Cellar notes #35: Made in England
At the English wine tasting on St George's Day, it was clear that there are no rivals to the RidgeView and Nyetimber as England's premier fizz producers.
At the English wine tasting on St George's Day, it was clear that there are no rivals to the RidgeView and Nyetimber as England's premier fizz producers. RidgeView's East Sussex wines are made in a younger, crisper style, like the 2000 RidgeView Cuvée Merret Bloomsbury (£14.99, Waitrose) which showed its class as a thoroughly convincing sparkling wine with a full-flavoured, creamy texture and a dry, appley tang.
Andy and Nichola Hill's Nyetimber in West Sussex is made rather differently, with longer ageing in the bottle to create a more complex, richer style. This is evident from the 1996 Nyetimber Classic Cuvée Brut (£19 -£19.95, Waitrose or Berry Bros & Rudd, London SW1, 0870 900 4300, www.bbr.com), an intense, elegant fizz with biscuity, yeasty character that makes it hard to distinguish from more expensive champagne. In a more honeyed, richer and fuller style, the 1995 Nyetimber Première Cuvée Blanc de Blancs, £18.95, Berry Bros, is equally impressive.
Chapel Down's best fizz is pinot noir-based - try the raspberryish, slightly off-dry Brut Rosé (£12.99, English Wines Group, 01306 876616, www.englishwinesgroup.com). Also watch Davenport Vineyards in East Sussex. Made from pinot noir and auxerrois, the 2000 Davenport Limney Estate (£11.95, Davenport Vineyards, 01892 852380, www.davenportvineyards.co.uk) may not be everyone's flute of fizz, but I find the yeasty, weighty fruit with its apple-tart acidity refreshingly summery.
English Wine Week is launched today; see www.english-wine-week.co.uk
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