Another new English sparkling wine, Digby Fine English

Here’s another new English sparkling wine. It’s cleverly branded, and the winemaker is Dermot Sugrue, a specialist sparkling winemaker who worked for Nyetimber for three years. Dermot is now based at Wiston Estate and does contract winemaking for a number of operations. I like this wine a lot, although it’s still pretty primary. Perhaps taking an ‘NV’ [...]

Ambriel Classic Cuvee, a new English sparkling wine

Now this is interesting. It’s the first release of a new English sparkling wine, called Ambriel. It comes from a 9.5 hectare vineyard in West Sussex, planted as recently as 2008, so this is the first crop from those vines. Considering this, it’s fantastic. It’s a blend of 70% Chardonnay, 27% Pinot Noir and 3% [...]

Hoffmann & Rathbone, a new English Sparkling wine

Impressed by this new English sparkling wine from Hoffmann & Rathbone. Mine was bottle 84 of just 1500! It’s predominantly Pinot Noir with a bit of barrel-fermented Chardonnay, and it’s beautifully packaged. It comes from West Sussex.

Hoffmann & Rathbone Rose Reserve 2010 Sussex, England
Bright pink in colour with a hint of orange. Lovely vivid cherry [...]

Graham Beck Blanc de Blancs 1997

This MCC (Methode Cap Classique, a term used for traditional method sparkling wines from South Africa) deserves a post of its own. It’s 15 years old (almost 16) and it’s drinking beautifully, with no sign of tiredness.

Graham Beck Brut Blanc de Blancs 1997 Robertson, South Africa
50% of this was fermented in barrels, and it spent [...]

Some thoughts about Cava, and Raventos leaving

Cava is, sadly, not cool.

The news that one of the leading producers of Cava, Raventos, is to leave the Cava appellation has shocked a lot of people. [Aside: ‘appellaton’ is a bad word for it, because Cava is not a geographical designation, even though the vast majority of its production is from the Penedes region [...]

Some festive fizz, and fun quotes

It’s always a good time for sparkling wine and Champagne. Christmas gives me that extra prompt to open bottles though, and to seek out the company of those who also like to bring out the bubbles. Here are some fizz highlights of the last few days.

First, a couple of Christmas day quotes. I was at [...]

Recaredo: world-class Cava?

Great discovery today, made at Les Caves de Pyrene’s sparkling tasting. Recaredo. World-class Cava, something that many wine nuts didn’t think was possible.

The secret to Recaredo’s wines? Biodynamic viticulture and long ageing on lees, on the cork. During this lees ageing they carry out Poignetage, a shaking of the bottle to spread out the lees. Riddling and [...]

Two very nice sparkling wines: New Zealand and England

Two very nice sparkling wines: one from Kiwi land and one from over here. Both pretty serious, and not expensive.

Huia Blanc de Blancs 2005 Marlborough, New Zealand
I’d been very impressed by the 2004, so I was keen to try this, the follow-on vintage. Just as good. Attractive, rich, toasty nose with a sweet creamy edge. [...]

A brilliant Kiwi sparkling wine from Huia

I recently wrote up the 2004 Huia Blanc de Blancs. Very favourably.

The 2005 is the current vintage, and the good news is that this is also exceptional.

Huia Blanc de Blancs 2005 Marlborough, New Zealand
12.5% alcohol. The base wine is aged in French oak. Very attractive rich toasty nose with a sweet creamy edge. The palate [...]

A really good Kiwi fizz: Huia Blanc de Blancs 2004

New World sparkling wine isn’t my happiest hunting ground. But this is really good: full flavoured, complex, intense. I can’t find any UK stockists, but I reckon it will come in about the same price as Pelorus, the sparkling wine from Cloudy Bay.

Huia Blanc de Blancs 2004 Marlborough, New Zealand
A sparkling Chardonnay with the base [...]