With the Easter weekend just a week away, there will be plenty of excuses to open up a bottle or two of sparkling wine to share with friends and family. Easter is usually a pretty indulgent time food wise, with plenty of chocolate and rich food being consumed. To counter this, I have selected five ultra-fresh English Sparkling wines from across the country. These five wines are all charismatically different, but share a striking vibrancy that I feel captures the essence of English springtime in a glass. From fresh and floral Seyval Blanc to the punchiest Brut/Cuvée blends and even a rare sparkling Sauvignon Blanc – this selection has it all covered!
Polgoon Seval Blanc Sparkling 2014
REGION: Cornwall RRP: £25
After my Seyval Blanc breakthrough earlier in the year, I was keen to rediscover a grape I had previously largely overlooked. The Polgoon is really something quite special thanks to its precision and vibrancy.
The palest of all the wines in this feature, but nonetheless lively in the glass with a redolent nose of crisp green apple and pear. Big on the white flower aromatics with hints of lemongrass and elderflower.
This Seyval has a striking palate with remarkable youthful acidity and intense zesty citrus fruit flavours. The crunch and tang of a granny smith apple, leading to softer pear and lemongrass flavours.
This wine’s signature is its honesty; it doesn’t try too hard to be too complex or serious. What it does do is grab you with both arms for one hell of a refreshing ride!
A wonderful contrast to the yeastier traditional blends.
Where to Buy: Polgoon Vineyard
Greyfriars Sparkling Fumé NV
REGION: Surrey RRP: £15
A true one of a kind wine, this Sparkling Fumé from Greyfriars Vineyard in Surrey is the only sparkling wine in England made from just Sauvignon Blanc.
With its aromas of light zesty fruit, hedgerow and fresh green vegetables, the Fumé has a unmistakably contrasting nose to the other wines in this selection.
The wine remains remarkably fresh on the palate, with zero dosage added after secondary fermentation. Surprisingly textured with hints of spiced vanilla, thanks to fermentation in used oak barrels.
With flavours of light gooseberry, cut grass and fresh raw green peas, this wine is not only incredibly unqiue, but also the very essence of English springtime in a glass!
Where to Buy: Greyfriars Vineyard
Breaky Bottom Cuvée Koizumi Yakumo 2010
REGION: Sussex RRP: £28-£33
Breaky Bottom’s wonderful sparkling wines are one of my favourite discoveries of this year. Of particular note are those made solely from Seyval Blanc, like this Cuvée Koizumi Yakumo 2010.
The vibrant citrus-led aromas jump out of the glass and draw you in, with ripe orchard fruit in abundance and subtle floral notes.
To taste, the wine is just as striking and captivating as the nose suggested. Lively but fine bubbles and laser-sharp acidity will awaken your senses, whilst the clean green apple flavours and gloriously silky textures will effortlessly please the palate.
For any newcomers to Seyval Blanc-based fizz, this is a sublime example of what patience and a skilful hand in the winery can add to an often overlooked grape.
Harrow & Hope Brut Reserve NV
REGION: Marlow RRP: £26
From the moment I met Henry Laithwaite and tried his first wines last year, I knew this was a vineyard to watch!
The current Brut Reserve release wine oozes glass-appeal with its plentiful fine bubbles and delectable golden hints. This Pinot Noir dominant blend has a super fresh and focussed nose with red apple and subtle brioche aromas.
A juicy bracing citrus bite, lots of lemon twang and crunchy apples before a softer soothing wave of apricot and silky yeasty textures.
An expressive and vibrant take on the classic cuvée style blend, but with an expansive depth thanks to all of that lovely Pinot.
A real palate-pleaser!
Where to Buy: Harrow & Hope
Sugrue Pierre The Trouble With Dreams 2013
REGION: Sussex RRP: £39
On the nose, this is clearly the most complex wine on the nose of the five (though at £39, the most expensive too). The nose is nuanced and expansive, with apple and citrus freshness matched with equal amounts of nutty biscuit complexity.
Acidity is youthful, almost eye watering in its vibrance; the most mouth-watering of green apple crispness! And then those bubbles - the mousse is absolutely luxurious and leads the way for an eclectic blend of baked stone fruit and pastry flavours. Citrus freshness interweaves constantly, as do waves of toasted nut and hints of caramelised sugar.
The words bracing, unctuous and exuberant are all descriptors I love in a sparkling wine - but few wines combine all of these qualities and then some. Sugrue Pierre 2013 does just that.
As a relatively new release, this 2013 is just a baby and has at least a decade of development ahead of it. Order a case and enjoy a bottle or two now, then lay the rest down in a cool, dark place and reap the rewards of patience when the time comes!