December 2nd: Philippe Michel Crémant du Jura

philippe michel cremant du jura aldi wine review

Wine Advent Calendar December 2nd: Philippe Michel Crémant du Jura

Day 2 of this wine advent calendar for 2016 and I’m on the fizz already.  Give me fizz any day of the week …. but because today is Friday, and its an advent wine calendar theme, then Friday Fizz for a Festive Flourish is an absolutely brilliant get-out clause. I think.

Today I’m opening the calendar door on Aldi’s Philippe Michel Crémant du Jura.

High Five to this crémant which sits on the sparkling wine shelves comfortable and confident with its own attractiveness. Bit like a girlie on a bus who knows she looks perfect.

Anyway – so this wine I popped in a tasting for friends just the other week. I’ve reviewed it quite often in my print column; I was interested to hear what my girlies would say.  (I have my pals trained to perfection in the art of “concentrating” before “slurping”.)

Philippe Michel Cremant du Jura
There it is in the middle, with the red band, awaiting its fate with the label disguised

Philippe Michel Crémant du Jura

What is it: It’s a sparkling white fizz. I think I mentioned that.

Where’s it from: The clue is in the word Jura – it’s a crémant from Jura in the far east of France. Find out more about Jura wines with this guide by Wink Lorch.

Hang on then, what does this crémant thing mean? Is it Champagne? No – its not Champagne as only the Champagne region can make sparkling wine and call it Champagne.

Other parts of France can make sparkling wines using the same traditional method as Champagne producers and they will use the grapes native to their areas. They just can’t call it Champagne – it is known as crémant.Philippe Michel Cremant du Jura Aldi wine review

There’s only a handful of crémants in France. Possibly the  most well-known is crémant de Loire. Get the idea? Sparkling wine from the Loire valley.

The grapes:  This wine is 100 per cent chardonnay. Because it is made in the same way as Champagne, the fermented base wine will have been added to the bottle with yeast and sugar for a second fermentation, aged, then the spent yeast removed, and the wine topped up with a mixture of wine and sugar before bottling.

Never mind the techie stuff: Ok. What does it taste like.  If you want to know what Aldi says on the vin … Fantastically crisp and elegant with green apples, perfect acidity and persistent bubbles and it has  a sophisticated subtlety with stimulating fresh citrus notes and a lovely length.

Anything else?: Yes. This is what my girlie pals said  and they didn’t know anything about the wine, price or where it was from).

Vanilla. Makes me go woo-ah. Lots of flavour.
It’s like the open air, fresh clean and bright.
Loved it but don’t think I could drink alot of it!
Nice fizzy apples.
Lots of apples. Refreshing
Apple, vanilla, cleansing on the palate. Tastes lovely.

They liked it. I do too.

The small print: It is 12% abv and you can buy in-store at £7.49 a bottle or a case of six online here.
Oh, and my girlies thought it was worth about £17.


Summer wine: Six wine choices for when the sun peeks out

Cruset Sparkling Blanc de Blancs NV summer wine

It’s sunny outside. I’m happy. At the risk of tempting fate, I bring you summer wine choices – two sparkling, two whites and two reds – to enjoy while the sun shines and as autumn beckons.

Summer wine to cheer up  a staycation

Beau Beaujolais 2014 (12.5% abv, Majestic,  £8.99 or £7.99 in a Mix Six deal) The dog was having a holiday haircut (it cost more than mine!) and I spotted a Majestic Wine Warehouse across the road which tempted me. I like to browse wine shops, not shoe shops. I left the store clutching this beaujolais, whose gamay grapes are grown in limestone hills north of Lyon. It’s the basic style of  all the Beaujolais appellations and does what it says on the vin – it has fresh red fruits on the nose, is very easy to drink with a raspberry ripple and a subtlety of spice.

Beau Beaujolais 2014 summer wines
Beau Beaujolais 2014

Domaine de Sainte Rose Coquille d’Oc Blanc 2014 (13% abv, Waitrose, £7.49) This wine is a blend of four grapes, with chardonnay and sauvignon blanc having the majority share, and viognier and muscat tugging at the tailcoats. This is a lovely white for summer, so it’s a shame the summer was evading me when I tried it. It has a mix of peach, citrus and floral notes on the nose and then to taste the grapes deliver a touch of their own characters, zesty, creamy, and with flavours of both stone and citrus fruits. Very drinkable.

Summer wine with sparkles

Cruset Sparkling Blanc de Blancs NV (11% abv, The Co-op, £5.99) The price and the “blanc de blancs” tempted me as the latter indicated quality, the former indicated a bargain. This is a French take on prosecco – simple unassuming bubbles with simple floral aromas and a simple citrus taste from a blend of chardonnay, airen and muscat. It was more like blank de blancs but pleasant enough.

Brown Brothers Cienna 2013 (6.5% abv,, £9.95) I sipped this spritzy Australian wine with ice cubes (I know, sacrilege) and flavours are akin to a sangria but without the oomph. The cienna grape  – created by scientists from cabernet sauvignon and sumoll – is at the heart of this sweet ruby-red wine laden with red berries and blackberries. It’s a pretty wine, and would be lovely with summer pudding or fruit-smothered meringue.

Summer wine from award-winning Wine Society

Léon Beyer Sylvaner 2014 (12% abv, £8.50) Sylvaner is  one of the main varieties in Alsace where it holds its head up higher than in Germany, where it is typically used in liebfraumilch. Ugh. This white has pear aromas, apple flavours, a hum of honey and  a savoury note. I’d cooked chicken stuffed with lemon and herbs and it was a perfect match.

Léon Beyer Sylvaner review
Léon Beyer Sylvaner

Altano Douro White 2015 (13% abv £9.99) Here is a bright white from Symington Family Estates which is better known as a key port producer. The wine is a blend of  fina, viosinho,  rabigato, códega de Larinho and moscatel galego, grown in the Douro Valley. It has vibrant aromas of  peach and pear and in the mouth those same stone fruit flavours sing with juiciness.  A decent acidity is a good counter-balance. A summer night must-have.

The society ( has won Online Retailer of the Year and Wine Merchant of the Year at the 2016 International Wine Challenge.

Summer wine … well, I like reds

Beronia Reserva 2011 (14% abv, Waitrose, Ocado, Majestic,, RRP £13.49) This wine notched up several wins at the 2016  IWC, picking up a gold medal, Great Value Red under £15 and trophies including the Rioja Reserva Trophy.

Beronia Reserva 2011 wine review
Beronia Reserva 2011

I guess the judges liked it then.  Tempranillo makes up the majority of this blend, with tiny contributions from graciano and mazuelo. It’s a wine you just want to keep breathing in. There’s so much to enjoy on the nose, from cloves, to fresh red fruits, chocolate and a snap of bracken.  A hearty sip is rewarded with a rounded, full bodied wine, still-fresh fruits, white pepper spice and soft tannins.

First Class Pinot Noir 2015  (14.5% abv, £7.99 or £5.99 in a buy six deal from Majestic). This pinot noir from the Bio Bio Valley in Chile is great value. A  light  pinot noir is perfect for a summer’s day and when  the sun peeked out this week I bought this from Majestic. Characterful red fruits and pepper spice cloud out of the glass and in the mouth they combine to race across your tastebuds without being overpowering.

First published in Raise a Glass, Trinity Mirror regionals August 2016

Liverpool Echo – South Wales Echo – Daily Post Wales – Huddersfield Examiner – The Chronicle, Newcastle – Teesside Evening Gazette – Birmingham  Mail – Coventry Telegraph – Paisley Daily Express