This is the next big sparkling wine region.

Yes, we are talking about England.

 


In the United Kingdom and Europe, English sparkling wine is taking wine shelves, newspaper columns and wine enthusiasts by storm. So much so that I accompanied two of my corporate clients to the picturesque Surrey and Hampshire vineyards in the south of England last year; in previous years they had requested a visit to Champagne. It’s not difficult to see why English sparkling wine, or ‘ESW’ is so popular. For a start it’s regularly beating Champagne at international tasting competitions, much to the annoyance of the Champenois!

With about 2000 hectares (4,940 acres) under vine, England now boasts about 460 vineyards and 125 wineries, producing about 6 million bottles of wine a year. Not surprisingly, two-thirds of this total is now sparkling wine. The sector which keeps expanding year on year with the ‘Champagne grapes’, with Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier now accounting for over 50 per cent of total varietal plantings, and growing.
For the record, the most northerly commercial vineyard is near York in Yorkshire. Denbies in the beautiful Surrey hills is the largest vineyard covering an amazing 106 hectares (265 acres), making it one of the largest single vineyard estates in Europe.
 
The number of countries enjoying English sparkling wine has increased by a third over the past year and is now exported to 27 countries, including the United States, Japan, Taiwan, France, Italy and the Scandinavian countries. “With major producers on track to deliver a tenfold increase in exports, we could soon be tapping into more countries”, boasted one winemaker. His confidence is well founded as multi million pound investment is pouring in.In what was once a cottage industry, immaculate, well managed vineyards and shiny, temperature controlled stainless steel wineries are now the norm.

Champagne may still be the bubble to beat but England is similar to the king of sparklers in so many ways. England’s chilly, northerly climate’s is similar to the Champagne region in north-east France and, what’s more, Champagne’s famous chalk soils slide under Paris, dip under the Channel and emerge in the south of England……the white cliffs of Dover and all that?

It doesn’t stop there. The grape varieties are the same, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier, whilst English sparkling wine is made in exactly the same way as Champagne with a second fermentation in the bottle. Here a pinch of sugar and a touch of yeast are added to a dry, still white wine before the bottle is sealed. The yeast reacts with the sugar to give a little more alcohol and carbon dioxide gas - the fizz. This gas builds up in the sealed bottle and as it can’t escape becomes an integral part of the wine. Hey presto – we have English sparkling!

So, you can see why for me, English sparkling wine is the ultimate Champagne lookalike.

My favourite English sparklers? I have plenty but look out for Hambledon, Exton Park, Ridgeview, Nyetimber, Gusbourne, Camel Valley, Coates & Seely, Wisto… the list goes on.

I’m the world’s number one fan of English sparkling wine so it was no surprise that Champagne Taittinger bought a large slice of Kent last year with a view to producing English sparkling wine whilst Champagne Pommery are now collaborating with Hattingley vineyard in Hampshire. Bet your bottom Euro more Champagne houses are on their way!


John Downes, one of only 350 Masters of Wine in the world, is a speaker, television and radio broadcaster, and writer on wine. Check out his new website at www.johndownes.com.

Mentioned in this article

Comments

  • Snooth User: Addie60
    1761014 6

    A number of years ago I Chaired a Gala at Windsor Castle with HRH The Prince of Wales attending. During the planning I was in contact with Denbies to arrange serving their wines, however, my fellow Board Members all thought the American in Charge quite mad for even think such a thing. Wine and champagne must be French! My how the World has changed.
    Thank you for keeping us informed.

    Feb 17, 2017 at 3:58 PM


  • Snooth User: mebyth
    2124105 13


    When attempting to build muscle mass, it is important to ingest the right foods Nitric Muscle Fuel If your efforts to add bulk are stagnating, it could be because you have an insufficient nutritional intake Nitric Muscle Fuel To add bulk, you need to consume at least 4000-6000 calories each day from foods, which are calorie dense Nitric Muscle Fuel Some examples of calorie-dense foods are pasta, nuts, eggs, bagels, trail mix and steaks Nitric Muscle Fuel Since vegetables have low calorie-density, keep their intake to a minimum Nitric Muscle Fuel
    For More>> http://www.crazybulkmagic.com/nitri...

    Feb 18, 2017 at 1:28 AM


  • Snooth User: naferdo
    2124122 14


    Make sure that you select the best weight for yourself when doing lifting exercises MRX Red Research has proven that doing six to twelve reps at around seventy to eighty percent of your maximum for one rep, will give you the best combination of both volume and load MRX Red This can stimulate additional muscle growth MRX Red
    For More>> http://www.crazybulkmagic.com/mrx-red/

    Feb 18, 2017 at 5:14 AM


  • Snooth User: amour
    Hand of Snooth
    218530 2,041

    Addie60....ahead of your time and so correct!

    Feb 21, 2017 at 11:45 AM


Add a Comment

Search Articles


Best Wine Deals

See More Deals





Snooth Media Network