What we’re drinking: English sparkling



With summertime in full swing – and, as a recent report shows, more sparkling wine being consumed than ever before – thoughts turn to the increasingly sophisticated pleasure of English bubbles. Simon Field MW ponders the charm of home-grown sparkling.

To say that English sparkling wine has come of age is something an understatement; the ebullient self-confidence that bristled through the crowded room at the annual English Wine and Producer Tasting in early May was a joy to behold and the wines on show more than justified their burgeoning reputation.

Soil, climate, aspect, savoir faire, investment and most of all patience are all required to make top sparkling wine… and if the gently chalky downs of Sussex, Kent et al recall the green remembered hills of the Marne Valley, the style of their wines, rather excitingly, are beginning to acquire their own personality and more and more to challenge the Champagne hegemony.

Gone are the grassy, tart flavours of yore, and in their place we taste honey, brioche and delicate yellow fruit, no longer a pale facsimile of Champagne but a wonderful style of wine in its own right… the perfect patriotic aperitif.

To browse our English wine selection, go to bbr.com