There’s a lot of excitement about English sparkling wines at the moment. It’s estimated that a million more vines will be planted this year and most of these will be used to make fizz – something that our cool climate is ideally suited for. Forget about comparisons with champagne, these are really good wines in their own right. I have chosen seven favourites.
Gusbourne Blanc de Blancs 2012 £37.80, Tanners, 12% alcohol
Stylish, smooth and refined, this chardonnay-only fizz is one of the UK’s best. It’s lemony and taut with some pear and ripe apple flavours and a hint of salinity that works really well.
Hambledon Rosé NV £36.50, Berry Bros & Rudd, 12% alcohol
Hambledon’s regular wine has done well in competitions tasted alongside good champagnes. But I also love their pink version. It has vivid, slightly crunchy cranberry and red-cherry characters, as well as keen but finely integrated acidity and impeccable balance with just a touch of sweetness.
Nyetimber Classic Cuvée NV £32, Waitrose, 12% alcohol
Nyetimber is probably the most famous of all English sparklers and this is a really convincing, sophisticated wine that shows lovely balance with pear, ripe apple and citrus fruit and a hint of sweetness. Fresh citrus fruits are complemented with some richer notes and the acidity is brilliantly integrated.
Ridgeview Blanc de Blancs 2013 £45, Virgin Wines, 12% alcohol
This classy chardonnay-only fizz comes from vines planted in 1995, which in English terms is ancient history. It’s bright, citrussy and lively with lemony fruit, as well as some pear and spice. Great balance and concentration.
Tesco Finest English Quality Sparkling Wine NV £17.50, Tesco, 11.5% alcohol
Made for Tesco by Hush Heath Estate, this is generous and really fruity, with attractive pear and peach notes as well as some table grape. A little citrus crispness but the overall feeling is one of ripe, enticing fruit.
Chapel Down English Sparkling Reserve Brut NV £22, Marks & Spencer, 12%…