England now makes sparkling wines that can rival the famous fizzies from over the Channel. Here are five superb examples.
NV Herbert Hall, Marden, Kent (£27.00, Paxton & Whitfield tel. 020 7930 0259, London Wine Shippers tel. 020 7622 3000, Harrods tel. 020 7730 1234, Last Drop of Chelsea tel. 020 7351 2973, Vintage Cellars of Pimlico tel. 020 7630 6254, Vintage House tel.020 7437 2592). HH is a wine with true finesse and breeding and it is one of only a handful of English wines that I use at my own dinner parties and also my wine schools. It is also a wine which my Champagne specialist pals always rate very highly.
2009 Ridgeview, Knightsbridge, Cuvée Merret Blanc de Noirs, Sussex (£31.50, www.winepantry.co.uk, Great Western Wine tel. 01225 322810, Harvey Nichols tel. 020 7201 8538). A new release from Ridgeview and a wine that’s made from exclusively red grapes, giving the finished article more depth, richness and red fruit aromatics. This is a very accomplished piece of work, showing true skill.
2005 Danebury Vineyards, Cossack, Hampshire (£28.00, Naked Grape tel. 01962 36952, Grape Expectations tel. 01264 369572). With five years bottle age this is an older vintage than many and this extra age has given Cossack some serious complexity and style. This is a terrific, wistful, classically structured wine.
2010 Camel Valley, Cornwall Brut, Cornwall (£21.84, www.waitrosewine.com). The most impressive estate within our shores, this bright, effervescent sparkler is joyous and uplifting and it is one of the most intricately assembled and passionately made wines around. Bob and Sam Lindo throw their hearts and souls into every wine – sheer beauty.
NV Coates & Seely, Blanc de Blancs, North Hampshire Downs (£27.95 – £29.50, Luvians tel. 01334 654820, Solent Cellar tel. 01590 674852, Harvey Nichols tel. 020 7201 8538, Sipp London tel. 0207 745 7477, www.winepantry.co.uk, Dalling & Co. tel. 01923 265574, Vin Neuf tel. 01789 261747, The Lockett Bros tel. 01620 890 799). Made by two erudite and informed gents, Coates and Seely is a new label with serious élan and vivacity. With rapier-sharp acidity and pinpoint accurate floral notes this is a very classy wine indeed.