Status quo: British bubbly and spuds
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?