Sta­tus quo: Bri­tish bub­bly and spuds

Country Life Every Week - - Town & Country -

FOR 50 years, we have strug­gled to find the right name for Bri­tish sparkling wine. Cava, Cham­pagne and Prosecco are all well es­tab­lished and, as the in­dus­try grows—there are now more than 500 vine­yards in the UK and pro­duc­tion has risen from three mil­lion bot­tles in 2011 to five mil­lion in 2015, ex­pected to hit 10 mil­lion by 2020—the need for pro­tected sta­tus is ever more press­ing.

A Times com­pe­ti­tion to find a name pro­duced Mer­ret, af­ter the 17th­cen­tury sci­en­tist who first recorded the tech­nique of sec­ondary fer­men­ta­tion. Fris­son, Britagne and Sham­pagne were also con­tenders.

How­ever, the United King­dom Vine­yard As­so­ci­a­tion is ac­tu­ally ap­ply­ing for PGI sta­tus for the term Bri­tish Fizz, a de­press­ingly ba­sic nick­name coined in a New York bar, some­times short­ened to #Brit­fizz on social me­dia. What’s wrong with Mer­ret?

In bet­ter news, an ap­pli­ca­tion has been made for Ayr­shire ear­lies, so called be­cause of their early har­vest, to have their iden­tity pro­tected un­der Euro­pean law. If suc­cess­ful, Ayr­shire new potatoes, which have been farmed in the Scot­tish county since 1793, will join more than 70 UK food and drink prod­ucts with PGI sta­tus; at present, only three types of UK potatoes are pro­tected, in­clud­ing Jersey Roy­als.

It’s a dog’s life: from ru­ral Northumberland, artist Gavin Watson, whose works have graced the Na­tional Por­trait Gallery, cre­ates his hu­mor­ous paint­ings, in­clud­ing likes to imag­ine what our ca­nine pals get up to be­hind closed doors. ‘Home Alone’ will be at Jonathan Cooper, Lon­don SW10, from Fe­bru­ary 2 to 25 (020–7351 0410; www.jonathancooper.co.uk)

Is Brit­fizz rated on Mer­ret?

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