Each of the past few vintages this Clover Hill has looked a little more serious, a little more definitive and a little more age-worthy. Nature hasn't always helped, but the winemaking is unquestioned, supported by a level of detail and care not typically given to under $50 sparkling wines. Think ageing on oak foudres, 3 years on lees and lowish dosage. Serious winemaking...
It smells serious too. Very correct and dry with latent power. It looks a bit lean actually, a wine that needs more time to show its best. Palate too is dry and just a little withdrawn, the Chardonnay more dominant but without the trademark white flower prettiness you'd expect. Too dry and dense? Needs 2 years to show its best and promises much. Very smart.
Score: 17.5/20 91/100+
Would I buy it? I'd go the slightly more expensive blanc de blancs but this is still classy stuff.