Cult Cava: Juvé y Camps Reserva de la Familia Gran Reserva 2011 Spain

I first encountered Juvé y Camps last year in Barcelona. It’s a sort of ‘cult’ Cava, in that it’s really good, more expensive than regular Cavas, and is a bit of an insiders’ tip. It’s now available in the UK, and while this would never be confused with Champagne (that’s not the point), it is [...]

Raventós I Blanc Textures de Pedra Blanc des Negres 2011 Conca del Riu Anoia, Spain

This is a new wine from Raventós I Blanc, formerly a Cava producer, but now working outside the DO (interestingly, BBR in the UK have decided to continue labelling this as Cava in their wine list to avoid the danger of confusing their customers). It’s described as a blanc des negres, and is a blend [...]

English sparkling wine versus Champagne - the Noble Rot tasting - my results

I mentioned a while back that I’d taken part in a tasting of English sparkling wine versus Champagne. Organized by counter-culture wine publication Noble Rot, it pitted a carefully selected quartet of English fizz against four very good grower Champagnes, and four very good Grand Marque Champagnes. It was a fair fight: all three quartets [...]

Camel Valley Pinot Noir Rosé Brut 2012 England

2012 was an absolute shocker of a vintage across southern England. It was just too cool, and then the season ran out of heat. The result? Many wineries just didn’t pick any grapes at all. Remarkably, Camel Valley have produced something very appealing from this rather difficult year. It even won a Gold medal at [...]

So just how good is English sparkling wine? A blind tasting

I took part in a brilliant tasting today, organized by Noble Rot magazine. Alas, there’s an embargo, so I can’t tell you the outcome or list the wines involved, but I can share some pictures and give a little commentary.

So, the tasting was pitting four of the best English sparkling wines (and the Noble Rot [...]

In South Africa, day 2, Roberston

I woke up on Sunday early but excited. A few lucky people, including me, had been invited to Robertson by three producers: Graham Beck, Springfield and De Wetshof. And we were to fly there on a small plane (a Beechcraft – from looking on the website, I’m pretty sure this was a King Air 350). [...]

Another lovely English fizz: Gusborne 2010

Another lovely English fizz, this time from Gusborne. As I was writing this up I realized I’ve already reviewed in (back in November), and I was also impressed by their  Blanc de Blancs Late Disgorged 2007.

Gusborne Estate Brut Reserve 2010 England
12% alcohol. Gusborne is based in Appledore, Kent, but they source their [...]

On Champagne bubbles

I was reminded last night about how bubbles aren’t really a property of a Champagne (or sparkling wine). I poured the same Champagne into two different glasses. In one, the bubbles were fine – a steady stream. In the other, they were big and clumsy looking. The same wine.

It’s common to hear wine professionals comment [...]

Top new world fizz from Graham Beck and Josef Chromy

Super-impressed by these two sparkling wines from the ‘new world’ – specifically South Africa and Australia. They’re both available from UK retailer Marks & Spencer (I strongly suspect that the Rhona is the re-badged Blanc de Blancs from Graham Back; M&S like to have exclusive labels).

[A side note on scoring. I hate the 100 point [...]

Hart of Gold English Sparkling Wine

I was impressed by this new English sparkling wine, made by Justin Howard-Sneyd, high-flying wine buyer and owner of a small domaine in the South of France. Justin sourced the grapes – a mixture of all three Champagne varieties – from a vineyard in Ross on Wye, Herefordshire (soils chalk and clay), and the wine [...]