Some interesting wines at cricket

On Friday I spent the afternoon playing cricket. Yes, more play. Less work. Still striving after the elusive balance. It was for the Wine Trade XI, against a touring Aussie team, Canterbury Cricket Club from Melbourne, at Hampton Wick. In a 40 over game, a relatively strong Wine Trade bowling attack kept them to 157-9, [...]

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 [...]

An English white Pinot Noir and an Aussie Topaque

Headed over to Denbies wine estate today, in Dorking, Surrey, for a meeting of Elevage. Elevage is the organization I’m involved with that runs the International Sparkling Wine Symposium (ISWS). The last one was held last November, and we are in the stages of planning the next. (If you’d like to get hold of a [...]

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. [...]

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 [...]