A cool, maritime climate with areas of chalky soil, allows many parts of the UK to produce sparkling wines as good as Champagne in northern France.
Successful UK producers mainly use the Champagne grape varieties, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. The key to high quality is ‘Methode Champenoise’ ie secondary fermentation in bottle, giving complexity and ageability.
English sparkling wine recommendations include:
Hush Heath Estate, Balfour Brut Rosé, Waitrose, £35.99. Previously a fruit farm, this ambitious Kent producer makes elegant, copper hued fizz. Top winemakers, stunning location, serious investment, highly professional and engaging people. Delicious cider and apple juice too.
See a video explaining the high quality of English sparkling wine.
Coates & Seely, Brut Rosé NV, from their website, £29.95. A relative newcomer, this stylish sparkling wine achieved great critical and customer acclaim. Taut and steely, made from Pinots Noir and Meunier, for lovers of classy restraint and understated sophistication.
Camel Valley, Pinot Noir Brut Rosé, Wine Pantry, £33.00. IWC Gold Medal winning pink fizz from the wonderfully sunny vineyards and small winery in north Cornwall. Friendly and informative tours from the lovely Lindo family make this also one of the best UK wine visits.
Gusbourne Estate, Blanc de Blancs Brut, Selfridges, £42.99. ‘Some of the best grapes in the UK’ go into this Kent sparkler made in richer, more ‘Champagne like’ style. Another former fruit farm, run by a charming, dynamic ex-medic. They also make one of the UK’s best Pinot Noir.
See more about English sparkling wines at englishwineproducers.com.