World Malbec Day, an English salute

Table 9: hard working, uncomplaining!

Day 2 of the International Wine Challenge, and it was a big one. The team I was working with tasted 160 wines today. A lot by any standard, and by the end we couldn’t have done many more and still have done a good job. This is week 1, where [...]

An English Pinot Noir from Chapel Down

English fizz is getting a lot of attention. What about the table wines, or still wines, or whatever you want to call them? Here’s a Pinot Noir that’s actually incredibly drinkable. Love the admirably pure cherry fruit: it actually tastes like Pinot Noir. The Englishness shows in the green characters, but they are more good [...]

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 [...]

Pictures from the vineyard at Denbies

Took the dogs for a walk around England’s largest vineyard yesterday – Denbies in Dorking, Surrey.

The weather was glorious, on the hottest October day since records began. Clearly, you want warm, dry weather like this just before harvest to help the grapes reach ideal maturity. Yields looked a bit patchy: some varieties seem to have [...]

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 [...]

Breaky Bottom: an impressive English fizz

OK, we all know how good the famous names of English sparkling wine are: the likes of Nyetimber, Ridgeview and Camel Valley.
Well here’s another, less well known name, making some serious sparkling wine: Breaky Bottom. This is the first wine of theirs I have tried, even though they are old timers on the English scene, [...]

Two pink fizz on an appropriate day

I suppose I’m guilty of not taking pink fizz seriously enough. Well, in light of today’s date, I’ve opened a couple. I’m trying to pretend that I’m being ironic, but they’re actually quite delicious drinking. The surprise is how good the English fizz is.

Moët & Chandon Rosé Impérial NV
12% alcohol. Pink with an orange hue. [...]

Nyetimber Sparkling Rose 2007: a new English wine

Very interested to get a chance to drink this new wine. It’s a pink fizz from one of the UK’s top sparkling wine producers, Nyetimber. This is the first Nyetimber release to be made by winemaker Cherie Spriggs, who joined in 2007. Initially, just 1500 bottles were released; the plan is to make a larger [...]

Some serious English Fizz: Ridgeview Cavendish 2007

This is brilliant stuff. At the Oddbins mixed case price of £16 it’s really good value; it’s certainly worth the regular £20 price. One to serve to those who haven’t yet woken up to the English sparkling wine revolution.

Ridgeview Cavendish 2007 Sussex, England
A traditional method sparkling wine with 25% Chardonnay, 34% Pinot Noir and 41% [...]

Hush Heath Estate Balfour Brut – one of the UK’s top wines

Today was our 17th wedding anniversary. Yet as Fiona presented me with an anniversary card, I shuddered. Raw fear. Terror. I’d forgotten, and unlike Basil Fawlty, who pretended to forget his anniversary to spring a surprise on Sybil (Agincourt? Trafalgar? Crecy? Poitiers? Yom Kippur?), I had genuinely forgotten. It’ not that I hadn’t remembered the [...]