Wines of the week: Balfour Brut Rosé 2006; Finest English White 2011; Chapel Down Reserve Brut NV
Terry Kirby selects the best bottles to buy
Sunday 17 April 2011
Balfour Brut Rosé 2006
A few celebrations coming up – St George's Day, Easter and then, I'm told, something to do with a wedding – so what better time for some excellent English wines? Unashamedly chasing the same elite market as pink champagne, the Balfour Brut Rosé uses the traditional French grape mix of Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay, but grown on an ancient estate in Kent, to magnificent ends: bone dry and supremely elegant. A special occasion wine. £34.99, Waitrose
Finest English White 2011
It is a sign of the acceptability of English whites that the country's canniest supermarket has developed this for its Finest range. One of a number of wines (including some excellent sparklers) made at Denbies, Britain's largest vineyard, in Surrey, this is a perfect wine for a spring lunch outdoors – dry, crisp, refreshing, with some nice green-fruit flavours, and a good accompaniment for crab or other shellfish and simple salads. £8.49, Tesco, denbies.co.uk
Chapel Down Reserve Brut NV
Chapel Down in Kent is another vineyard that sees English sparkling wines as the way forward. While £15 might not seem an obvious bargain, this is a sophisticated wine that should not be confused with cava or prosecco and holds its own against comparably priced champagnes, with bright, herbal, lemony, biscuit-y flavours. That such grown-up wines are being produced in England and consistently winning awards is surely something else that needs celebrating... £15 (or £13.49, min six bottles online), Marks & Spencer; £16.99, Waitrose
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