Published on September 6th, 20120
Celebrate The Diamond Jubilee In Style!
Appeared in The Resident, Wednesday, May 30th, 2012
By Rebecca Dunphy
Over the Diamond Jubilee weekend I will be celebrating with English sparkling wine. There will be no Champagne, Cava or Aussie fizz passing my lips. It’s not just out of patriotic pride, but because English bubbles taste fantastic.
When you pop open some home-grown fizz you might feel a warm glow knowing that our wines regularly triumph over Champagne on the wine show circuit, and that contrary to popular opinion it wasn’t the French but the English who invented the technique of putting the sparkle into wine. As early as 1662 we were adding sugar to wines to make them ‘brisk and sparkling’ decades before the French had even thought of making Champagne.
With more than 400 vineyards and double the acreage under vine since 2004, England’s wine making scene is fizzing. We’re turning our backs on old fashioned German crossings and hybrid grapes. Oh no darling, only posh Champagne grapes will do – Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier – which means more high quality English sparkling wine is heading your way! Even the Queen has planted 16,500 vines at Windsor to make her own Royal Fizz.
Whether you’re feasting on cucumber sandwiches, lobster and caviar, or just plain fish and chips, here are some local bubbles to ensure your Diamond Jubilee celebrations go pop, sparkle and fizz.
‘Carr-Taylor Vineyards ‘, Brut, £14.99
Available from Carr Taylor Vineyards and English food and drink specialist, ‘Penbuckles’, High Street, Hastings Old Town.
Hastings is the birth place of TV, but it is a little known fact that Carr Taylor made England’s first commercial sparkling wine. It’s half the price of Champagne with a lot more fruit and quaffability.
‘Sandhurst Vineyards’, Kent, Vintage Brut, 2003, £15
Available directly from the Sandhurst Vineyards and just 30 minutes drive from Hastings.
After nearly 10 years in bottle this fizz has morphed into a golden, rich, nutty fizz with enough power to stand up to any food the celebrations throw at it.
Gusbourne, Brut Reserve 2007, Appledore, Kent, £24.99.
Available from Gusbourne Vineyards
One sniff tells you this is top notch. Complex perfumed, creamily sparkling and an apple freshness to make your senses spin. Don’t waste your money on Champagne and don’t take my word for it.