With Easter just a few days away, I will of course be drinking both English Sparkling and English still wine, whilst taking a much needed rest and catching up with family and friends. English Sparkling is naturally the perfect bubbly to celebrate with, but I also wanted to look at a couple of the best still whites available, and where to buy them from.
With all the sweets and cake consumed over Easter, I also wanted to explore a couple of wines suitable for those with a sweeter tooth. The two I’ve selected are quite different, but provide a perfect partner for both cheese and desserts. Both of these wines provide a surprising insight into the English wine industry and I'm sure will go down a treat.
Nyetimber Classic Cuvée 2010
The Nyetimber Classic Cuvée is one of the most consistently superb English Sparkling Wines on the market. It is both crisp and fresh, whilst being complex, nuanced and textured.
Effortlessly refined with flavours of citrus, stone fruit and apple, accompanied by notes of biscuit and sweet brioche. It’s my favourite of recent vintages, and with it being currently on offer for £23.99 from Waitrose you’d be hard pressed to find a better bottle of sparkling wine from any country at this price.
Buy From Waitrose (Instore & Online) £23.99 (
Hambledon Classic Cuvée NV
Another delicious English Sparkling I’ve recently had the pleasure to try is the brilliant Classic Cuvée NV from Hambledon. This Hampshire based producer hit the headlines last year they were judged as the top wine in a blind tasting of English Sparkling vs Champagne organised by Noble Rot magazine. As well as seeing off local competition, it was rated higher than many established Champagnes including Taittinger and Pol Roger.
The Hambledon is a beautifully crisp English Sparkler with zippy acidity and flavours of citrus, crisp green apples and yeasty hints of bread. A palate pleaser for sure!
Sixteen Ridges Sparkling Pinot Noir Rosé 2013
Whilst most of the wines here are from well known winemakers, I had to include this beautiful rosé from Worcestershire's Sixteen Ridges. Sixteen Ridges are quite new to the scene with their vineyards being planted in 2007.
This single varietal Pinot Noir Sparkling is like an English summer berry pudding in a glass. The nose is bright with strong red berry influence of strawberry, raspberry and cranberry. And the palate, ever so drinkable; crisp and fresh up front with a gorgeous red berries and cream mid taste.
Buy from Once Upon a Tree £27.49
Chapel Down Bacchus 2014
I would have to say the Bacchus is one of my favourites from Chapel Down's extensive range of Still and Sparkling wines. The 2014 vintage is their best yet and the wine continues to gain new fans, often described as England’s answer to Sauvignon Blanc.
With its fresh flavours of citrus, gooseberry and elderflower, this wine is also one of the best value for money still English white wines on the market and is currently on offer for £9.99 from Waitrose.
Buy From Waitrose (Instore & Online) £9.99 (
Gusbourne Guinevere Chardonnay 2013
My second still selection is also from Kent, this time from Gusbourne who are known for their superb sparkling wines. Their still wines are just as delicious!
This 100% Chardonnay has spent 9 months in old French oak which has induced a beautiful buttery texture. Bright citrus and orchard fruit character both on the nose and the palate with a beautiful lengthy aftertaste. One of the finest English Chardonnay’s out there.
Chapel Down Nectar Late Harvest 2013
This is the perfect bridging wine for those who want something a little sweeter, but don’t want a full-blown dessert wine. It’s made from a blend of Germanic grape varieties known for their aromatics, bringing lovely vibrant tropical fruit and floral character.
The tropics continue on the palate with papaya and lychee as well as fresher citrus and gooseberry flavours I would say it is closer to a off-dry Gewürztraminer and as such is very approachable.
Denbies Noble Harvest Dessert Wine 2014
Perhaps one of my most surprising discoveries last year, this dessert wine from Denbies in Surrey is a real revelation. Uniquely made from Botrytis affected Ortega grapes, the wine has a stunning aromatic profile of juicy stone fruit, orange oil and dried flowers.
Despite its high sugar content (107.9g/L) it’s remarkably balanced, with an unctuous juicy fruit palate but enough acidity to rein it back in. Pineapple, mango and honeyed peach flavours await with hints of vanilla from partial oak ageing.
Buy From Waitrose (Instore & Online) £19.99
So what will I be drinking over the Easter weekend? Well, as well as one or two of the wines I have mentioned above, I’ve also treated myself to a bottle of the newly released Blanc de Blancs 2009 from Nyetimber. With a move back to reintroducing malolactic fermentation and partial use of new French oak – I expect this wine to be indulgent, creamy and complex.
I simply can’t wait to pop open a bottle on Easter Sunday!
For this month's round-up, John puts the focus back on English sparkling, with six top new wine picks.
John takes a festive look at some top English sparkling to enjoy over the Christmas and new year period.
Matt talks through his indulgent festive 2020 selection from Grape Britannia including prestige sparkling, white, red and dessert wine and a rare aged brandy.
As the colder months set in, John takes a look at some of the fantastic English Pinot Noir available right now.
John tastes through ten delicious and diverse examples of English Bacchus, which demonstrate just why this is the white grape of choice in England right now.
This month, Matt looks at a selection of rosé wines, both still and sparkling, from England and Wales.