English Wine Review - Sparkling


Chapel Down Sparkling Bacchus 2018 - £18

Region: Kent

Grape: Bacchus

Tasting Notes: On initial whiff, distinct elder flower with a dollop of honey. I can report that it was fruity yes, but still dry. 

It’s a refreshing drink with soft, light bubbles. Not like those big harsh ones you get from a cheap Prosecco. All too gluggable, the boyf and I knocked it back far too easily.

What don't Chapel Down do? Not only do they make award winning English wines but gin and beer as well. If you are ever stuck in Ashford then a visit to their restaurant and brewery is compulsory. 

The Grange Classic 2015 - £31

Region: Hampshire

Grape: Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier, Pinot Noir

Tasting Notes: Light brioche and apple aromas. The Classic is 55% Chardonnay but I could taste plenty of red fruit from the two Pinots, Meunier and Noir, which is delicately balanced in equal measure with light toasted notes from the time spent on lees. 

The wine is made at Hattingley Valley winery and we love it. The Grange is a family affair with four siblings at the helm, they manage fifty-two thousand vines in the idyllic Hampshire download. Sounds like a lot of vines to me. Well done team! 

Furleigh Estate Sparkling Rosé NV - £30.99

Region: Dorset

Grape:  46% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay, 14% Pinot Meunier

Tasting Notes: This rosé carries a nuance of freshly baked scones with strawberries and cream, yes really. A jolly wine with a touch of sweetness and a vibrant acidity.

Proudly making Dorest wines from Dorset grapes, all of their still wines are current silver medal winners. 

Hambledon Classic Cuvée Rosé NV- £34.99

Region: Hampshire

Grape:  90% Chardonnay, 10% Pinot Noir

Tasting Notes: Lovely amber pink in colour, plenty of crunch cherries, raspberries, white choclate on the nose and red fruits in depth on the palate. The finish is rich and yeasty for those who prefer the Champagne style. Julia Harding of Jancisrobinson.com likes it: "Excellent fruit depth, just a little bit of feel sweetness on the finish so you get a sweet/sour Victoria plum finish and a slight boiled-sweets (hard-candy) after-effect. 16.5/20"

Hambledon is England's oldest commercial vineyard, planted in 1952. It now comprises of over 200 acres of vineyards and the only gravity-fed, state-of-the-art winery in the UK. 

Digby Fine English NV Brut - £32

Region: Various vineyards -Dorset, Kent, Sussex, Hampshire

Grape:  Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier 

Tasting Notes: 

Digby Fine English are a négociant - a merchant that contracts other, smaller vineyards and winemakers to grow the fruit and help produce the end-product. As co-founder Trevor remarked recently on a webinar, they didn't want to be stuck in the vineyard but rather focusing on the quality of wine and the success of the business. Digby was the first English sparkling to be exported to New Zealand; it is listed in the Michelin starred Hand and Flower and retails in New York wine shop Flatiron (which looks fancy). Not too shabby. 

Coolhurst Single Vineyard, Lady Elizabeth Sparkling Rosé 2016 - £42 

Region: West Sussex

Grape: Pinot Noir

Tasting Notes: So, so tasty. The aromas are full of baked custard and raspberry. On the palate are dancing strawberry bubbles giving way to a zesty pink grapfruit finish, Lady Elizabeth is certainly a woman of good taste and sophistication.

To quote Coolhurst website: "Lady Elizabeth is the first in a series of very limited production, single varietal wines". But what quality! Cousins Will and Charlie know what they're doing and I can't wait to try their Provencal rosé. 

Wiston Estate Cuvée 2009

Region: West Sussex 

Grape: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier

Tasting Notes: Wow this is some good stuff. The juice had 7.5 years on the lees (!). The result, a delicate toasted almond nose, the palate light and buttery, silky soft and dancing bubbles all the way down the glass.  

This award winner (IWSC – Gold (Outstanding) 2018 & Drinks Business Global Sparkling Masters Gold, 2018) is for special occasions and to be shared with your closest wine allies. 

Harrow & Hope Blanc de Noirs 2015 - £30-49.99 

(Gold Award Winner WineGB Awards 2020)

Region: Marlow, Buckinghamshire

Grape: Pinot Noir 70%, Pinot Meunier 30%

Tasting Notes: On the nose - baked cherries, cloves, nutmeg. Perfectly balanced palate - complex, linear driving acidity - holy crap it's good! No wonder it won GOLD AWARD! After 40 months on the lees this is wine is one to treasure and can be kept to improve even, well into 2021. 

Harrow & Hope is a family affair, a small knit team who have been running their winery for 7 years on the chalk soils behind Marlow. 

Lewes, East Sussex


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