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.
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.