Diary from Our Wine Tour to England

By October 18, 2014Winemakers

Watch out, Champagne producers; there are some serious contenders for great bubbly from Great Britain.

Impossible, or improbable, you’re probably thinking- but there are many striking similarities. For instance, I found out today that Epernay is a mere 90 miles away from Kent & Sussex, where the best British sparklers are produced.

And those white cliffs of Dover? That’s limestone, of course, the optimal soil for sparkling wine, and what you find in Epernay and Kent/Sussex.

And all that talk about climate change- well, it is getting warmer in Great Britain, while it may be getting too warm in parts of France.

But the proof of the pudding is in the eating, or in this case, the drinking. And let me assure you that there are some outstanding, spectacular sparkling wines being made in Great Britain.

Two wineries we visited produce wines that astounded us: Chapel Down, England’s largest winery at 900,000 bottles, and Ridgeview, at 250,000.

Ridgeview only produces sparkling wine while Chapel Down produces still wine as well. But both make sparkling wines reminiscent of the yeasty, high acidity qualities you love in Champagne.

Although we didn’t visit the following wineries, we did sample their wines at the English Wine Center in Sussex and bough an assorted case to bring home: Nyetimber, Breaky Bottom, Barbour.

And here’s another similarity: the classic combination is pinot noir, chardonnay and pinot meaner.

Author Vin Marottoli

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