Betty's Wine Musings

Have You Tried English Sparkling Wine?

Remember the days when English food was bad and their wine was worse? Thankfully, those days are gone. England is aplomb with amazing food, wonderful restaurants and great wine. And their Sparkling Wine has gotten a lot of attention in recent years. Today, we’re going to explore it.


Celebrating English Sparkling Wine
Celebrating English Sparkling Wine

Recent News About English Wine Making

In an article called The Rapid Success of English Sparkling Wine, Rod Phillips says that “In the last 10 years, total vineyard area has more than doubled in size (from 1,440 to 3,800 hectares), and the 195 wineries (up from 128) now produce between nine and 10 million bottles of wine a year.” Yes, this is a small number, but it’s a growing number.


English Sparkling Wines represent about two-thirds of total production and are attracting a lot of attention. Made in the traditional method of making Champagne (method champenoise), they are almost always made from the three main grape varieties grown in Champagne: pinot noir, chardonnay, and pinot meunier. These three varieties account for three-quarters of all the vines planted in England.


In 2020, Dorset Wine Company‘s winemaker was crowned IWSC Sparkling Wine Maker of the Year, beating off competition from the most famous names in the wine world. This was an achievement for the entire British Sparkling Wine industry.

Why is Sparkling Wine in England so popular?

Nyetimber began planting Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier vines almost 35 years ago, and this drove the rise of the industry. From their website: “Our vineyards share similar characteristics with the best sparkling wine vineyards in the world. Greensand and chalk soils allow our vines, in each of our separate sites, to flourish across the south of England. The climate here allows for the slow ripening of our grapes, allowing us to achieve the optimum levels of ripeness and acidity, as well as the complexity and finesse for which our exquisite wines are renowned.”


The climate and soil similarities between England and the Champagne region of France – chalky soil structure and cool climates – represented a great opportunity for winemakers.


Characteristics of English Sparkling Wine

According to Rod Phillips’s article, English Sparkling Wines “show excellent flavour complexity and the high acidity expected of this style of wine. The generous bubbles stream in beads and are often tiny, a trait associated with fine sparkling wine.”


Most of the Sparkling Wines are dry (brut or extra brut), but there are some sweeter ones and also some rosés.


A Final Word

The article The English Sparkling Wine Success Story tells us that “English sparkling wine is no longer a secret. And it is beginning to truly breakthrough. As Skelton acknowledges: ‘The revival of the English sparkling wine industry began in the early 2000s with Nyetimber producing award-winning sparkling wines, which inspired many producers to start making Champagne-style wines. Without doubt, that early success has done a lot for the prestige of the product. But now you have other serious players. You have 30, 40, 50 vineyards across the country producing quality sparkling wine every year. You only have to look at the award winners to see that.”


Have you tried English Sparkling Wine? What did you think?

As an independent wine consultant with WineShop At Home, I absolutely enjoy bringing a taste of the Napa wine country home to you one sip at a time. Whether you simply love to drink wine, seek a special personalized wine gift, or are in search of a new wine jobs opportunity as a wine consultant, feel free to contact me for a truly unique wine tasting experience!

Cheers, Betty Kaufman
WineShop At Home

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