Ayala, based in Aÿ in the heart of Champagne, has been transformed since Bollinger bought it in 2005 and this nonvintage proves it. This is a balanced blend of 40% Chardonnay, 40% Pinot Noir and 20% Pinot Meunier. The result is crisp while not too dry, and therefore drinkable as an apéritif. Apple and bright citrus combine with green plums to give a fruity wine that is also structured. The cellarmaster continues to reduce the dosage (sugar) so there is a crisp, tight aftertaste.
Roger Voss covers Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, the Loire and South-West France as well as Portugal. His passion is matching food with wine, bringing the pleasures of the table to wine lovers. He has written six books on wine and food, and was previously national correspondent on wine for the London Daily Telegraph. He is based in the Bordeaux region.