard. It’s not going to take down a bottle of delicious Veuve Fourny (see here), but you get the drift.
Piper at $50 at your local Dan’s or $38 on spec. for this Clover Hill – it’s an easy choice. The former is about keeping up with the (Champagne drinking) Joneses, the latter about getting a nice bottle of fizz.
Best drinking: good to go. 17.7/20, 92/100. 12%, $45. Clover Hill website. Would I buy it? Yeah.
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Andrew, funnily enough I was looking at gifts for a few workers at Christmas and was thinking precisely that question. Like you, I find the mass produced Champagne brands largely vin ordinaire, and I love Clover Hill, but in reality it comes down to how such gifts will be received, and for those not experienced in wine, a label always beats a good product. Sad, but true. Call it snob value, unfortunately.