On the grapevine

ON... HOME-GROWN ENGLISH FIZZ

Bangor Mail - - The Food Focus - SAM WYLIE-HAR­RIS

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.

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