Two fizzes tasted blind - Franciacorta from Majolini and Champagne from A.R. Lenoble

We ended up with a couple of bottles of fizz at dinner with friends recently, so we decided to do them blind for fun (yes, those are the kinds of friends I keep). In short, the Franciacorta scored highly on character. The Champagne delivered a slightly smoother ride, but was a little more straighforward. Both are good value fizzes, with the Majolini delivering a lot of interest for £22 (Bat and Bottle).

A.R. Lenoble Brut 'Intense' N.V. , Champagne

Pretty much a 3-way split between Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Meunier, 25% oak fermentation and 5 g/l dosage. Lovely ripe apple and spice on the nose, fresh and vivid. Some texture right through the palate here with good balance and a touch of vanilla. Lovely and approachable. Good value at around £30. 88/100

Majolini Brut Millesimato 2010, Franciacorta

90% Chardonnay, 10% Pinot Noir. I'm not sure how long this has had either on lees or post-disgorgement, but it's showing some interesting development. Intense grapefruit and citrus character on the nose, going towards tropical fruits laced with bitter herbs and honey. Sweet quince preserve adds to the complexity, as does that slightly pithy character on the palate. It does work well, though it's not completely harmonious. I would probably have had this a bit younger. Distinctive and very enjoyable. 87/100

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