The rise in quality – and volume – of English sparkling wine has been remarkable. Stories of English fizz beating Champagne in blind tastings are not uncommon, but when you consider that the climate, grape varieties and soil types in parts of England are the same as Champagne, it shouldn’t be a surprise that the best English sparkling wines are very much their equal – some might even call it a drink fit for a Queen, and the perfect toasting material for the forthcoming Platinum Jubilee.
There’s even evidence that the English were making sparkling wine a few decades before the French, despite the oft-repeated line from Dom Pérignon with which he called out to his fellow monks: ‘Come quickly, I am tasting the stars!’
Despite the English getting in on the fizz act back in the 17th century, it’s only really in the past couple of decades that the industry has flourished – the UK now has more than 150 wineries, and thanks to better techniques and warmer temperatures, making good sparkling wine in this country is no longer a challenge. The fact that big-name Champagne houses have been buying up land on England’s south coast has not gone unnoticed, either.
One brand that’s fast becoming a household name thanks to the English fizz revolution is Gusbourne, so it’s fitting that its Late-Disgorged Reserve Brut 2013 took the top spot in this year’s IWSC category, scoring 96/100pts. The judges loved its powerful nose of ripe orchard fruits, spice and brioche.
Tinwood Estate’s Blanc de Blancs Brut 2017 was close behind (95/100pts), offering notes of crisp stone fruit, lemon peel and a hint of smokiness, while rosé fizz got a look-in with Furleigh Estates’s Rosé Brut NV receiving a Silver medal (91/100), a fruit-forward sparkler boasting plums, cherries, red berries and strawberries on the palate.
Every English sparkling wine in this year’s IWSC was judged blind, with a top-class panel tasting each one, including Roger Jones, Club Oenologique contributor Essi Avellan MW, Master Sommelier Svetoslav Manolev and London wine bar owner Sunny Hodge.
Believe the hype – English sparkling wine is seriously good stuff, and the choice is getting wider. Here is our pick of the best English fizz from the IWSC’s 2022 tasting – all ideal raising a glass during the Platinum Jubilee celebrations.
HOW DO WE JUDGE THESE WINES?
We run a tightly structured, rigorous wine tasting process. That means that each wine sample is pre-poured into numbered glasses and assessed blindly by the judges. Most importantly, our IWSC wine judges are experts in their field, who work across all sectors of the wine industry. For evidence, see our full list of judges.
HOW DO WE SCORE THESE WINES?
Only the best wines sampled receive a Gold or Silver award. For example, to win Gold, wines have to score between 95 and 100 points. Meanwhile, Silver wines range from 90 to 94 points. Click here to read more on our scoring system.
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