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- Nope this isn't France, it's Denbies vineyard in Dorking, Surrey

5 great English sparkling wines to see out the end of summer

You don't need an excuse to open a bottle of fizz

20h ago
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Some people feel the need to hold on to sparkling wine for a grand occasion. However, we feel after getting through the last year and a half, every day is worthy of opening a bottle of the good stuff. We say let the vino flow, and toast to anything, whether it's the end of the week, catching up with a friend, eating something tasty for dinner, or let's face it, just getting through the day.

English wine is really having a moment. Some bottles have beaten major Champagne houses in competitions (a line people often like to bring out, and understandably!), and we’re now getting recognition across the globe. Traditional method sparkling wine has captured a lot of hearts and businesses, and currently accounts for 65% of production.

As you can imagine, the majority of England’s vineyards are in the south of the country, as it’s a little bit warmer (!) and a little less wet (!) than everywhere else. And you need the warmth and the dry to help those grapes ripen.

There are a lot of English sparkling (and still!) wines we love, but here are five of our current favourites to help you say cheers to the end of summer, and the start of autumn.

Boco by House Coren

£26, available from the Boco by House Coren website.

This is the newest fizz on the block in England, and very interestingly, one of the first and only charmat method sparklings currently made in the UK. That means it’s made like a Prosecco, where the second fermentation takes places in a stainless steel tank, rather than in the bottle. You can make a charmat method sparkling in a few weeks, whereas it often takes years to make a traditional method sparkling wine.

Technically it can’t be called an English Sparkling Wine (yes, we realise that kind of ruins the headline), because there are lots of rules to be allowed to be called that – and making the wine in the ‘traditional method’ is one of the rules.

We thought it would taste more like a Prosecco than it did, but it's only the method of making the wine where the similarities lie. It's made with a blend of 42% Reichenstiener, 29% Chardonnay, 29% Pinot Noir grapes, and is less sweet, and more complex than most Proseccos, which is great. Really refreshing, with a nice, crisp acidity and loads of apple and citrus flavours going on. We drank it as an aperitif while sat in the garden in the sunshine before a barbecue, and it was the perfect wine for the occasion. We love the branding and label and think that would really intrigue people if they saw it in a shop.

The name, ‘Boco’ is an old Sussex dialect term meaning lots of/much, and it's derived from the French word beaucoup.

Tesco English sparkling wine

£21, available from Tesco, in-store and online

Supermarket own label sparkling wines are often a really good way to get a bargain. I’ve been a fan of Tesco’s Finest Premier Cru Brut Champagne for a while now (seriously good value at £21 a bottle), and the English sparkling lives up to that too. It’s made by Hush Heath wines, so you know you’re going to be getting something good. It’s a traditional method sparkling wine, made with the traditional Champagne grapes: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, which are hand harvested. It’s dry, crisp, with the characteristic apples and citrus, and a nice toasty brioche note, which comes from ageing it on the lees (leaving the yeast in the bottle during the second fermentation) for more than a year.

Lidl English sparkling wine – Broadwood's Folly Brut

£14.99, available from Lidl, in-store and online

Another supermarket own English sparkling made by another big English vineyard. Lidl’s Broadwood’s Folly is made by Denbies in Dorking (seen in the top picture). The ‘Broadwood Folly’ is a circular mock gothic tower on Lodge Hill with views over Denbies’ vineyard. This one’s nicely aromatic, with a yummy creaminess to it, along with those apples and citrus again. We tucked into this one on the beach, while making pizza. Did it lead to our pizzas being less round? Quite possibly. But it was worth the shape sacrifice.

Bluebell Vineyard Hindleap Rosé 2015

£29.95, available from the Bluebell Vineyard website.

Bluebell Vineyard was the first English vineyard we visited, back in 2017 (BFT – before FoodDevour), and we’re still drinking their wine today. This is Bluebell's delicious Rosé, which is fabulous. It's made with 79% Pinot Noir grapes, and 21% Pinot Meunier. It's super fruity, with lovely aromas of cranberry, raspberry, strawberry and brioche. Like a big fruity summer pudding. It's very elegant, with a long, dry finish. As you might expect, it's the perfect fancy picnic wine if you've got an excellent cheese board filled with goat's cheese and other light and creamy cheeses, and some strawberries to finish up with. But to be honest it's also a great aperitif. Basically there's never a bad time to drink this wine.

Fenny Castle Blanc de Noir 2017

£30, available from the Fenny Castle website

After making the move to the South West last year, Fenny Castle is now our ‘local’ vineyard. Their Blanc de Noir is delicious. It’s made with 100% Pinot Noir grapes grown on the steepest part of the vineyard. It’s then had three years on the lees. This basically means dead yeast cells left over from the fermentation process are left in the bottle for three years. That might not sound super appealing, but the particles are really small, and the process helps to develop lots of extra flavour, aroma and give wine more complexity and body. You know you quite often get bready or brioche flavours in sparkling wine? That’s from ageing the wine on the lees. Those flavours definitely come through with this wine, along with some red apple and pears. It’s like tasting the South West of England, in a glass.

Have you tried any English sparkling wine?

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Comments (4)

  • I know my hometown has it's own wine since a few years, but never tasted it or found a bottle

      20 hours ago
  • I have never tried an English sparkling - but considering sparkling is the best form of alcohol there is, I’m wanting to.

      18 hours ago
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