Break out the Bri­tish bub­bles

The Sunday Telegraph - Stella - - #ONEDAY -

THE SOUND OF corks pop­ping will be louder than ever this Christ­mas – sparklers are as pop­u­lar as I can re­mem­ber, whether it’s party prosecco or gran­des mar­ques cham­pagnes. But the most ex­cit­ing fizz right now is English – its fresh, whistle­clean style en­tic­ing more and more wine lovers. I’ve got a clutch of them for you to en­joy.

Other trends in­clude the rise of lower- and no-al­co­hol drinks. At last, the drivers and tee­to­tallers have more in­ter­est­ing bot­tles to open! I’ve in­cluded some grown-up soft­ies and made note of a low­er­al­co­hol white. And gin re­mains hugely pop­u­lar – es­pe­cially high-qual­ity, small-batch, usu­ally Bri­tish la­bels. Brown spir­its such as whisky and rum are catch­ing up though, and this win­ter will be en­joyed neat, over ice, as well as in cock­tails in var­ied and imag­i­na­tive ways. Any­thing goes, then.

Cheers, ev­ery­body! Prospects for the English wine scene are blos­som­ing, thanks in part to a beau­ti­ful sum­mer. The wines from this year are not with us yet, of course, but there are still some daz­zling home­grown sparklers on the shelves this sea­son, in­clud­ing some more read­ily avail­able on the high street (I’ve listed two).

Oth­ers take a bit more track­ing down, even pur­chas­ing at the cel­lar door or on­line from the win­ery, but I urge you to do so – the qual­ity is now in­dis­putable.

Den­bies Chalk Val­ley Sparkling Wine NV, Sur­rey, Eng­land Made from six grape va­ri­eties for a crisp, mouth­wa­ter­ing fizz with a bite of crunchy green ap­ple. A de­cent in­tro­duc­tion to premium English sparkling at a keen price. Mor­risons, £16, down to £15 un­til 1 Jan­uary

Lang­ham Clas­sic Cu­vée 2014, Dorset, Eng­land An ex­quis­ite English sparkler, dry but rich with com­plex lay­ers of cit­rus and pineap­ple, light toast and creamy al­monds. lang­hamwine. co.uk, £25, and in­de­pen­dents

Marks­man English Sparkling Brut Blanc de Blancs 2014, Sus­sex, Eng­land Pro­duced by the ex­cel­lent Ridgeview win­ery for M&S, a crisp and whis­tle-clean fizz with English or­chard flavours of ap­ples and pears. A lively match for seafood. Marks & Spencer, £26

Black Chalk Wild Rose 2015, Hamp­shire, Eng­land

A new rosé from grapes grown on chalky downs, beau­ti­fully crafted for a pale-or­angey-pink hue, streaked with rose­hip and black­berry fruit and with tin­gling acid­ity. blackchalk­wine. co.uk, £40, and in­de­pen­dents

Rathfinny Blanc de Blancs 2014, Sus­sex, Eng­land

The launch of Rathfinny’s new sparklers was a high­light of 2018; this maiden re­lease blanc de blancs is highly so­phis­ti­cated, 100 per cent chardon­nay with fresh cit­rus and gor­geous rich creami­ness. ox­ford­wine.co.uk, £36.95

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