Central Otago (13) Akarua

Akarua’s terraced 25 Steps vineyard in Lowborn: one of the most instantly recognisable vineyards in the region

Akarua is an important producer for Central Otago. In a region of small outfits, they are a reasonable size, and of late have been on a vineyard-buying spree. With winemaker Andrew Keenleyside (who fairly recently took over from […]

Nyetimber Blanc de Blancs 2013

I was excited to try this new 2013 Blanc de Blancs from leading English sparkling wine producer Nyetimber, because it is the first vintage to feature wine from their Hampshire vineyards (30%), which have chalk soils (in addition to the Sussex greensand vineyards they began with, which make up 70% of the blend).

The Chardonnay grapes […]

Vineyards of Hampshire tasting: some of England's best sparkling wines on show

Last week, the vineyards of Hampshire held a tasting showcasing some of the top sparkling wines from this county. Of course, Hampshire is, as a county, a political boundary and doesn’t recognise specific soils or climates, but it does have within its boundaries some very good places for growing wine grapes, and quite a bit […]

Champagne Pommery's English sparkling wine

This is the first English sparkling wine launched by a Champagne producer. It’s the result of a partnership between Champagne Pommery and Hampshire-based winery Hattingley Valley. The wine is named Louis Pommery, which is Pommery’s new brand for its non-Champagne sparklers, which now also include a Californian wine. The Pommery chef de cave Theirry Gasco […]

Gusbourne Brut 2014, one of England's finest

This is the latest release of the Brut Reserve from Gusbourne, one of the UK’s top sparkling wine producers. 2014 saw an early budburst with good weather through to the end of June. This is always the critical bit of the vintage in the UK because good flowering means good yields, and in this year […]

The long-awaited first sparkling wines from Rathfinny, Sussex, UK

Mark Driver, owner, Rathfinny

Today, after lots of anticipation, the first sparkling wines from Rathfinny were launched. It’s an ambitious project, and one that has been much talked about, and so it was great to finally get to taste these wines. The long and short of it is that they are very good, and this […]

English wine is doing well, but four notes of caution...

It’s an exciting time for English wine, and in particular for English sparkling wine. The latest statistics from the Wine Standards Board show that in 2017 there were 1677 hectares cropping, and the total planting area is 2245 hectares. The average production over the last five years has been 5 million bottles a year. This […]

Prosecco Wars: should the Aussies be able to use the name?

There’s an excellent article in the Financial Review by Max Allen discussing whether or not Australian winemakers should be able to use the name Prosecco.

It used to be common for new world countries to label their wines by style, after the famous European wine regions. There’d be Burgundy, Claret and Champagne, usually made from completely […]

Raventós i Blanc Textures de Pedra Blanc de Negres 2013

This is a single vineyard wine from Raventós i Blanc. It’s Cava, but labelled as Conca del Rui Anoia because they were disappointed by the quality standards of most Cava producers. This wine is from Vinya Més Alta, which sits at the top of Turó del Serral, the hill on the 90 hecatare estate vineyard. […]

Benjamin Bridge Brut 2012 Nova Scotia, Canada

I’ve written before about the sparkling wines from Nova Scotia producer Benjamin Bridge, which I like a great deal. The climate here is cool but moderated by the Bay of Fundy, with the world’s largest tides (16 metres!), and it enables grapes to reach full flavour ripeness but with high acidity and moderate potential alcohol, […]