By Rose Murray Brown MW Published in The Scotsman 4 June 2022
A dozen English fizz to add sparkle to your Platinum Jubilee weekend celebrations:
Hampshire: LOUIS POMMERY BRUT NV (12%)
£23.99/£35.99 Majestic Wine; Ocado; £26 Sainsburys
First sparkling wine on our shores crafted by a Champagne house. Made from bought in fruit from neighbouring vineyards, as Pommery’s own Pinglestone estate vineyards in Alresford are still maturing. Remarkably good effort from mainly 2017 vintage using 20% reserve wine; floral nose, touch biscuity, apricot & apple fruit, good layers of flavour, steely with vibrant acidity.
Hampshire: BLACK CHALK CLASSIC CUVEE 2018 (12%)
£35 Black Chalk Wine; Cornelius Wine; Vino Wines; Luvians
Always popular at our tastings, winemaker Jacob Leadley’s Classic Cuvee crafts brilliant fizz from Hampshire chalk-lands in the Test valley. Very elegant creamy with floral apple aroma and depth of fruit – unusually focuses on Pinot Meunier alongside Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
West Sussex: MORRISONS THE BEST ENGLISH SPARKLING BRUT VINTAGE 2010 (11.5%) ***STAR VALUE***
£25 Morrisons (on offer at only £15 if you order by 5 June)
Cracking price for a fizz from such an old vintage and with eight years on lees, with none of the raw high acid and young green fruit of some English sparklers. Deliciously rich, honeyed, creamy, nutty and good balance of acidity – it is believed to come from Nyetimber stable – hence the quality.
East Sussex: 70 YEARS PLATINUM JUBILEE BRUT NV (12%)
£34.99/£39.99 Virgin Wines
Made by Henners in Herstmonceux with special Jubilee label with the Queen’s favourite lily of the valley amidst the bunting. Suit those who like softer rounded cuvees with less intense acidity – very approachable in style, pear & apple fruits with creamy depth, but just drops off too quickly on the finish.
West Sussex: AMBRIEL CLASSIC CUVEE BRUT NV (11%) ***STAR BUY***
£29.95 Corney & Barrow
Very impressive effort from Ambriel, this Chardonnay-dominant cuvee with 5 years on its lees scored one of the highest marks in our tasting. Rich biscuity notes, delicious baked apple notes, balanced lively acidity, rich creamy length with good complexity for the price.
West Sussex: NYETIMBER CLASSIC CUVEE BRUT NV (12%)
£27.69 reduced from £36.99 at Waitrose until 7 June
With 25% off this weekend, this is another cracking buy from the original English fizz pioneer. Despite an influx of newcomers, Nyetimber’s Canadian winemaker Cherie Spriggs continues to stay ahead of the pack crafting brilliantly balanced cuvees with rich creamy undertones, depth & vibrancy.
Dorset: LANGHAM CORALLIAN CLASSIC CUVEE NV (12%) ***STAR VALUE***
£26 The Wine Society
Based on the legendary 2018 vintage with 75% Chardonnay in the cuvee with 17% reserve wine; rich biscuity nose, pearskin notes, initially sleek and minerally with rich intense fruity backbone – a seriously good buy at this price.
East Sussex: BREAKY BOTTOM GERARD HOFFNUNG BRUT 2009 (12%)
£69 Corney & Barrow
Winemaker Peter Hall is another English fizz pioneer, who first planted vines in 1974, now making brilliantly crafted small cuvees named after his friends, like illustrator Gerard Hoffnung. Rich intense bready nose, apple and apricot with maturating nutty flavours,
silky soft Chardonnay cuvee.
ENGLISH SPARKLING ROSE
Kent: IRRESISTIBLE EIGHT ACRES BRUT ROSE NV (11.5%)
Soft approachable with very pale colour (barely a rose), with a palate of rich creamy red fruits and less obvious acidity compared to many English fizz. An accomplished blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier made by Hush Heath. Well priced.
Oxfordshire: WYFOLD BRUT ROSE 2017 (12%)
2017 was a small vintage devastated by frost, but what was made is remarkably good. Winemaker Henry Laithwaite has crafted a brilliant toasty minerally rose from fruit grown on his mother’s small two hectare plot on Thames terrace gravels and Paris basin chalk bedrock.
Berkshire: WINDSOR GREAT PARK VINEYARD BRUT ROSE (12%) ***STAR BUY***
Highest scorer in our tasting. First rose release from vines grown in Windsor Great Park by the Laithwaites family, who planted vines here nine centuries after Henry II’s Windsor Castle vineyard in C12. Pale colour, beautiful depth of strawberry fruits, creamy, complex with good length – a surprisingly good Pinot Noir cuvee - made in small volumes.
West Sussex: ROEBUCK ESTATE BRUT ROSE DE NOIRS 2016 (12%)
£42 Roebuck Estate; Grape Britannia; Hennings Wine
Another very stylish pale rose which regularly scores highly in my tastings. Made from Pinot Noir with early ripening clone Fruhburgunder to add tone – and whole bunch pressed fruit with a percentage aged in Burgundian oak to add depth. Delicious ripe red fruit sweetness, layers of flavour and minerally undertone.
Join Rose’s Online Champagne Tasting on Friday 1 July www.rosemurraybrown.com