Archive for the 'New producers' Category

Our newest producer: Furleigh Estate, Dorset

Apr. 18th 2012

A view over the beautiful vineyard towards the farm


To continue with our regular addition of new producers’ wines to what is becoming an exceedingly wide range of wines from sparkling wine producers throughout the UK, the most recent to be added is Furleigh Estate, based near Bridport on the ancient coast of South Dorset. A coast strewn with a remnants of bygone eras, notably dinosaur fossils. I remember years ago, playing in the rock pools of Kimmeridge and beyond, searching for ammonites and dino-claws. A few were found (not dinosaur claws) among the flint, slate and chalk that has eroded from the huge cliffs over time. These geological formations formed over hundreds of millions of years are what make the potential of vineyards in the South of England, such a reality.



The delicious Furleigh Estate Classic Cuvée 2009




Furleigh Estate are one of the many producers on the South Coast, who are able to take advantage of the geology, coupled with the (fairly) mild, subcontinental climate, and produce a superb range of wines. Pertinently for us, their Classic Cuvée 2009, which breezed through the expert blind tasting panel a few months ago to grace our site with its presence. It is an elegant and opulent wine with a lovely, bright appearance with a slight hint of pink and a good mousse. Refreshing, sweetly fruited with notes of strawberry, candied lemon peel, creamy Pinot noir fruit and underlying brioche give this wine a hugely inviting and attractive nose. The palate doesn’t disappoint. A well balanced and easy going wine, with dimensions of flavours of brioche and red fruit.





Rebecca and Ian in their blossoming vineyard

The estate is owned and managed by Rebecca Hansford and husband Ian Edwards, having purchase the property in 2004. Unlike a majority of the wine producers in the UK, Rebecca grew up at the estate on which they’ve planted, her father having sold the estate in the 1990s. Serendipitously, the property was back on the market when Rebecca and Ian were looking for a family home. Where better than somewhere you know already! And with room to build a vineyard.


8 years on, Furleigh have released their first sparkling wine which really impresses. From planting in 2005 and 2006, the vineyard has grown to 22,000 vines, mainly destined for sparkling bottles, with a range of still wines also being produced. In 2007, a purpose-built, top of the range winery was installed at the site, enabling the team to continue to manage the processes of getting their vines’ grapes, all hand-tended, into a bottle. Just this month, Furleigh opened the doors to their brand new cellar door and tasting room. Constructed on the footprint of the barn into which Rebecca helped to herd cows as a child, it seems only fitting that the enjoyment of the labours of the vineyard at Furleigh can take place in the same place…!

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!


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!




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!