December 8th: Extra Special Louis Bernard Premier Cru Champagne

Asda Extra Special Louis Bernard Premier Cru Champagne review

Wine Advent Calendar December 8th: Extra Special Louis Bernard Premier Cru Champagne

It’s my daughter’s birthday today which calls for FIZZ. I know it’s Thursday but I can’t think of a better excuse. Look, tomorrow’s Friday so I’ll do fizz again. That’s a good excuse too.

I’m coming down from a couple of weeks of mega-tasting prosecco and champagne and cava and all sorts of things that have bubbles in them. Partly for my Christmas print columns, partly for a mega taste test double page piece on Christmas bubbles and partly because – well I like bubbles.

Tell you what though – two things.

I pour bubbles down the sink when I’m in proper tasting mode and don’t really think what I’m doing. But one morning this week I woke up and reflected on how bloody lucky I am. I can do this thing, taste amazing fizzy wines to enjoy at Christmas (and some not so amazing truth be told) and then construct some words and put them in a certain order that makes sense and share them with someone like you (whoever you are – hello, you still there?)

But some people can’t afford food at Christmas, let alone fizz. That’s very humbling and its worth a moment of reflection. Help someone like that if you can,  if only by gifting a smile.

The second thing – on a lighter note – this fizz is one of the nicest I’ve tasted in that cacophony of bubbles. A blast of bubbles.  A fizzangeroonie of fizz.  A woosh of oooooohs.

It’s here. I’ll tell you more and explain the hearts in a minute.

Extra Special Louis Bernard Premier Cru Champagne

What is it: It’s a champagne from Asda. Yes, Asda. 

Where’s it from: All champagnes come from Burgundy in France. By French wine law, they’re not allowed to come from anywhere else, although other sparkling French wines can be made in the same way. Here’s the geography stuff.Asda Extra Special Louis Bernard Premier Cru Champagne review

I’ll tell you some more: I’ve already mentioned in this wine advent calendar countdown that I took some fizzies to a staying-in girlie night (see Aldi’s sparkles from December 2).  I was fed up of pouring wines down the sink, so I wanted to share the love / the life-changing luck / and I like making my pals my guinea pigs and sharing some nuggets of wine info whether they listen or not.

At the end of the night I gave them some little sticky hearts to pop on the wines they loved the best and Extra Special Louis Bernard Premier Cru Champagne came out tops. By far. I’ll save the Skinny Prosecco verdict for another blog #absolutelynostars #defiantlynostars

The grapes: Three grape varieties can be used in Champagne – this is a blend of two of them pinot noir (78%) and chardonnay (22%). They were hand picked from vines averaging about 20 years old.

What of the taste? I can be boring and give you my descriptions, but I’ll share my girlie mates’ words because they don’t have to prove themselves as wine critics. They tell it like it is.

Very sharp, nice and dry. You can tell it’s not prosecco.
Real bubbly. Easy drinking. Nice aroma. Lip smacking good!
Real depth to the smell. Could sit and sniff it all day. Citrus and apples, cinnamon.
Ticks all the boxes. Very sparkly – loads of bubbles. Smells of vanilla – very easy drinking – I’ve now fallen out with cava!
Vanilla, brioche, apple crumble.
Lovely aftertaste tangtastic but a little dry for me.

Tickles your nose, sharp, lovely. Top of the pops. Leaves your mouth in a state of ecstasy.
Keeps the fizz well. If they could put that smell in a candle I would buy it!!

That enough for you?

The small print: It is 12.5% abv. This Asda champers is £15 as I write (Christmas prices) – it has an RRP of £19.75.

The best bit: I didn’t tell you it was an award winner – I didn’t tell the girlies either. Yes indeedy – Extra Special Louis Bernard Premier Cru Champagne picked up two cracking awards this year including Great Value Champagne under £22.


Camper Vin is wine for campers and festival-goers. But what’s it like?

camper vin wine review boutinot

Camper Vin is one of those things you wish you’d thought of first.

I spend many a summer’s day in a wet field in a rain-battered caravan. It’s no wonder then that Camper Vin – a box of wine new on our shelves – caught my eye.

I’ve often laboured long and hard – gritting my teeth through the pain – of tasting wines and writing about them while rain needles play percussion on the caravan roof of our north Wales bolthole.

camper vin doggie
But mum it’s wet outside …

Camper Vin (13% abv, £13, Asda) is a box of wine marketed towards people who enjoy festivals, camping, caravans and  picnics. I like the word play and the box is designed with the image of a camper van. If you enjoy camping, caravanning, or getting wet at festivals, then what’s not to love.

Sadly I made a right performance of opening the thing – I’m one of those people who rips apart Christmas presents and puts together gadgets without reading the instructions first.

After  bit of a palaver (and this was probably just me being heavy-handed) I was all set up.  Now then –  about the wine.

Well it’s a box of  2016 chenin blanc produced by  Boutinot’s wine-making team in the Western Cape, South Africa. It’s a pale straw colour and the aromas are quite simple – apple and citrus – then to taste,  citrus zips along and is nicely refreshing. Not a mind-blower but good for a wet field.

The box (2.25 litres, the equivalent of three bottles of wine) is available in Asda from August 25  for about six weeks.

  • Pop your postcode into this link to find out where you can buy Camper Vin near you.  Good luck!!

camper vin wine boutinot

Camper Vin: Some camping stats

  • According to the Caravan Club of GB, there are today around 130,000 camper vans and motorhomes on the UK roads (Caravan Club of GB).
  • A Visit England GB Tourism Survey says that 10.6 million camping and caravanning trips were enjoyed in England between January and September 2015.
  • There are over 1,000 UK-based festivals listed on this year.