Wine writing

English Sparkling

English sparkling is among a few real competitors to champagne. Some will argue it is THE competitor. ⁣

To make an obvious point, it is the competitor in terms of pricing already.⁣

And what about the quality? Well, my experience shows the quality is there. It also has its distinct northern climate signature to it with piercing acidity. Often times it might feel like early picked Champagne, when acidity levels are high, but sugar levels and even more important phenolics are not yet there. ⁣

Yet another consideration to keep in mind is blending factor. Champagne has it in its DNA, by practicing the art of assemblage for centuries. Maisons have built impressive libraries of reserve wines. Think of Krug, Veuve Clicquot, Bollinger who mastered it. The vast area of Champagne gives immense opportunities for sourcing grapes from different terroirs.⁣

I think of English Sparkling more as of an emerging grower in Cote de Blancs, since the same chalk bedrock it sits on. It definitely gained lots of experience over the past 30+ years and have the luxury to learn from Champagne a lot due to its proximity. Promising future ahead and a must on the everyone’s watch list.⁣

Of course, I simplified a lot for the sake of a short story as this topic deserves a a long read which I am happy to do sometime in the future.⁣
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One producer that stands out to me is Nyetimber
I enjoy a lot their range, but vintage BdB appeals to me the most. I tasted many vintages including the inaugural one and none of them had ever disappointed me.⁣

Here is the recent tasting note of 2010.⁣

Rich with floral, yeasty aromas and touch of citrus. Piercing acidity and chalky mineral on the palate. Cool and green steely note takes me away from Champagne origin. Undoubtedly fine sparkling on par with champagne. ⁣

100% Chardonnay coming from West Sussex.⁣
2010 Millesime spent impressive 64 months on its lees and disgorged in September 2016. Dosed with 10g/l to bring its high acidity to a balance.⁣
𝗪𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐢𝐬 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐞𝐱𝐩𝐞𝐫𝐢𝐞𝐧𝐜𝐞 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡 𝐄𝐧𝐠𝐥𝐢𝐬𝐡 𝐒𝐩𝐚𝐫𝐤𝐥𝐢𝐧𝐠?

Other producers to watch

  • Chapel Down
  • Gusbourne Estate
  • Sugrue Pierre
  • Wiston Estate
  • Hattingley Valley
  • Ambriel
  • Bolney Estate
  • Bride Valley
  • Charles Palmer
  • Exton Park Vineyard
  • Henners
  • Hush Heath Estate
Champagne Tasting
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