Archive for March, 2012

Nyetimber launches new branding!

Mar. 27th 2012


One of the best known brands in the English wine industry, Nyetimber, based near Pulborough, West Sussex, have this week launched a whole new re-branding campaign. Following over 20 years of using the same labelling and branding, Nyetimber’s owner Eric Hereema, has decided to modernise and refresh the brand.



New labelling for Blanc de Blanc, Classic Cuvée and Rosé wines

With their new branding (above), which breathes new life into an already hugely popular range of wines, Nyetimber are set to take 2012 by storm. And what a year to do so with the Queen’s Jubilee and the London Olympics. This new label moves away from the old world, classic, Champagne house-style branding and brings an almost 1930s Art Deco, English-ness into the fore.


The new labels subtly denote the different blends with different colour neck collars (Blanc de Blancs = silver; Classic Cuvée = blue; and Rosé = pink), and the Rosé also has a pink foil. Here at Sparkling English Wine, we’re really liking the new labels: Clean, precise, simple and modern. We’d love to know what you think.


Nyetimber's new logo


With over 450 acres of vineyard, Nyetimber are by far the biggest producer in England, and as such have built a great reputation for consistently producing some of the top wines in the country. We are pleased to have a wide range of Nyetimber wines from as far back as the 1998 Blanc de Blancs up until the Rosé 2007. Over the years, Nyetimber have scooped all manner of awards including the IWSC “Best Worldwide Sparkling Wine” and the prestigious “Champion of Worldwide Sparkling Wines” at the Bollicine Del Mondo, Italian world sparkling wine competition in 2009.


With winemaking team Cherie Spriggs and Brad Greatrix now at Nyetimber over 5 years, their expertise and skill is showing in the wines that have been made under their management, with the 2007 Rosé being the first wine released made from start to finish by the the duo. The imminent release of the 2008 Rosé looks to be reaching the high standards expected by followers of the industry-leading vineyard. The new labelling is an extension of this great brand, its focus on the future and its longevity.


Let us know what you think of the new labels…!



Posted by Tom Jones | in Nyetimber, Producer News | No Comments »

From Champagne to the South Downs…

Mar. 23rd 2012


Meonhill Wines vineyard looking toward the Solent...


We’re pleased to announce that Meonhill Wines are the next producer to hit the site following our last tasting panel.


Perched on top of the South Downs between Winchester and Petersfield, Meonhill Wines vineyard is ideally located to take advantage of not just some of the most amazing views the south coast has to offer, but the fantastic chalky soil that is geologically an extension of the same chalk in Champagne. Not only does the soil match, but the winemaker, Didier Pierson, has a Champagne-house himself too…


The Chablis vine training system

Vineyard practices employed by Didier include the training of vines very close to the ground, using Chablis (for the Chardonany) and Cordon de Royat (for the Pinot noir) training systems. These offer the vines quick access to soil nutrients and ground heat. The fairly steep slope on which the vineyard sits protects the vines from what gets most vineyard managers in England quaking in their muddy boots, late frosts. The cold air simply falls down the slope into a very deep basin well beyond the extent of the vines. Pests like rabbits, deer and badgers are protected against by a strong and (almost) impenetrable fencing around the perimeter.



The Meonhill Réserve NV

Creating a superb NV wine based on a 50:50 split of Chardonnay and Pinot noir, Didier uses many of the same techniques he applies to making similar wines in France, including hand-riddling and disgorging.


The end product is an opulent golden coloured wine with a good bead and delicate mousse. The nose offers up aromas of red fruit and peach, and delicious tones of yeast, nuttiness, honey and caramel. In the mouth the wine is dry, weighty and has a balanced acidity. It has biscuity flavours, following the obvious autolytic nose, and has an assured length with an almost chalky finish.


With the arrival of a serious English sparkling wine made by a Champagne producer, it just proves what we’ve known for a while: England makes excellent wine. And at a competitive price. The Meonhill Réserve NV retails at £24.75, and is worth every penny.

Posted by Tom Jones | in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Top fizz from Dorset’s English Oak Vineyard hits the site…

Mar. 19th 2012

Following on from our most recent expert tasting panel, we are pleased to add the second of 7 new producers to the site. It’s always exciting with the addition of a new producer to the site, and these guys’ wines are excellent examples that brilliant grapes grow outside Sussex and Kent.


Not very far from the hustle of busy port Poole, English Oak Vineyard is nestled in the picturesque town of Lychett Matravers, which, it seems, is an excellent location for growing the classic Champagne varieties…


Andrew and Sarah Pharaoh have been caring for their classic Champagne variety vines since 2007, entrusting expert winemaking consultant Dermot Sugrue with the task of producing their superb bottles of sparkling wine.



English Oak Chinkapin Rosé 2009

Each wine is named after a particular species of oak tree, including their sparkling rosé, the English Oak Chinkapin 2009, named after the massive Chinkapin Oak that reaches 50m in height and has sweet acorns. The wine is a lovely, delicate pale pink colour and has a good bead of bubbles. The nose opens up honey, yeast, summer fruits and even hint of orange peel. The palate offers up a lively, refreshing wine with hints of peach and lemon.



The English Oak Engelmann Cuvée 2009

The English Oak Engelmann Cuvée 2009 takes its name from the Engelmann Oak, which is an evergreen growing up to 10m. It is the northernmost species of subtropical oak. Made from the classic Champagne varieties (cépage is Chardonnay 54%, Pinot Noir 12%, and Pinot Meunier 34%), this wine is pale gold in colour, with the tiniest hint of pink, has a controlled effervescence and pleasing mousse. The nose is attractive and inviting, offering complex yeasty flavours including brioche and croissant. It has gentle red fruit from the red grapes and a hint of brandy. The palate is sleek and stylish, definite sweet red fruit is balanced by a keen-edged acidity and finished with a dryness that leaves the mouth wanting more. A significant wine, perfect for enjoying any time…


Once again, we are pleased and excited to welcome English Oak to the fold, and we hope you will be keen to popping a bottle or two into your next order from us. Click to find out more about English Oak Vineyard and their wines.

Posted by Tom Jones | in Producer News, Site News | No Comments »

Just a hop, skip and jump from France – English fizz from Terlingham Vineyard on the Kent Coast!

Mar. 16th 2012

Following on from our most recent expert tasting panel, we are pleased to add the first of 7 new producers to the site. Very near to Folkstone, Kent, making it probably the closest English vineyard to France, sits Terlingham Vineyard owned and managed by Lorna and Graham Wilks. Hailing from South Africa, the Wilks have returned to their roots (Graham’s family are from Ashford, up the road) to plant their vines’ roots in English soil, planting in 2006. Now in the third year of commercial production with 4 acres under Chardonnay, Pinot noir, Pinot meunier, Bacchus, Dornfelder and Rondo vines. With the recent addition to the team of more than capable winemaking consultant, Kobus Louw, also originally from SA, Terlingham are producing some excellent English sparkling wines with all the care and love required.


The vineyard is part of Terlingham Manor, dating back to Norman times, and is sited in the most gorgeous spot, designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The south-facing slopes offers a perfect aspect to gain optimum sunshine, and provide a clear view across the English Channel over to France. As such, the soil is a chalk that offers excellently drainage. This coupled with gentle breezes, makes the site a very close comparison to the land of Champagne, helping to produce characterful wines which show the personality of each vintage.


The wines on offer on the Sparkling English Wine site include the Terlingham Sparkling White 2009, and the Terlingham Sparkling Rosé 2010. The former is a superb example of and English brut made from classic Champagne varieties (40% Chardonnay; 40% Pinot noir; 20% Pinot meunier). This bright wine has a very fine bead creating a big mousse, which offers up aromas of nuttiness, citrus fruit and elderflower. Its well-defined autolytic aromas are carefully combined with a refreshing acidity, with elements of citrus and apple. This wine is youthful and bracing.


The Terlingham Sparkling Rosé 2010 is made from classic Champagne blend of Chardonnay (40%), Pinot noir (40%) and Pinot meunier (20%) has a lovely pale pink colour, and a gentle but persistent stream of bubbles. The nose offers aromas of apples and strawberries, with a hint of brioche. It is a delicate and attractive wine, with a slight sweetness to it, and has a long finish that is almost chalky (much like the land the vines grow in!).


You can now sample Terlingham‘s wines from their Sparkling English Wine page, simply click ‘add to basket’ and it’s yours!



A taste of England – Expert Tasting Panel

Mar. 1st 2012

Last Friday (24th) Sparkling English Wine held our most recent blind tasting panel to put wines new to the site through their paces…

The panel in action...


The tasting panel was made up of MWs, winemakers and other industry bods. Panellists included Nancy Gilchrist MW, Champagne and sparkling wine specialist; Owen Elias, top UK winemaker and fault-spotter extraordinaire (@EnglishTerroir); Matthew Hudson, wine business lecturer and all round wine aficionado (@PlumptonMatthew);  Colin Smith, international wine judge and blogger (@GrapeFan); Luke Wolfe, oenology student and budding English sparkling winemaker (@WinoWolfe); and Morfudd Richards, restaurateur and wine buff (@MorfuddRichards).


Held on a regular and ongoing basis, the aim of the panel is to effectively ensure that the wines marketed and promoted by Sparkling English Wine are of a certain quality, in as fair and rigorous a way as possible. This selectivity should not be seen as elitism, but as helping consumers access good quality products without concern. Sparkling English Wine aim to promote and represent wines and producers from the English sparkling market, and is essential that individual products that could let the side down are weeded out, for the sake of the industry and the consumer – we want to be confident in every wine we are selling, whether it be online, or when we meet the public at shows. By putting this panel of expert wine evaluators in place, customers of Sparkling English Wine can be assured that the wines available are not going to be a gamble, as many English wines can be…


With three tasting panels down, we are pleased to have grown our range to what will soon be 50 wines from 25 producers. Growing from 6 producers last year, all of whom were from the South East, it’s great that the standard of wines and our range now reaches further flung climes like Dorset, Devon and even Herefordshire.


The panel were charged with tasting 18 English sparkling wines blind last week in three flights: two of bruts and one of rosés. After each flight the scores were collected and the successful wines revealed to the panel. Each wine is scored out of 20, with 3 points available for its appearance, 7 for its nose, and 10 for the palate. With a pass mark of 12-13 out of 20, each of the wines should reach a good enough standard for it to be deemed marketable and therefore be put on the website. It should be noted that, as much as possible, our panel are evaluating the wines on their own merits, looking also at typicity and marketability, and not judging them against each other.


A selection of the fine successful wines

With 12 wines passing, including names such as English Oak, Furleigh Estate, Terlingham and Meonhill, among others, the panel were impressed by the overall standard of wines. Jenkyn Place’s new releases, the 2008 Sparkling Brut and Rosé made by Dermot Sugrue at Wiston Estate Winery were well placed and will be the first to be added to the site (as we already have their 2007). Other successful producers and their wines will be added to the next site in the next few weeks as the wines come into stock and we can build the pages.


Our next tasting will be taking place in a few months time and we hope that we can extend our range of producers and wines even further, making Sparkling English Wine, the place place to go to find the best possible range of English sparkling wines…


Watch this space!