Curiously, the label makes no mention of the grape variety from which this wine is made. A quick search shows the answer to be Chardonnay, which means this is a blanc de blancs. So much more enticing, no?
In the end, I wanted to like this wine more than I did. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy it; in fact, it went quite well with a mid-week fish and chip fest. The disappointment for me here lies in this wine’s coarseness of texture, something that will hold any sparkling wine back, so dependent is the style on a certain finesse of spritz and delicacy of palate. No, this is full-throttle, more soft-drink than Champagne in terms of its mousse and bead.
On the plus side, there’s real flavour locked in this wine, the fruit clearly possessing a degree of power, if not subtlety. Almost tropical in character, this flavour profile is about as far away from Champagne as one might get, but I don’t believe that automatically devalues the style. What I miss from the model, though, is the savoury complexity that transforms the best sparkling wines from frivolous fun to something worth considering as more than a simple accompaniment to miniature deep fried food. There are hints of brioche and mushroom, but they don’t stand a chance against all that buxom fruit flavour and what appears to be a reasonably generous dosage. The after palate and finish are rich and clingy, not quite showing the freshness one might look for.
There are better value wines at this price point (the standard Brown Brothers springs to mind), but I am glad Windowrie is trying something new and upscale with this wine. The packaging is quite beautiful and, although it’s not pressing my Champagne-loving buttons, this is undeniably flavoursome and fun. I hope it finds an audience.