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 [...]

Laithwaites Theale Vineyard Sparkling Wine

I was impressed by this. It’s a limited-production sparkling wine from a vineyard at the headquarters of Laithwaites, one of the UK’s most successful wine merchants, located in Theale, near Reading, Berkshire.

There are just 704 Chardonnay vines here, planted in 1998. The 2006 vintage, which I am tasting here, was harvested on October 3rd and [...]

Video: tasting four pink sparkling wines

A short film of me tasting four pink Sparkling wines.

 

The wines:

Hush Heath Estate Balfour Brut Rosé 2008 England
(£34.99 Waitrose, Bibendumfinewine.com, Slurp.co.uk, Sparklingenglishwine.com)
Freixenet Cava Elyssia Rosé Pinot Noir NV Spain
(£14.99 Waitrose, Tesco)
Champagne Michel Arnould & Fils Grand Cru Brut Rosé NV France
(£25.40 Tanners (http://www.tanners-wines.co.uk, 01743 234500)
Graham Beck Brut Rosé NV South Africa
(£11.99 Slurp.co.uk 0208 [...]

Nice fizz from Laithwaites: Champagne and England

Two impressive sparkling wines from Laithwaites, both of which offer great value for money.

South Ridge English Quality Sparkling Wine 2008 England
12% alcohol. This is made by Ridgeview, one of the UK’s top 3 sparkling wine producers. It’s toasty and quite complex with intense citrus fruit characters as well as some spice and apple notes. There’s [...]

At the sparkling wine symposium

Just back from day 1 of the 2011 instalment of the International Sparkling Wine Symposium, held at Denbies wine estate in Dorking, Surrey.

I’m one of the organizing committee, so it was a day on duty, hoping things went well. Did they? Yes, absolutely. It was a great day.

I can’t hope to summarize proceedings adequately here (I’m tired, [...]

A name for English sparkling wine – the Britagne debate

There has recently been some debate about whether or not English sparkling wine needs a name, prompted by the release of Coates & Seely’s new fizz, for which they have coined the term Britagne. Here’s my take, delivered in nine points.

It is an important time for English sparkling wine. New vineyards will soon [...]