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Breaky Bottom, Cuvée Réservée Brut, 2006

There are not many things I like more than a bad pun. Good wine is among them, of course. During rare moments of hilarity, good wines and bad puns come together. This can be in an intentional way, for instance when Mosel winemakers Haart name a Riesling "Haart to Heart". Other brands are unintentionally funny. And then there are good wines with bad puns that really only exist in my mind: when I moved to England I learned that the polite word for "ass" is "bottom" - and now whenever I hear the East Sussex winery "Breaky Bottom" mentioned I cannot help but giggle.

What a "breaky bottom" looks like I'd rather not imagine, but whatever vision I may now have planted in your brain just forget it. Your are looking at a serious sparkling wine that is neither bottom nor breaky.

And now that we have the German humour out of the way, let's look to East Sussex where Peter Hall planted his first vines in 1974. He is still there today and looks after Müller-Thurgau and Seyval Blanc vines. Since 1994, the latter (grown on chalky soil similar to the Champagne) is made into highly decorated sparkling wine. The 2006 Réservée is, like all Breaky Bottom sparklers, made according to the traditional (Champagne) method and was released in 2009.

Its bouquet has a lovely freshness, apple and some citrus, with yeasty cake elements, a touch of nutmeg, light flowery aromas and a faint, pleasant hint of cauliflower.

The Cuvée is equally fresh to drink, very lively, again with a touch of citrus and lovely apple. It has a vibrant core of lovely freshness, with a good finish that brings back memories of apple cake dough, a touch of mineral and citrus nutmeg. Something about it reminds me of Grüner Veltliner.

The interesting dynamic of this wine comes from the good balance between freshness (first) and a touch of biscuit/dough (later). The Breaky Bottom Cuvée is yet another reminder, if a reminder was needed, that England makes really good sparkling wines. No pun needed.

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