August 22, 2019

English sparkling wines that you need to taste!

There are now many excellent English sparkling wines to choose from!

In your search for great bubbles, don’t miss out on the opportunity to taste some of the elegant English sparkling wines that are becoming easier to find. I have reviewed a number in the past – Bolney Bubbly Brut, Nyetimber Cuvee Cherie, Nyetimber Classic Cuvee, Chapel Down Kit’s Coty Blanc de Blancs, and English Oak

Here are five more that you can add to the list that of English sparkling wines you should be drinking: 

Hambledon Classic Cuvee £28

There is a lot going on in these bubbles. It is a chardonnay dominant wine that blended with pinot noir and pinot meunier. Hambledon has spent over a decade researching the best combinations of clones and rootstocks for their vineyards in Hampshire. These vineyards are on Newhaven Chalk formation which is the same chalk as found in the Cote des Blancs in Champagne. This cuvee is a perfumed with a flowery scent that complements the lemon and toast. It has soft acid and curves that make it a fuller mouthful. A mouthful that also has an intense spicy savouriness and ends with a minerality that adds to the complexity.  A good English sparkling for the price.

Gusbourne Brut Reserve £39

The floral nuances of this wine add a pretty note to the delicious lemon and peach bread and butter pudding.  It is a traditional mix of pinot noir, chardonnay and pinot meunier grapes grown in the warmer slopes of the Kent countryside.  That creamy bready character, it is the result of more than two to three years resting on lees. It has a fuller body that is soft and rounded. There is a lively freshness on the palate and these bubbles have a dry finish. Don’t limit this wine to being just an aperitif. This fizz is a good match for food to. Even a special brunch. The 2014 vintage is available in wine stores at the moment but the 2015 is available directly from Gusbourne.

Gusbourne Blanc de Blancs £59

In the same vein as the fine Blanc de Blancs Champagnes, this is 100% English Chardonnay. To give this wine some extra complexity, it has had an extended time on lees. That three and half years has added a biscuity richness to the zesty lemon and apple fruit. This toasted note softens the zip of the savoury mineral line that drives the palate. A great match for seafood or more lightly flavoured dishes but it is certainly a convivial fizz without food. The 2013 vintage is available in wine stores at the moment but the 2014 is available directly from Gusbourne.

Nyetimber Single Vineyard Tillington Vineyard 2013 £99

Nyetimber’s head winemaker, Cherie Spriggs identified the Tillington vineyard as having something special. It is a vineyard in close proximity to Petworth on the South Downs in Sussex, just to the south west of London. This vintage is 76% pinot noir with the remainder being chardonnay. As well as the fresh berry fruit aromas, there is a deeper complexity with a base of salted nuts and lemon curd tart and a minerality that ties it all together. The fruit is ripely sweet and well balanced so that it moves with finesse and elegance across your tongue and finishes long and lingering. A rich wine that has plenty of life left if you want to lay it down for a while and let the wine develop some honeyed grace. 

Nyetimber 2009 Classic Cuvee (late disgorged)

This was something a little special that I tasted and might be a little hard to find. The 2009 Classic Cuvee was recognised as being the Best UK sparkling wine available in 2014 so it makes great sense to see a late disgorged version of this wine.  Around this time, I was popping a 2000 vintage of Classic Cuvee myself that I had cellared myself without the benefit of late disgorgement. It was remarkably youthful still at 15 years old, so it goes without saying that I had great expectations for this 2009 that was disgorged in 2018.

And I was not disappointed.

The wine has deepened into a spicy, honeyed lemon and light caramel toffee complexity, finished off by some saline minerality. It has a rich, buttery texture that is soft and full. This is a rich glassful that still retains its bright freshness thanks to nine years resting on its lees. Not only is it drinking well now, but it will last longer in the cellar too. Not only is it a great food wine, but an all round great sip.

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