You’ve all heard the news that homegrown is currently killing it in the fizz stakes – English sparkling wine brands are now frequently the go to bubbly at both a host of events and on many a wine bar or restaurant list.
With soil and weather conditions very similar to our pals in Champagne, it’s no surprise that with the right technique from some brilliant winemakers we are now putting out wines to rival those that have held the sparkling crown for centuries. English sparkling wines have taken the top spot at a number of blind tastings over the last couple of years, so even those with the most picky of palates are backing them. Given the price point for a really great bottle (you’re looking at no more than £40 – often entry level for Champagne) this is music to our ears.
We’ve picked out five you really should know about…
Camel Valley Pinot Noir Rosé Brut 2014 (Cornwall)
A winner of multiple awards and apparently a favourite of Dame Judi Dench (well that’s enough of an accolade for us) – salmon pink in colour with strawberry and raspberry notes, it’s easy drinking and delicious. RRP £27.
Hambledon Classic Cuvée (Hampshire)
This wine was top scorer in Noble Rot’s 2016 Champagne v English Sparkling Awards, and a firm favourite on many a wine list. Produced using both the same grapes and method as Champagne, it displays all the vibrant, fruity and complex flavours you would expect. A total win at RRP £28.50.
Nyetimber Classic Cuvée NV (Sussex)
The pioneer of English sparkling wines, and a London Wine Week stalwart, came second in the above mentioned Noble Rot tasting – also a blend of the three classic Champagne grapes and produced using the traditional method – they’ve been making wines now for 25 years so you can believe they’ve perfected their technique. RRP £30.
Balfour Blanc de Blancs 2010 (Kent)
A limited edition from Hush Heath estate - these guys make a number of wines and ciders and they do it very well. This wine is 100% chardonnay and was produced as a one-off – purely owing to the high quality of the chardonnay grapes that year. If you can manage to get your hands on some you really won’t be disappointed. £39 RRP.
Gusbourne Blanc de Blancs 2012 (Kent)
The flagship wine from an outstanding producer – made using hand selected 100% chardonnay grapes (predominantly cloned from Burgundy), and an extended aging period – it has both citrus and zest but also a buttery minerality that give it the perfect balance. A slightly higher price point than the rest on the list but worth every penny. RRP £40.