With the English wine harvest set to commence in the coming weeks, I've taken the chance this month to focus on some of the latest wines from six of the country's most well known and established English Sparkling wine producers. This month we have seen Nyetimber unveil its smart and distinctive new label design as part of its 30 year anniversary, and I've kicked off the round-up with a review of the latest Multi-vintage release. It's one of the most compelling Nyetimber Classic Cuvée's to date, so keep your eyes peeled for this appearing in retail channels and restaurants soon!
Elsewhere, I've included some heavyweight 2014 vintage releases. The Gusbourne Brut Reserve 2014 and Sugrue The Trouble With Dreams 2014 are two the most memorable bottles of sparkling wine I've had in recent months, both demonstrating incredible complexity and depth of flavour. These are two must-try new wines, confirming that 2014 wines are really starting to enter their stride.
And how about the ever delectable Pinot Noir Rosé Brut from Camel Valley? This wine has won countless awards over the past few years, and the 2015 vintage is tasting particularly delicious right now, with the 2016 also just on the horizon. Finally, after another brilliantly successful Vineyards of Hampshire festival at the end of July, I've revisited a couple of Classic Cuvée releases from two of the rising brands of the region. The rich and giving Raimes Classic 2014 is a crowd-pleaser and has the looks to match, while Jenkyn Place's Classic Cuvée 2013 has evolved so much since its release last year, that it's well worth a revisit.
Six Fantastic & Fresh English Sparkling Wines
Nyetimber Classic Cuvée MV
REGION: Sussex GRAPES: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir & Pinot Meunier
Sporting a new look label, this latest release from Nyetimber continues the producer's pioneering approach of non-vintage English Sparkling wine. It's the most complex blend to date, made predominantly from 70% of the 2014 vintage, but with a further five vintages of reserve wines included in the mix.
Aromas of peaches and cream, toasted biscuit and brown sugar with pastry and almond complexity, then all the freshness and punchy green apple youth that the '14 vintage brings.
Upon tasting, I felt instantly that this really hit the mark. There's a perfect balance between the zesty vibrancy and the riper stone fruit flavours, whilst the nutty, biscuity notes of the reserve wines add depth, complexity and charm.
This release is so finely tuned, my first impression is that it is the finest release of Nyetimber Classic Cuvée for quite some time.
Sugrue The Trouble With Dreams 2014
REGION: Sussex GRAPES: Chardonnay & Pinot Noir
The latest vintage from superstar winemaker Dermot Sugrue is always something to look forward to, The Trouble With Dreams 2014 is the second wine this month to come with a revised look. Sugrue Pierre is no more, the black and gold label now proudly, simply embellishes the name Sugrue. I like that!
The grape blend mirrors the previous vintage (2013), being 60% Chardonnay and 40% Pinot Noir with 6g/L dosage.
It has been described as tasting like foie gras, and only once tasting it did I understand. In addition to that classic racy, trademark Sugrue crisp acidity and the mature stone fruit character, there's a deep, intense savoury richness.
There's a wealth of biscuit, oatmeal and nutty complexity, whilst the texture is smooth, creamy and enveloping. This wine is so diverse and broad, that it will put a huge smile on your face.
A fantastic wine, and dare I say it, in its youth, The Trouble with Dreams 2014 is drinking even better than 2013 did on release.
Raimes Classic 2014
REGION: Hampshire GRAPES: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir & Pinot Meunier
The first vintage of Classic from Raimes, this 2014 is a blend of 51% Chardonnay, 29% Pinot Noir and 20% Pinot Meunier. As usual, the wine is produced at Hattingley Valley.
What an appealing wine, beginning with inviting, rich brioche aromas with warming vanilla and oodles of ripe orchard fruit, apples and pears, with a delicate spring blossom note.
The palate is full and giving; again, rich on the ripe orchard fruit flavours with a decadently creamy, soft mousse. There's a slightly sweeter note, but the wine's depth and crisp citrus character keep it really well balanced.
The Raimes Classic is in a fantastic place right now, and another sign that this is a producer to continue to watch closely.
Gusbourne Brut Reserve 2014
REGION: Kent GRAPES: Pinot Noir, Chardonnay & Pinot Meunier
The latest vintage of Gusbourne Brut Reserve, the 2014 is a blend of 60% Pinot Noir, 22% Chardonnay and 18% Pinot Meunier with 8g/l dosage.
A strikingly distinctive nose, it's seriously complex with a fusion of toasted nut, green apple and orange peel.
A serious wine, the palate is broad and diverse as the nose and brings a richness that's more suggestive of age than you would from that 2014 youth.
Deep savoury notes, lots of biscuit with a lick of perfumed oak. Impressive length, the Gusbourne has a wonderful lingering quality that will keep you coming back for more.
Camel Valley Pinot Noir Rosé Brut 2015
REGION: Cornwall GRAPES: Pinot Noir
Recently granted a Royal Warrant as a Purveyor of English Sparkling Wines, Camel Valley stands as one of England's most prestigious and longest running vineyards, established by Bob and Annie Lindo in 1989.
What's more, this delicious 100% Pinot Noir sparkling rosé has won Gold at the Champagne & Sparkling Wine World Championships yet again, and it's no surprise why.
It pours with lively streams of tiny bubbles and a lovely pink hue, matched with aromas of strawberry, raspberry and citrus, with hints of sweet pastry.
To taste, the Camel Valley is everything you could want from a Rosé. Crisp citrus up front, with crunchy red apple and tangy cranberry notes. The mid-taste is rounder, with peach and riper red berry flavours. A truly delightful bottle of sparkling rosé.
Jenkyn Place Classic Cuvée 2013
REGION: Hampshire GRAPES: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir & Pinot Meunier
I first covered this lively Classic Cuvée back in August last year upon release, describing it as having "an austere like tension that slowly starts to unfold as the wine hints at depth the will continue to develop".
With another year in the bottle, it's really starting to come into its element, with aromas of warm toasted brioche and lemon curd.
The palate is where the Jenkyn Place now really delivers. The tension and citrus freshness are still there, but it soon gives way to a softer, creamier texture. It continues to unfold with nuttiness and almond cream pastry complexity, while still maintaining those beautiful rich English orchard fruit notes.
This was my favourite wine at last month's Vineyards of Hampshire Festival, and when you consider the company it was in, that makes it all the more impressive.
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.
Continuing our exploration of all things pink-coloured, John takes a look at the latest and greatest trends in English sparkling rosé.
In a new series looking at iconic English wine styles, John takes a look at a duo of still Chardonnays from Gusbourne in Kent.
This month, Matt looks back at a selection of old favourite English wines, including Nyetimber's delicious Cuvee Chérie and the ever-reliable Chapel Down Bacchus.
In the first in a series of English Wine Vertical features, John tastes through five vintages of Gusbourne Blanc de Blancs to explore the differences in vintage and bottle age.