langham winery pouring english sparkling wine from the bottle
Handpicked by IWSC
Wine Handpicked by IWSC 6 November 2021

20 award-winning English sparkling wines to try

From Blanc de Blancs to sparkling rosé, check out this selection of fine fizz declared the best English sparkling wine in 2021 by the IWSC
Introduction and recommendations by
IWSC Judges

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.

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.

Breaky Bottom South Downs Vineyard
Breaky Bottom vineyard in the South Downs, home to a silver-winning English sparkling wine at the IWSC 2021

Nyetimber was one of the wineries that really kick-started the English fizz revolution, so it’s fitting that a magnum of its Blanc de Blancs Brut 2013 took the top spot in this year’s IWSC category, scoring 97/100pts and scooping an IWSC Trophy in the process. The judges loved its elegant, complex nose, with notes of lemon shortbread, zesty citrus and balanced finish.

Court Garden Blanc de Noirs Extra Dry 2014 was close behind (96/100pts), offering notes of tarte Tatin, red apples and baked bread, while rosé fizz got a look-in with Langham Wine Estate’s Rosé Brut 2017, another Gold winner (95/100pts), and a wine that showed rich aromas of cherry, strawberry and shortbread.

Every English sparkling wine in this year’s IWSC was judged blind, with a top-class panel tasting each one. In charge of proceedings was John Hoskins MW, assisted by consultant Roger Jones, Club Oenologique contributor David Kermode, Corney & Barrow’s Rebecca Palmer and Elliot Awin of Awin Barratt Siegel Wine Agencies.

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 2021 tasting.

Nyetimber lead shot
The top-scoring English sparkling wine from blind tastings was Nyetimber's Blanc de Blancs Brut 2013

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.

MORE FROM CLUB OENOLOGIQUE

Club O is an exclusive community and the go-to platform for wine and spirit lovers. Our flagship Club Oenologique magazine offers even more insights for enthusiasts and collectors. Based in London, our editorial team tells informative, inspirational stories from the world of wine and spirits, gastronomy and travel, as well as covering recommendations and the latest trends in drink. You can take a look at our Explained series, for instance, where we’re tackling grape varieties, regions and styles of wine and spirits. Alternatively, visit our Ask the Sommelier section, where experts answer your wine-related questions.

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