Wiston Estate Cuvée Rosé NV England - impressive pink fizz

I was very impressed by this pink English sparkling wine. It’s a non-vintage blend made by Dermot Sugrue. It’s 50% Pinot Noir (about 12% of this is red wine for colour), 40% Pinot Meunier and 10% Chardonnay. Base wines are mostly stainless steel fermented, but there are some old barrels used, too. The base vintage [...]

More Christmas wines: the English contribution

These were three English wines that took part in yesterday’s festivities. The first two were served blind.

Hambledon Vineyard Classic Cuvée NV Hampshire, England
Tasted blind I reckoned this was a fine Blanc de Blancs – either a grower Champagne or English! Very fine, bright and lemony with lovely acidity. Pure and refined with amazing clean, sharp [...]

Taittinger becomes the first Champagne house to buy vineyards in England

Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger, Patrick McGrath and Westminster Abbey archivist Tony Trowles at today’s press conference

English sparkling wine has been a talking point for a while now. There’s no doubting that there is some very good English fizz being made, as the recent Noble Rot tasting showed. But today there was a further boost to the [...]

Exton Park: another top quality English sparkling wine producer

Exton Park is based in the Meon Valley, in Hampshire’s South Downs. With its chalky soils, this area is rapidly becoming a hot spot for sparkling wine production, with Hambledon and Coates & Seely close by.

The first vineyards at Exton Park were planted in 2003. In 2009, just as a second planting phase had taken [...]

Black Dog Hill: an interesting new English sparkling wine

This is the first release from a new English sparkling wine producer, Black Dog Hill. This is a vineyard based in Ditchling, East Sussex, at the foot of the South Downs. Here, the three Champagne varieties are grown on chalky soils, and the 5 hectares of vines were planted in 2007.

This wine was disgorged in [...]

Video: an introduction to English sparkling wine

It’s an exciting time for English sparkling wine. I shot this short segment as an introduction for a blind tasting that was being held in Vancouver, including the first English fizz to be imported into Canada (Coates & Seely, through Lifford). But I thought I’d also share it here. It’s a quick 5 minute summary [...]

English sparkling wine versus Champagne - the Noble Rot tasting - my results

I mentioned a while back that I’d taken part in a tasting of English sparkling wine versus Champagne. Organized by counter-culture wine publication Noble Rot, it pitted a carefully selected quartet of English fizz against four very good grower Champagnes, and four very good Grand Marque Champagnes. It was a fair fight: all three quartets [...]

Camel Valley Pinot Noir Rosé Brut 2012 England

2012 was an absolute shocker of a vintage across southern England. It was just too cool, and then the season ran out of heat. The result? Many wineries just didn’t pick any grapes at all. Remarkably, Camel Valley have produced something very appealing from this rather difficult year. It even won a Gold medal at [...]

So just how good is English sparkling wine? A blind tasting

I took part in a brilliant tasting today, organized by Noble Rot magazine. Alas, there’s an embargo, so I can’t tell you the outcome or list the wines involved, but I can share some pictures and give a little commentary.

So, the tasting was pitting four of the best English sparkling wines (and the Noble Rot [...]

2014 releases from London Cru

Urban winery LDN CRU (London Cru) are just about to release their 2014s. It’s the second vintage at this exciting project, based near Earl’s Court in West London, and I’m pleased to say that the wines are even better than the 2013s, which were already very good. I caught up with winemaker Gavin Monery at [...]