Having recently confessed my penchant for white wine spritzers, I am fully aware that my credibility as a wine guru is astoundingly low. So thank goodness there are other people around who do know what they’re talking about. Take the other week. I was doing a party with a ‘modern classic’ / ’English summer’ feel to it and I had this idea to serve sparkling English wines. Unsure whether this was a) bonkers or b) actually quite a good plan, I consulted my trusty wine supplier who is never slow to give me his honest opinion on which of a) or b) he thinks I’ve come up with.
And gloriously, it turns out that English sparklers are no longer the embarrassing aunt of the fizzy wine world, which is fabulous news because everybody knows that champagne proper is frightfully outré these days. English fizz by contrast is elegant, understated and patriotic. Well, patriotic if you’re English. If you happen to be Welsh, I’m told they’re doing some pretty good ones too. Try Glyndwr Vineyard. If you’re neither English nor Welsh then I don’t suppose these wines will make you feel overly patriotic at all.
Anyway, for the party in question we ended up serving Chapel Down Brut Rose and Brut Reserve. I wish I could give you a proper wine person’s critique of them but it would be either made-up or ‘borrowed’ from someone else’s review. If only I’d taken more notice of the technical details when we had our tasting. I can tell you that they were really awfully nice, though. Will that do?
We almost chose the Nyetimber Classic Cuvee or their Blanc de Blancs. Now I do remember this bit. The Nyetimbers have been winning awards all over the place, causing some right old fits of pique in France by beating their top champagnes in blind tastings.
I’ve come to the conclusion that the only thing holding these wines back from their rightful superstar status is the lack of a catchy name for the genre. Doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, does it? ‘English sparkling wine’. Somewhat lacking the romance of ‘champagne’. If the Spanish have ‘cava’ and the Italians have ‘prosecco’ – any ideas for what we can call ours?
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