English Sparkling Wine Commended

Which?, the independent consumer organisation, confirmed today that in a taste test of 19 sparkling wines, three English brands performed better than Tesco Premier Cru Champagne Brut, the best champagne in a previous Which? report, and the only non-English sparkling wine in the test.

The test’s winner was Nyetimber’s Classic Cuvée 1996, which was admired for its ‘complexity and elegance’. In second place was Chapel Down’s Pinot Reserve 2000, followed by Ridgeview Estate’s Cuvée Merret-Cavendish 2000.

Although non-sparkling wines did not fair quite so well in similar tests, the sparkling wine test results will be encouraging for English winemakers, whose products are widely considered as not up to the standard of their international counterparts. However, acquiring English wines can be a problem, as they are usually only available direct from the producers and not from the supermarkets where people usually buy alcohol.

Adam Lechmere, editor of decanter.com, said: ‘The quality of English sparkling wine has never been in doubt. It is highly regarded on an international scale. The chalky down land in the south east of England is perfect for growing grapes with the acidity required for making good sparkling wine. The best evidence of this is that Duval Léroy, a large French champagne house, is currently in discussions to buy land in Kent for growing grapes. [However], a fair test would have included an equal number of English and international brands.’

Click here to read more about the resurgence of English wines.