Wine from England?
This particular wine shot to fame when the late Queen Elizabeth served it (ok, possibly not served in person) at Christmas one year, instead of Champagne. It made people think one of a few things - that either she was taste-less; that she was trying to create a diplomatic scene; or that there was something developing in the South Downs that deserved attention. Easy.
That England could produce wine should surprise no one - they have the very same soil types as many of the finest areas where grapes for sparkling wines are grown in the north of France. Add to that the climatic change that we have witnessed over the past three decades it seems inevitable that the right conditions could be met. What is different to European wine regions, of course, is the culture and context and size of land available for growing vines.
In other words, there isn't a critical mass of producers or universally accepted land usage for grape growing, or even a significant enough appetite for exploring the potential in the UK, which is why the prices are very high and quality is very much dependent on judicious skill, micro-climates and ageing of the wines and the age of vines themselves.
Needless to say, Nyetimber are one of the most serious and highly respected producers and have even been awarded world sparkling winemaker of the year.
The signature wine of Nyetimber, this is a classic Champagne-focused blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier. It delivers a mouth-tingling balance of elegance and intensity. The blend includes wines from all of the estate's vineyards, which, unlike many estates in other countries, are situated in different regions, namely West Sussex and Hampshire.
It is also, much in the house style method, made of wines from several vintages, in order to achieve consistency and preserve the outstanding quality. Notes of honey, green apple and almond-croissants make this a very tasty and high quality drop - especially good as an aperitif.
Grape(s): Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, Chardonnay
Style: Vibrant, Medium, Fresh, Elegant, Complex, Bright
Best food matches: Warm Salads, Tuna, Trout, Sushi, St Stephen's Day, Squid, Soft Cheeses, Shellfish, Seafood, Scallops, Salads, Lobster, Lamb, Hard Cheeses, Goat's Cheese, Fine Dining, Duck, Cheeses, Charcuterie, Asparagus, Aperitif