On the grapevine
ON... HOME-GROWN ENGLISH FIZZ
IT’S awards season in the drinks world. England boasts the International Wine Challenge (IWC), one of the world’s most rigorously judged wine competitions.
It was a starry, starry night for English wines on the medal board too, with 11 gold, 50 silver and 60 bronze IWC medals clocked up, and with English Wine Week (May 25 – June 2) just around the corner, the timing couldn’t be better. Here are four top drops to try now...
NYETIMBER CUVÉE CHERIE, DEMI SEC, SPARKLING
Sussex (£36.95, Berry Bros & Rudd) IWC Sparkling Winemaker of the Year 2018, Canadian-born Cherie Spriggs can’t seem to put a foot wrong. Recognised as one of England’s best, Nyetimber romped to victory with golds going to its Blanc de Blancs 2010, Classic Cuvée MultiVintage and Classic Cuvée 2009. And for a fragrant glass of liquid gold, why not try its latest release, which has a stunning sweetness to the chardonnay fruit yet maintains the freshness you want from a demi-sec (semi-sweet).
CHAPEL DOWN KIT’S COTY CHARDONNAY 2016
Sussex (£180 for 6 bottle case, Chapel Down)
ANOTHER champion chardonnay from England’s largest winemaker, Kit’s Coty was the only English still wine to be awarded gold as well as the English White Trophy.
“Another round of gold medals for Kit’s Coty at the International Wine Challenge is dead exciting for us all here at Chapel Down!” says Chapel
Down managing director, Mark Harvey.
GREYFRIARS BLANC DE NOIRS, NV
Surrey (£30, Greyfriars Vineyard)
THE judges were also wowed by Surrey producer Greyfriars and awarded its Sparkling Rose Reserve 2014 the English Sparkling Rose Trophy.
Owner Mike Wagstaff said: “Our first ever Blanc de Noirs is a blend of 60% pinot noir and 40% pinot meunier, picked from our best plots in 2014 and 2015,” noting that the wine is elegant and generous, with honeyed apples, red berry fruit flavours and a savoury hint of butter and brioche.
SELBORNE CLASSIC CUVEE BRUT
Hampshire (£29.99, Majestic)
STAR producer Hambledon Vineyard in Hampshire has some pretty classy offerings and James Reed, sparkling buyer at Majestic, notes that Selborne captures the subtle flavours that make English sparkling wines so unique.
“Elegant notes of fresh apples and pears distinguish our wines from classic Champagne. Selborne Brut has a bright core of granny smith apple and creamy notes of lemon brioche,” says James.