More than just floral, frothy fun, this is single-vineyard Prosecco. That means fresh apple and pear flavours, and aromas of rose and almond. A gorgeous aperitif but also lovely with lighter starters or fish.
The mark of great Champagne is the ‘mouth-filling perfume’ that lingers on your palate. You’ll find it here, with a sleek, elegant freshness followed by a long and floral complexity. A perfect wine for lovers of lift, grace and harmony.
The wine that caused a revolution. Not only because of the sweep of berries, cherry and currants. Or the freshness and precision that marks the palate. But also the elegant, historic presentation and vibrant salmon-pink colour. It’s lovely with pink food. Think salmon and prawn.
Against a backdrop of established producers, Olivier Horiot only began making Champagne in 2004 (still wines in 2000). This quirky, fruity blend is has the classic tio of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, as well as Arbanne and Pinot Blanc. It’s fragrant and brisk and deliciously different too.
This isn’t just great sparkling wine. It’s not just great English sparkling wine. This is a historic wine, from one of the most important estates in the development of English fizz. The dried and fresh fruit character, the toasty brioche, the succulent fizz on the palate; it’s delicious. It’s also a seriously classy wine, rivalling the greatest sparklers from around the world.
A sparkling addition to the Gamay revolution. Wine people have become quite animated by Gamay, the grape of Beaujolais. Bit it’s rarely fizzy, which is a pity, because it makes fun, vibrant and vivid wines like this retro-cool pink number. It’s all about the grapey, raspberry fruit rather than lingering toasted brioche and bags of fun. I like it with curry.
Look our for Bugey. There’s an awful lot of talk about the lesser-known sparkling wine appellations in France, but some are at best just a poor echo of Champagne. This is genuinely different, especially made like this with Altesse and Mondeuse, rare varieties from Eastern France. The Armagnac is optional but highly recommended.
Vintage sparkling wines are less a reflection of the house style than the vintage. 2007 wouldn’t strike you as an auspicious year – floods in June and July led to one of the biggest rescue efforts in peacetime Britain. But by October the fruit was ripe enough to make this delicious apple and brioche scented wine. It’s evolving into a complex and multi-layered treat now. Enjoy with fine fish and even white meat dishes, like a sparkling white Burgundy. You won’t regret it.
Hush Heath definitely contends as England’s finest rose fizz producer and for much of its life, that was all they did. The rich aromas of strawberries and currants are complemented by wild flowers and spice. The character of Pinot Noir shines through, from one of Kent’s most famous vineyards. I love this with food. I even had it once (deliciously) with a traditional pork pie.
High in the hills above Venice is a line of vineyards that make Prosecco. At their heart is the fabled ridge of Cartizze. The Bisol family are the biggest owners (it’s one of the most expensive vineyards in the world) making Prosecco like you’ve never tried before. The characteristic pear and peach soft fruit, but here with complex wild flowers and sweet almond spice. Truly one of the world’s greatest aperitif wine.
There’s a wonderful combination of the traditional and modern at Hattingley. It is the UK’s first winery to use solar power, and yet sits in quintessentially English countryside. But you can taste the innovation; here they use some oak barrels (like mighty Krug and Bollinger) to give the wine a softer, complex mouthfeel and structure. Truly delicious fizz.
Jenkyn Place is one of the newer estates in England, made in Hampshire where there are some of the country’s finest soils and climates for wine production. It has a slightly exotic touch to the aromas, particularly of quince and a hint of tropical fruit, whilst the palate is focussed on being silky and refined rather than rich and heady. By a couple of bottles and lay one down to see how it ages for the next 3-5 years.
Nyetimber is one of the most highly regarded names in English sparkling wine and the Classic Cuvee is the heart of the range. Delicate, refined and blending the lift of citrus fruit with the richness of almond, honey and toast from its ageing. It’s perhaps best as an aperitif wine although lighter dishes are a great match too. Taste the future of globally-important sparkling wine.
English wine is a not a new thing, and Bolney was established in 1972 and looks to New Zealand for inspiration, as an estate that specialises in reds. This is the estate’s divine pink fizz suffused with strawberry fruit and a mouth-coating yeasty richness. That fruit gives it the weight to match with food. For a particularly delicious and interesting combination try it with really good Chinese food.
There’s a special place reserved in the future histories of English Sparkling wine for Bob Lindo and multi-award winning Camel Valley. Cornwall’s largest winery makes exquisite, refined and delicious sparkling wines, and this is the classic. It’s led the way for others, but few match this delicious fizz, and now Champagne producers will be looking to him and son Sam for tips.
Sparkling Shiraz is exactly that. A deep red, lightly spicy sparkler. It’s also an Australian institution. Peter Lehmann is a Barossa institution too and he makes one of the best. It’s a bit confusing at first – yes it’s chilled and red, and a bit sweet, and fruity but not tannic… but just go with it. Australians love to serve this at barbecues and it does work well with burgers and spicy wings. But I love it most with a really good curry.
If you watch Episode Eight and do not try Lambrusco you are brain-dead with ghastliness. I spurn you with my toe. This is vivacious, eager and irrepressibly fruity. Absolutely… it’s a bit sweet and fizzy, that’s the point. But you must trust the people of Emilia-Romagna, who’ve spent centuries matching this to tortellini, pasta, salami, cheeses and antipasti. It’s gorgeous.
If you haven’t had this and a curry you haven’t lived. Sparkling reds are a proud Aussie tradition, often served at barbecues. But the combination of rich, ripe, dense fruit, supple tannins, spice and then balanced by refreshing fizz (served cool just like a Champagne) makes this perfect with a lamb rogan josh or vegetable curry. I take it to my favourite Bring-Your-Own curry restaurant in Bradford. A great night out.