Bubbles are a must during party season. Toast this year’s festivities with a bottle of English
The new kid on the block
The first sparkling wine to come from Fulham winery, London CRU and two years in the making, this Extra Brut Traditional Method English Sparkling 2019 has been made from 100% Pinot Meunier grapes grown on a single vineyard in the North Downs of Kent.
The French but not
The climate in the South East of England is so suited to making sparkling wine that the French have been buying up land here, including Louis Pommery, which has planted vines at Pinglestone Estate, a 40-hectare site in Hampshire. While the Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Meunier grapes planted between 2017 and 2019 establish themselves Vranken-Pommery has released Louis Pommery England, its first English sparkling wine, sourcing grapes mainly from other vineyards in Hampshire. So, if you really can’t go without a bottle of champers at Christmas, then this is the perfect compromise.
The extra special
The French also tried to buy land at Squerryes in Westerham but the Warde family, who own the estate decide to have a go themselves, with pretty amazing results. Winner of Best English Sparkling wine and Best English Sparkling Blanc de Blancs at this year’s International Wine Challenge, Squerryes Blanc de Blancs 2014 Vintage is a bit of a masterpiece. In the words of Henry Warde it is, “the finest wine to have ever left our vineyard”. And to make it even more special, it’s available in magnum size!
This new English sparkling wine has been exclusively made by Henners Vineyard in Hertmonceaux, East Sussex, for Virgin Wines. The Sparkling Brut from the 2016 vintage is packed full of the classic traditional flavours, such as toasted, buttered brioche together the more unusual and vibrant fresh red apple and lemon nougat flavours.
From the village of Appledore in Kent, Gusbourne Rosé 2017 is a mouth-watering wine made from the classic Champagne blend of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier grapes. With a delicate pink appearance, it offers notes of soft berries and fresh pastry, with a lasting citrus streak. While rose is often reserved for the summer months, Gusbourne head winemaker, Charlie Holland says the wine serves equally as “an excellent choice for both alfresco summer feasts and cosy winter celebrations”.
The Sussex Sparkling
Home to 50 vineyards and 23 wineries, the county of Sussex is leading the way in producing some of the best English wine on the world stage. Indeed, Sussex wines have become so revered that a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) was established as a mark of quality; an initiative led by Rathfinny Co-owner, Mark Driver. It seems fitting then to serve up a Sussex Sparkling at Christmas and we love none other than Rathfinny’s signature sparkling, Blanc de Noirs, which boasts enough depth to pair perfectly with wintery main-courses such as roast chicken, turkey, venison and duck.