Recently, it has been our sparkling wines flying the flag for England. Earlier this year, Nyetimber – a wine grown in Sussex – beat Bollinger and Louis Roederer to be named ‘Champion of Worldwide Sparking Wines’ at a competition held in Italy (and therefore not rigged by the Frenchies). Nyetimber’s Classic Cuvée 2003, which costs only £25 – at that price, no wonder the Queen likes it so much – came top in the blind tasting at the competition in Verona.
Nyetimber isn’t the only super Sussex sparkler either. The much-lauded South Ridge Cuvée Merret from RidgeView is another summer stunner. It’s perfect for a picnic – a scent of summer fields and honeyed apples; the citrus-fresh flavour and biscuity aromas deliver everything you could want. (For me, lemon curd on the palate with plenty of Hobnobs on the nose.)
There may not be hundreds of them, but English sparkling wines are coming to the fore, taking on the French at their own game – and winning. For England, it’s all about quality, not quantity. “We few, we happy few, we band of brothers…
Tel: 0845 194 7720; laithwaites.co.uk