Sip a glass of Domaine Carneros Brut without looking at the label and tell me where it’s from.
One of the lesser known Champagne houses? Perhaps one of the excellent English bottles of fizz that are now being produced?
It’s got that same elegance, dry tang and multi-layered depth of flavour.
And it’s clearly made by the traditional method using the usual Champagne grapes.
But there’s something rounder and maybe a little more generous about its flavour.
It’s neither French nor English.
It’s made in the Napa Valley in California from organic grapes by the great Champagne house Taittinger.
It was the first of many fine California bottles opened during an evening at the High Field gastro-pub in Edgbaston led by the wine consultant and educator Laura Clay.
Next up to accompany a simple green salad with feta were glasses of Peltier Road Sauvignon Blanc 2016 and J. Lohr Monterry Chardonnay 2015.
The sauvignon was a revelation for those growing weary of a grape that’s too often used to make wines that are simply too astringent.
This was crisp, with lots of tropical fruit and floral notes, but a lot more restrained than many sauvignons.
At £7.50 a bottle from the Wine Society, it’s a massive summer bargain.
The buttercup yellow J. Lohr Monterry Chardonnay 2015 likewise was a delight.
This was a weightier wine displaying the grape’s spicy and fruity notes, with a buttery mouth-feel.
With lamb came a Bogle Vineyards Petite Syrah 2014 – a playful wine with lots of sweet dark fruit and a touch of oak.
Alongside was a heartier beast – Rutherford Hill Barrel Select 2013.
This for me was the evening’s star.
A complex wine made with the grapes used in Bordeaux, it showed blackberry, plum and chocolate favours, and no small amount of elegance.
The evening rounded off with the restrained sweet pleasures of Elysium Black Muscat 2015, a great match for a coconut panna cotta with passionfruit.
Throughout Laura pitched her presentation perfectly – providing fascinating information and revealing her passion for her field of expertise.
Find out more about Laura at http://www.bywine.co.uk/about/