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Brit Pop - The rise of the English sparklers


You may have noticed a new presence in the wine world over the past few years. English sparkling wine is no longer seen as purely a novelty but is readily available on restaurant wine lists, supermarket shelves and is sharing the spotlight with Champagne. English wine making is getting better every year and is developing strong domestic traction and forging an international reputation.

The long, hot, dry summer of 2018 has provided the perfect conditions for wine production of unprecedented quality in the UK. In fact, even Taittinger has bought vineyards in Kent with a view to producing sparkling wine by 2023.  So, we must be on to something, right?

If you’re not familiar with English sparkling wines, where should you start?

Key:

  • Brut - this denotes that the wine is dry.  
  • NV - stands for non-vintage so it will be a blend of vintages rather than from one year.
Nyetimber, Classic Cuvée, NV – made in the South Downs, this is a great gateway brand for ardent Champagne drinkers. When served blind, you would be hard pushed to discern this from French fizz. The NV is dry with a racing acidity. It has brioche and biscuity notes on the palate with a long, classy finish. £36 from Justerini & Brooks.

Camel Valley, Cornwall, Brut, NV - this characterful sparkling wine hails from Cornwall which is bound to be a talking point at a dinner party. Vibrant and fresh, it is a wonderful accompaniment to canapés. £28 from Waitrose.

Chapel Down, Brut, NV - this is a high quality sparkling wine from Kent. It is fruity and feisty with notes of fresh citrus and hedgerow berries. Very good value at £23 from Majestic.