Some new English sparkling wines: Jenkyn Place, Ashling Park, Leckford, Westwell and South Ridge

Some notes on five very good English sparkling wines recently tasted.

Jenkyn Place Classic Cuvée Brut 2013 Hampshire, England
Jenkyn Place is a 12 acre vineyard on the south facing slope of the North Downs in Hampshire. It produces just sparkling wines from the classic Champagne varieties, and the first vines were planted 13 years ago, so they are now showing some maturity. 12% alcohol, 10.6 g/l TA, pH 3.04, dosage 7 g/litre. From greensand over chalk/clay soils, this is a blend of 62% Chardonnay, 24% Pinot Noir and 14% Pinot Meunier, aged on the lees for three years, and it’s lovely: it’s precise but balanced with bright citrus fruit, a subtle toastiness and sweet pear and apple richness. Really nicely proportioned, with harmony and tension, showing good acidity that integrates well with the other flavours. Has a hint of sweetness on the finish. Everything works together here. 92/100

Ashling Park Estate Cuvée Brut NV England
From the three main Champagne varieties, grown on the South Downs (in West Sussex), and made by Dermot Sugrue. I was served this blind and I thought it was a very good grower Champagne. It’s fruity and lively and fine with a lovely rounded lemon and cherry fruit character. Refined, taut, fruit-driven and pure, with some subtle toasty notes in the background.  Very fine. 92/100

Leckford Estate Brut 2013 Hampshire, England
12% alcohol. Grown in Waitrose’s Leckford Estate with immaculately managed vineyard on chalky soils. The wine is made at Ridgeview. This is a lovely, bright expression of sparkling wine with citrus, apple and pear fruit to the fore. There’s lively acidity, lovely purity, and a bit of sweetness on the finish. Very pretty and balanced with lovely focused fruit. But there’s some substance here, too: it’s not just English Prosecco. So delicious! 91/100

Westwell Wines Special Cuvée Brut 2014 Engalnd
From Kent’s North Downs, this is a blend of the three classic Champagne varieties, with some reserve wines in the blend (even though this is a vintage wine). It’s very fresh, linear and lemony with high acidity, and some hints of cherry and apple. Very fresh and linear with purity and focus. Youthful and tight, with the acidity a little assertive at the moment, but there’s lots of potential here. 89/100

South Ridge Blanc de Blancs 2013 Sussex, England
12% alcohol. Made by Ridgeview for Laithwaites. There’s a subtle honey and cream edge to the nose here, with a twist of brioche. The palate is bright and focused with some citrus and pear fruit, a hint of baked apple, and lovely acidity. There’s certainly some richness here, but it is balanced nicely with some spicy citrus bite. 90/100

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