New Zealand versus England: battle of the bubbles
Sparkling wines from New Zealand tasted blind
against English fizz
was a really interesting tasting. To tie in with the New Zealand
versus England cricket match at the World Cup (I'm not
saying anything more about this game), a fun chance to pit teams
of English and Kiwi sparkling wines at each other, blind. The
tasting was also held in New Zealand with the same wines.
knew which wines had been selected (12 in each team), but we didn't
know the order, or which team was which. In the end, it was pretty
easy to tell the teams apart. As a contest? Well, it depends on your
preference in terms of sparkling wines. The English wines had higher
acidity, were a bit more serious and were a bit more expensive. The
New Zealand wines were fruitier and more accessible, and well priced
– I guess many of these were in the £8-15 price bracket while the
English bottles were £20+.
would say, however, that both teams were works in progress. English
sparkling wine is in its infancy, and while New Zealand probably has
more experience with fizz, the direction many of the wines have
taken has likely been dictated by commercial constraints – what
people are willing to pay for the wines.
Using the scoring system that the New Zealand tasting adopted (wine
1A versus wine 1B, etc) my scores were England 10.5, New Zealand
1.5. Kind of opposite to the actual cricket outcome!
Family Estate No 1 Cuvée Blanc de Blancs NV Marlborough, New Zealand
I tried two bottles of this and wasn't happy with either: there was
just a faint hint of uncleanness – a sort of musty taint in the
background. Lemony, herby and bright. Quite pure fruit but there's
something not quite right under the surface? 82/100
Rewa Blanc de Blancs 2011 Marlborough, New Zealand
Lively, fruity with pear and white peach fruit. Very fruity and full
with fresh pear fruiton the palate. Nice precision here. 90/100
Deutz Marlborough Cuvée Blanc de Blancs 2009 Marlborough, New
Very subtle herby edge to the ripe pear and apple fruit, and a bit
of lemon. Very pure with nice texture. A fruity style with nice
Daniel Le Brun Blanc de Blancs 2009 Marlborough, New Zealand
Fresh, lively and vivid with nice citrus and pear fruit. Good
acidity with subtle herbal hints. Vivid and fresh. 87/100
Hunters Miru Miru NV Marlborough, New Zealand
Lively and fresh with some subtle herbal notes, citrus, some pear.
Nice texture. This is quite a structured wine. 88/100
Osawa Prestige Cuvée Méthode Traditionelle NV Hawkes Bay, New
There's a lactic, creamy edge to the nose, with some buttery notes.
Lively and rounded, and very fruity with toasty creamy depth. Nice
weight in the mouth. 90/100
Brut 2009 Marlborough, New Zealand
Creamy and quite rich with subtle toastiness, and attractive pear
and peach fruit. It is a distinctive, wine with a soft creamy edge.
Very appealing. 89/100
Quartz Reef Méthode Traditionelle 2009 Central Otago, New Zealand
Lovely vivid, fresh fruity nose. Very stylish with a subtle toasty
edge. Classy, textured, rounded fruit here. Very stylish. 90/100
Seresin Moana Blanc 2009 Marlborough, New Zealand
Herby, slightly cabbage edge to the fresh, lively citrus fruit.
Distinctive, bright and fruity. 87/100
Lindauer Special Reserve Brut Cuvée NV New Zealand
Light pink edge to the colour. Tight, fresh and citrussy with some
herby notes. Vivid, high acid palate with nice purity. 89/100
Nautilus Cuvée Brut NV Marlborough, New Zealand
Very fruity and direct with bright citrus and some pear fruit. A
fruity style with some pithy notes. 86/100
Akarua Rosé Brut NV Central Otago, New Zealand
Faint pink colour. Lively and toasty with nice fruit and some
richness. Lovely fruit here: citrus, pear and a hint of cherry.
Fruit driven and appealing. 88/100
Wiston South Downs Blanc de Blancs NV England
bright and fresh with lovely precise citrus fruit and some ripe
apple. Pure with goood acidity. Linear and youthful 90/100
Coates and Seely Blanc de Blancs NV England
bright, fresh, linear and pure with keen citrus fruit and subtle
toastiness. Classy and pure: serious. 92/100
Bluebell Hindleap Blanc de Blancs 2010 England
Creamy and bold with nice citrus and grapefruit characters. Lovely
acidity with subtle whisky notes. 89/100
Nyetimber Blanc de Blancs 2007 England
keen, bright lemony acidity but also some ripe apple and pear notes.
Fine toastiness and a hint of sweetness. Distinctive. 90/100
Plumpton The Dean Brut NV England
Lively and vivid with lovely purity. A linear wine with fine citrus
fruit and a hint of toast. Pure, balanced and sophisticated with
ripe apple character. 92/100
Hambledon Classic Cuvée NV England
Fine, creamy, toasty nose. Very stylish with vivid citrus fruit and
lovely depth, kept fresh with keen acidity. Powerful. 91/100
Sugrue Pierre South Downs 2011 England
fine pure pear and citrus fruit. Quite linear and primary.
Deliciously textured and fruited with well integrated acidity.
Wyfold Brut 2010 England
Powerful, intense and vivid with a creamy, toasty character and
lively lemony acidity. Powerful with some herbal notes and a toasty
Henners Brut Reserve 2010 England
Vivid, pure and fresh with subtle toast and herb notes. Nice
intensity here. Very citrussy with high acidity. 89/100
Ambriel English Reserve Demi Sec NV England
Attractive pure pear and citrus fruit with some richness on the
nose, and even a hint of melon. The palate is rich, ripe, vivid and
powerful with a sweet character to the fruit. A seductive style.
Camel Valley White Pinot 2010 England
Very fresh, pure fruity style. Delicate with nice apple, pear and
citrus fruit. Nice purity. 88/100
Heath Estate Balfour Brut Rosé 2010 England
pink. Fresh, vivid and focused with nice purity to the citrus and
pear fruit. There's a hint of cherry too. Very attractive with high
acidity and a hint of herbiness. 90/100
Central Otago, New Zealand (series)
Martinborough, New Zealand (series)
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