#newwinethisweek Week 21 – English Sparkling Wine
We didn’t need an excuse to go for English fizz but we thought it was appropriate to wait for English Wine Week to unveil our second fizz on #newwinethisweek. English Sparkling Wine has gone from strength to strength over the past decade but the reality is that England has a long and rich history of bubbly production. It is claimed that Christopher Merrett, a 17th century cider maker from Gloucester, first devised the fermentation method which gives champagne its sparkle as well as inventing the hefty bottles that are needed to prevent the highly pressurised liquid from exploding… Whether its true or not, it certainly leads to plenty of debate in the wine world!
At the beginning of 2010, English Sparkling Wine was again the talk of the wine community when Nyetimber‘s Classic Cuvée 2003 from Sussex, was named best bubbly on the planet, beating off competition from the greatest Champagne houses at the World Sparkling Wine Championships in Verona. And the awards have kept on coming, with wines from Camel Valley, Gurbourne, Chapel Down and many other producers claiming major prizes at the most prestigious wine competitions.
So what makes England such a great place for producing sparkling wine? To begin with, the vineyards of Kent and West Sussex are less than 100 miles north of Champagne and share the same chalky soils as the famous French fields. Climate change has also been beneficial to England, particularly the southern counties, allowing for a longer ripening season and better quality fruit. The soil, the climate, increased experience and the adoption of the very latest technologies have all come together in wonderful unison to produce some of the very best Sparkling Wine available anywhere in the world.
The grapes used for English Sparkling Wines are predominately the famous varieties grown in Champagne: Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and, less so, Pinot Meunier. The other variety making a name for itself is the early ripening Seyval Blanc which produces wines with a delightful combination of citrus and minerality.
Luckily for us, it also appears the UK supermarkets are realising there is plenty of demand for English wine so there are options available to us all on our weekly shop:
But if you want to choose from the best range on English Sparkling wines then get yourself down to The Wine Pantry at Borough Market, where you can pick up my favourite bottle of English fizz:
So celebrate English Wine Week in style and tell us how you rate English Sparkling Wine… it’s going to be a great week!