Archive for December, 2011

Carr Taylor Vineyard showcased on Sparkling English Wine

Dec. 21st 2011

It’s a while since we carried out our first expert tasting panel, where the Carr Taylor Sparkling Brut 2008 went down a treat. High scores from all the judges put this wine through without doubt, and we are pleased to finally get the Carr Taylor page and their wine live on the site.


Based near Hastings, in East Sussex, David and Linda Carr Taylor were one of the first commercial vineyards in England to produce a sparkling wine. Over the years, recognition has not escaped Carr Taylor’s wines including numerous medals from from the IWC, IWSC, and regional and national vineyard association awards. Still very much a family-run organisation, David and Linda’s son Alex now manages the processes in the vineyard and makes the wine himself.



The vineyard in the Autumn evening sun


The vineyard itself covers 37 acres and they access grapes from other local sites to create a range of still and sparkling wines, as well as fruit wines and cider. The climate and topography is perfectly suited to the growth of grapes, with gentle slopes set on the southern edge of the Sussex Weald. If you’d like to visit Carr Taylor’s Vineyard, they receive visitors all year round, for guided visits and tutored tastings, but also allow people to wander the vineyards themselves.



Carr Taylor Sparkling Brut 2008

The Carr Taylor Sparkling Brut 2008 is a delight to drink. A very accessible wine, the appearance is pale golden, and has a steady stream of bubbles. The nose is scintillating, with floral elements reminiscent of the Argentinan Torrontes wines, and slight hints of biscuit and butter. The palate is fresh and fruity, with a nice sweetness making it to the sweeter end of the brut scale. It could perhaps be paired with light curries..? A very appealing wine that is delicious to drink, and at £16.86, a very pleasing price too!




Last ordering times for a festive fizz delivery

Dec. 20th 2011


The Christmas rush is well and truly on at Sparkling HQ! If you’ve not yet got your festive English fizz sorted, please place your orders before 12pm on Thursday 22nd December to be sure of a Christmas delivery. This will be delivered the following day (mainland UK only) in time to pop open the bubbly for Christmas Eve!
Likewise, to be sure of receiving your wine for New Year, you’ll need to place your order before 12pm on Thursday 29th December.

Don’t forget we have a variety of special Christmas selections to make your choice a bit simpler, as well as vouchers which will make the pefect gift for any wine lover!

Posted by Tom Jones | in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Go West… Sharpham join the Sparkling English Wine ranks!

Dec. 16th 2011

With a very much South East bias to producers on the site we are very excited to welcome our first producer from the South West. Sharpham Vineyard, near Totnes in Devon, entered two great fizzes to the Sparkling English Wine tasting panel and both were unsurprisingly successful. The quality of their wines is undoubted, with awards from the UKVA and SWVA, under the watchful eye of winemaker Duncan Schwab.


Vineyard in the midst of harvest


Sharpham’s vineyard is located on the wooded slopes of the banks of the River Dart, near Totnes. The site is just 3.7 hectares, but Sharpham have a share in a site in Hampshire where further grapes are grown. The vines grown at Sharpham’s site are Madeleine Angevine, Pinot noir, Dornfelder and Phoenix. At the Hampshire 6 hectare site, Pinot noir, Pinot blanc, Rondo and Chardonnay.


Sharpham Sparkling 2009


Made in the traditional method, being bottle aged for nine months from Pinot Blanc & Seyval, the Sharpham Sparkling 2009 has a lovely bright appearance of pale straw and an excellent fine bead of bubbles. The nose is young, but attractive, with slight autolytic notes combined with fresh apple and pears. The mousse is well integrated and the fizz reveals a good distinctly English acidity balanced by a slight sweetness.




Sharpham Sparkling Pink 2009 (£21.28)


Made from Pinot Blanc, Seyval & Pinot Noir, the Sharpham Sparkling Pink 2009 offers a beautiful pale rose hip pink colour, with steady small beading of bubbles. The nose is gently sweet, with candied strawberries and cherry cordial opening up to apple and pear fruit with hints of cinnamon. An excellent palate offers slightly off-dry youthful fruit which is very refreshing and enjoyable, perhaps paired with sweet fruit based puddings.




On top of their excellent sparkling wines, Sharpham produce a superb range of still wines, as well as delicious cheeses made from their very own Jersey cows’ milk. They offer excellent tours, including self guided tours or those that incorporate a tutored tasting or lunch. Well worth a visit if you’re down near Totnes with an afternoon to spare!

Posted by Tom Jones | in Uncategorized | No Comments »

A big welcome to Daws Hill Vineyard!

Dec. 15th 2011


Daws Hill Vineyard, near Radnage in Buckinghamshire, is a relative newcomer to the English wine stage. Owner Nigel Morgan planted the first site in 2004 with a second tranche going in in 2007, Daws Hill’s 5000 vines of Champagne variety clones produce some excellent sparkling wines.


With only 2.4 acres, Daws Hill are the smallest producer represented on the Sparkling English Wine website so far, and we are pleased that the Sparkling White 2008 got through the expert tasting panel. We especially like the Daws Hill logo, representing the beautiful red kites that are ever present in the skyline of Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire.


Hans and Nigel enjoying the spoils of their labour..!

Alongside Nigel, who is very much hands-on in the vineyard and winery, is consultant winemaker Hans Schleifer, who adds many years experience to the team creating a range of products made in the traditional method, including a sparkling rosé and sparkling cider.


The Daws Hill Sparkling White 2008

The Daws Hill Sparkling White 2008, made from Chardonnay (36%), Auxerrois (30%), Pinot noir (23%), and Pinot meunier (11%) has a golden gentle peach like colour, and small beading bubbles. The nose has a fruitiness with hints of quince and apple, and a toastiness highlighting the 16 months spent on the yeast lees. The palate has a crisp acidity which is nicely counterbalanced by a touch of creamy, candied fruit sweetness.


Should go very nicely with those yummy hot baked apple and cinnamon puddings around Christmas time!



Nyetimber’s top Magnum releases hit Sparkling English Wine!

Dec. 13th 2011

Nyetimber's beautiful manor house (currently under restoration)

Anyone who knows anything about English fizz, even those that don’t, know that Nyetimber have long been a force to be reckoned with…


Beginning their production with their first vintage 1992, Nyetimber have gone from strength to strength picking up awards nationally and internationally on a regular basis. Over the years, winemakers have come and gone, but the quality has remained, long keeping Nyetimber ahead of the pack of fantastic sparkling wine producers in the UK. Without the likes of Nyetimber, along with RidgeView, there would not be the range of quality wines that are in existence today, nor would there be the growth in the market. Nyetimber are among a number of producers that have paved the way for more recent players to join a strong market.


We have recently been granted almost sole access to sell a couple of the Nyetimber library magnums – the 1996 Blanc de Blancs and the 2005 Classic Cuvée. These magnums are not easy to come by. The standard bottles are even out of circulation now (although I’m sure Nyetimber may have a few stashed in their personal library!), and we are lucky enough to be one of the only stockists of these two classic English sparkling wines from England’s top producer… These wines are stars in their own right, having picked up awards aplenty.


1996 Blanc de Blancs Magnum

8 years after its production, in 2004, the Nyetimber Blanc de Blancs 1996 was hugely successful at the UK Vineyard Association awards, picking up a number of trophies and medals. Making it a contender on the international stage, the wine received a gold medal at the IWSC the same year. In 2006, it picked up a silver medal at the Chardonnay du Monde competition in France, cutting its teeth against some of the finest Blanc de Blancs in the world.


Obviously with its extended ageing in bottle, the 1996 Blanc de Blancs benefits from complex autolysis and lees contact offering classic notes of toast on the nose with rich, creamy texture on the palate. Coupled with honey, citrus and minerality aromas, this wine has a golden tinge and slow small bubbles making it a crisp and elegant sparkling wine of great finesse with a long and distinguished finish. Pure class.




2005 Classic Cuvée Magnum

The 2005 Classic Cuvée followed the hugely successful vintage of 2003. 2005 was another fantastic Summer for grapes, with flowering taking place in June unchallenged by the elements that viticulturists have nightmares about, as well as a superb ripening period in the late Summer / early Autumn. Picking up silver medals at the UKVA, IWSC and Decanter World of Wine awards, all in 2010, this wine’s credentials don’t need justifying.


Produced from the classic Champagne blend of Chardonnay, Pinot noir and Pinot meunier grapes, this wine displays gently spiralling bubbles through a bright golden hue. The aroma of sweet almond, toasted croissants, vanilla and citrus fruits fill the nose. The palate echoes flavours of orange and vanilla with a long dry finish. The bubbles bring roundness yet also freshness to the wine.



Posted by Tom Jones | in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Three (Sparkling English) Wine Men at Lord’s!

Dec. 7th 2011

The last weekend was a busy one for Sparkling English Wine. The Three Wine Men consumer-focused wine event took place at Lord’s Cricket Ground, London. Over the two days, there were three tasting sessions of about 4 or 5 hours, where visitors were able to sample wines from wine producers and specialist retailers from around the world.


Tom the barman - calm before the storm!


Sparkling English Wine were there with a selection of 14 wines from big names Nyetimber and RidgeView, alongside lesser known producers like Blackboys, Davenport Vineyards, Hush Heath, Gusbourne, Upperton, Court Garden, and Jenkyn PlaceEnglish Wine Producers also had a stand incorporating Denbies, Jenkyn Place and Bolney Wine Estate, making the array of quality English wine available to taste a good show.


Fronted by renowned wine critics Oz Clarke, Olly Smith and Tim Atkin, the Three Wine Men events allow entrants to sample, make notes and place orders for delivery at a central desk, alleviating the necessity to carry lots of wine around and home! A great format for an event, especially with the Three Wine Men roaming the show and picking on customers to taste particular wines. We were lucky enough to have Oz and Olly visit our stand with a number of the public to taste particular wines they’d chosen (including Court Garden’s Classic Cuvée 2009, Gusbourne’s Blanc de Blancs 2006 (now sold out – we’re onto the 2007!), and Nyetimber’s new release Classic Cuvée 2004).


Happy tasters at the bar


It is always good to meet the wine-loving public at events like these, in order to reinforce what we’re doing. It’s a very insular world when you work in the online wine trade, and talking about the products, the company, and the rising quality and quantity of wine produced here in England with the public drills home the sense of purpose of what we do.


Sam, the lucky winner of a free ticket AND magnum of RidgeView Blanc de Blancs 2000 with Oz at the show


We hope those of you that made it along to the show enjoyed yourselves, and we look forward to meeting you again at other events of this nature.