Busy, busy bees!

Monday, Dec. 3rd 2012 14:23

It’s unfortunately been a while since we last updated you on the happenings at Sparkling English Wine HQ…

 

Jeremy hosing down the press after another pressing late into the night...

We had harvest in October, which despite some producers in West Sussex deciding not to harvest this year, there were grapes of excellent quality further East. Essex, Kent and some areas of East Sussex had some superb fruit. Not to mention areas in Dorset and Hampshire too. Quantities were low, but quality in some cases was excellent. We started our second vintage of Kingscote Sparkling English Cyder pressing a blend of four varieties this year: Cox, Bramley, Johnagold and Russett. The already fermented juice tastes amazing (better than 2011, if that’s possible) in the exact blend as pressed…

 

The Sparkling English Wine tasting panel in action...

We conducted one of our regular blind tasting panels to add new wines to the site a few weeks ago at the brand new tasting room facility at Sparkling English Wine HQ at Kingscote Vineyard in Sussex. Many of the wines tasted were additional products to existing producers’ ranges, including Strawberry Hill Vineyard‘s Blanc de Noirs, RidgeView Estate‘s Ridgeview Merret Bloomsbury Cuvée 2010Nyetimber‘s Classic Cuvée 2008 and the exciting new Demi Sec NVFurleigh Estate‘s Blanc de Blancs 2009Court Garden Vineyard‘s Classic Cuvée 2010, but we have also added a new producer and their wine to the site: Henners, from East Sussex, have produced a delightful wine, their Brut Vintage 2009. Each of these wines were passed by the panel which included Nancy Gilchrist MW, Owen Elias, winemaker extraordinaire and Julia Trustram-Eve, English Wine Producers. These new wines will all be available from the site in the next week or so…

 

 

Oz Clarke waxing lyrical at the Sparkling English Wine stand

We just came back from a fantastic weekend of tasting in Manchester. The reception of the range of English sparkling wines we showed at the two day Three Wine Men tasting event was immense. Oz Clarke, Olly Smith and Tim Atkin, were, as usual, fully behind the wines on

The lovely Vicky from Hush Heath and Jeremy pouring to the crowds

our stand. We are always pleased to help educate the wine-consuming public in the ways of English sparkling wine. We showed wines from RidgeView EstateNyetimberFurleigh EstateJenkyn Place VineyardBolney Wine Estate and a special guest appearance from Hush Heath Estate (special owing to the attendance of Vicky Ash, the winemaker at Hush Heath, who helped pour the Balfour Brut Rosé 2009 all weekend!). We’re going to be doing the same thing all over again this coming weekend, this time at Lords Cricket Ground, London. So if you fancy sampling some of the super wines we sell, and maybe even picking up some Christmas celebration wines, you know where to come

 

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A Whirlwind Month of Events…

Wednesday, Sep. 19th 2012 14:09

September has been one of our busiest months to date, with countless events at which our new mobile trailer bar has had its first outings. Beginning with a weekend at Kew the Movies, Luna Cinema’s open air cinema screenings of classic movies at Kew Gardens, we served Bolney Wine Estate’s Lychgate Red 2009 and Lychgate White still wines, Chapel Down’s Curious Brew English Lager and Nyetimber’s Classic Cuvée 2007 and their brand new demi bottles of Blanc de Blancs 2006 to over 6000 people over three nights…

 

 

The Sparkling English Wine mobile bar at the Tower of London

We also attended and served wines at a very prestigious event held at the Tower of London – Heroes at the Tower is an armed forces charity event, raising money for Coming Home and Combat Stress charities. With our mobile bar (see image above) in the courtyard, where performances of The Ceremony of the Keys and a selection of numbers from cast of Les Miserables took place, we also had a second bar in the New Armouries. Wines served were Nyetimber’s superb Classic Cuvée 2007, Stopham Estate’s Pinot Blanc 2011, Gusbourne Estate’s light, fruity and subtle Pinot Noir 2010, and Hush Heath Estate’s delicate and juicy Nannette’s English Rose 2010,. All the wines went down supremely well and when matched with the canapés prepared by Sarah Symington Catering, paired perfectly.

 

Our next event was Kew the Movies at Wakehurst Place. Not as well attended as the Kew Gardens’ screenings, but still a beautiful location to spend the evening serving great English wine and beer.

 

The Luna Cinema screen at Wakehurst Place (the bar is just visible to the right!)

 

If that weren’t enough, we’re at the Three Wine Men tasting roadshow at Lord’s Cricket Ground this coming weekend, with Oz Clarke, Olly Smith and Tim Atkin. For those that are interested in tickets, we are giving away two sets of tickets to any of the sessions (Saturday am / Saturday pm / Sunday). Just like our post on our Facebook page to be in with the chance of winning!

 

 

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English Wines Lead Charge @ Tower of London Event

Tuesday, Aug. 14th 2012 17:04

Tower of London by night

We have been fortunate enough to have been asked to provide a range of top English wines at an exciting and exclsuive event at the Tower of London.
Heroes at the Tower is a prestigious charity event organised to celebrate British military tradition, coupled with the finest English wine and food, taking place on Thursday 13th September. The evening has been organised to raise money for the charities Combat Stress, Coming Home and The Chapel Royal of St. Peter ad Vincula.

 

Guests to the charity event (including HRH Prince Michael of Kent), will be hosted by the Constable of the Tower of London, General The Lord Dannatt and will enjoy a display of British tradition at its finest including:
- A private viewing of the Crown Jewels and The Ceremony of the Keys
- A performance from a leading West End Musical accompanied by the Pikemen and Musketeers from the Honourable Artillery Company organised by Chance Organisation

 

At the heart of the entertainment will be the food and drink for guests to enjoy, with the unique chance to sup some of the finest and award-winning wines from England and taste a delicious array of canapés specially prepared using only the best British ingredients. The catering has been organised by Sarah Symington Catering and we are supplying a superb range of wines for guests to drink throughout the evening from one of our two bars.

 

The wines to be served to guests at the event, include:

Nyetimber English Sparkling Wine

 

 

English sparkling wine champions Nyetimber‘s superb Classic Cuvée 2007,

 

 

 

 

 

As well as a range of excellent quality still wines including:

 

Stopham Estate Pinot Blanc Wine Label

 

 

Stopham Estate’s aromatic and refreshing Pinot Blanc 2011,

 

 

 

 

 

Hush Heath Estate logo English Sparkling Wine

 

 

 

Hush Heath Estate‘s delicate and juicy Nannette’s English Rose 2010,

 

 

 

 

 

Gusbourne Estate Logo English wine

 

 

 

Gusbourne Estate‘s light, fruity and subtle Pinot Noir 2010.

 

 

 

 

 

 

We are hugely excited about this amazing opportunity for English wine to be served at such a prestigious event to all the guests.

 

 

Tickets are priced at a reasonable £95 a head, and are very limited. In order to not miss out please email for information on how to purchase for this once in a life time opportunity…!

 

 

 

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Glynde Food & English Wine Festival

Tuesday, Jul. 17th 2012 16:16

Our Sparkling English Wine bar in the shadow of the beautiful Glynde Place

We’ve just got back from a weekend exhibiting and selling glasses of English fizz at the superb Glynde Food and English Wine Festival at Glynde Place. And what a festival it was…

 

We were lucky enough to be among 8 other vineyards from Sussex and Kent at the show, each showing off their superb wines for visitors to sample and purchase. The wine marquee was packed most of the time (especially during the downpours on Saturday!).

 

There was amazing food produce aplenty in the food tents and stalls lining the lawns of the beautiful house’s grounds. Big names in the cookery world, including MasterChef’s very own John Torode, (who was an enormous fan of the Nyetimber wines we were selling by the glass) were conducting masterclass demos, and there were tutored wine tastings from Stephen Skelton MW and Ewan Lacey MW.

 

 

John Torode and MasterChef crew cooking up the Feast!

 

The Saturday evening saw the MasterChef crew, John Torode, Dhruv Baker, Lisa Faulkner and Tim Anderson were all slaving away over hot stoves for the feast, which was very well attended, and we managed a wine bar in the tent. Bolney Bubbly was served to guests on reception and we sold bottles of this alongside the Lychgate White and Bolney Pinot Noir . All the wines went down very positively and with two bars either side of us (Snowdrop Inn of Lewes, and the Sipsmith Distillery Gin bar) much alcohol was consumed!

 

The festival offered many people the opportunity to try some amazing food and wines from around England, from producers small and large. A favourite of ours was Timmy’s Pies, run by the lovely Tim Wilkes, who endlessly creates some mouth watering pies, including slow roasted pork shoulder, with beetroot, rhubarb and potato. Mmm…

 

 

Tim and Nicki manning the bar

 

On our stand in the English Wine Marquee, we had Court Garden Vineyard‘s Classic Cuvée 2009, RidgeView Estate‘s brand new release Bloomsbury 2010, Gusbourne Estate‘s Sparkling Rosé and Pinot Noir 2010, Davenport Vineyards‘s Limney Estate Blanc de Blancs 2007 and Horsmonden Dry White 2011, Nyetimber‘s Rosé 2008, Blanc de Blancs 2003, and Classic Cuvée 2007, and Hush Heath Estate‘s Balfour Brut Rosé 2008. All these wines went down very well, and it was a pleasure to talk the many visitors and tasters through English wine production and wines.

 

Other wine producers exhibiting included, Bluebell Vineyard Estate, Breaky Bottom, Stopham Estate, Upperton, Plumpton College, Bolney Wine Estate, Biddenden, Sedelscombe, and a stand run by the South East Vineyards Association.

 

We’re already looking forward to next years event, and hope the weather is that little bit better next time round!

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Brand New Vintages and Some Still Wines for the Summer!

Thursday, Jul. 5th 2012 16:29

Furleigh Estate in full summer bloom...

 

 

Summer’s here (apparently!), Murray’s doing well at Wimbledon, and we’ve been flat out here at Sparkling English Wine HQ. With a number of private events recently as well as the Three Wine Men roadshow (in Manchester and Edinburgh) we’ve barely had a moment to breathe!

 

We’re currently preparing for the Glynde Food and English Wine Festival next weekend where we’ll be running a dedicated Sparkling English Wine bar selling Nyetimber by the glass.  We’ll also be showcasing some wines from top producers from Kent and Sussex in the English Wine Pavilion at Glynde. Come along and see us to sample some superb wines…

 

To mark the summer time’s arrival, we’ve decided to add a few more products to our ever-growing range of English wine:

 

Following success at the UKVA wine of the year competition, we’ve recently got hold of some of Furleigh Estate‘s Blanc de Noirs 2009 and their Jubilee Rosé 2009, to complement their most outstanding wine of the year trophy winner, the Furleigh Estate Classic Cuvée 2009.

 

 

 

Danebury Vineyards, whom I visited a month or so ago have impressed us so much with their still wines, that we saw no reason not to pop them on the site too. Joining their delightful Cossack 2005, is the Madeleine Angevine 2009, and the Schonburger 2009, as well as their soon to be listed Reserve 2010.

 

 

Sparkling English Wine stalwart Bolney Wine Estate have recently allowed us to show their Foxhole Vineyard Pinot Noir 2011 and Lychgate Red 2009 at the Three Wine Men events to give us a little red wine to prove to the public we can do it here, and they’ve gone down so well, we’re happy to say that we’ve got them both for sale here too…

 

 

 

Gusbourne Estate picked up a big award at the Decanter World of Wine Awards last month for their Blanc de Blancs 2007, and as a result have subsequently sold out of it, along with their equally superb Brut Reserve 2007. They assure us that new vintages will be released in coming months, but to provide more than just their Sparkling Rosé 2008, we have decided to take on their beautifully elegant Pinot Noir 2010, a silky still red that is ideal for summer barbecues…

 

 

 

Davenport Vineyards have recently released their Limney Estate Blanc de Blancs 2007, which is tasting delicious, as well as the new still dry white, the Limney Horsmonden Dry 2011 (coming soon).

 

 

 

Hush Heath Estate have also recently released a new sparkling rosé, their Balfour Brut Rosé 2009, which will be coming to the site soon. We’ve also got their two premium still wines: Nannette’s English Rose 2010, and Skye’s English Chardonnay 2010. We’ve created the Hush Heath Triple Pack, discounting the range of Hush Heath’s wines just for you!

 

 

 

Last, but by no means least, English sparkling wine champions RidgeView Estate have just released their Merret Bloomsbury Cuvée 2010, to follow on from the success of the 2009 vintage. This is the first of RidgeView’s 2010 vintage to be released, and a very exciting wine…

 

 

 

Enjoy some English fizz this summer, and maybe even try a few stills…!

 

 

 

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A visit to a delightful vineyard in Hampshire…

Wednesday, Jun. 20th 2012 18:05

I was fortunate enough to be invited to a lunch and tour of the exquisite Danebury Vineyards last week. The vineyard is perched atop the North Downs close to the beautiful village of Stockbridge. With only 7 acres of vines, Danebury is fairly small, but boy is it pretty. The vines were first planted in 1988, with the first vintage coming in 1993.

 

Too enthralled to take any snaps (apologies), this blog entry is lacking in pictures of the visit I’m afraid, but I’ve slotted in some of those they sent us when we put their producer page together last year..!

 

The vines planted in the vineyard are not those most would expect to be grown in the UK. Aside from the Madeleine Angevine and Schönburger, which make the delicate still whites produced at Danebury, there are plantings of Auxerrois Blanc (which is a cross between Gouais Blanc and Pinot Noir) and Ruländer (aka Pinot Gris), which go into making the Cossack. The Cossack is a delicate sparkling wine bottle fermented and rested on lees for at least 5 years. The most recent release is the 2005, which picked up a bronze medal this year at the IWSC and won the Wessex Vineyard Association wine of the year trophy.

 

 

I was lucky enough to be shown around the vineyard by the owner, who then showed me down to his custom built underground cellar, where all the wines are stored at a fairly constant temperature (never rising about 14ºc). Also in the cellar was the private collection of every vintage from 1993 to present. An impressive cabinet to say the least.

 

Following the tour of the cellar, I was sat down to a tasting of the three stills produced – a Madeleine Angevine, a Schönburger, and a Reserve (the latter contains a blend of the whole vineyard in the planted percentages). These were served with spelt bread and rosemary infused olive oil.

 

- The Madeleine Angevine 2009 is a light and delicate wine, with big flavours of melon, citrus and pear. A good balance of acid and sweetness make this a perfect match for seafood or white meats.

 

- The Schönburger 2009 again is well balanced, offering a floral, aromatic nose, followed by  dry palate with a clean finish and good length.

 

- The Reserve 2010 is a fuller wine, with noticeable characteristics from each of the five grapes that go into the blend. A touch of sweetness makes this wine that little bit more complex, when balanced with the backbone of acidity from the Auxerrois and Ruländer. There is a good sense of minerality on the finish.

 

Then we tucked into a vertical tasting of the most recent vintages from 2006 working our way back to 2002. The owner says that he aims for a more cremant style, with less aggressive bubbles than a Champagne style wine, and as such he believes that within 10 years the wines have reached their shelf life. Of course the flavours are still there, but the bubbles somewhat dissipate over time.

 

- The 2006 was served with a smoked salmon, which went very well with the citrus palate and the acid of the Auxerrois. The wine is a bit young, and as such has not yet been released.

 

- The 2005 (the current release) was served with quails eggs and asparagus in a crusty wholewheat tartlet. An absolutely perfect pairing. The malty brioche and citrus nose matched the sweetness from the tartlet, and the asparagus allowed the acids to flow freely and helped to detect a hint of floral palate. The eggs were a gentle creamy touch to meet the biscuity aromas and flavours.

 

- The 2004 was served with a simple parmesan crusted puff pastry, which made the acids soften and allowed the autolytic nature of the wine to breathe.

 

- The 2003 was served with a delicious goose liver paté on rye bread. A delicious wine that is probably at the peak of its ageing now. Excellent acids and still a good amount of fruitiness, this wine ate up the paté!

 

- Last, but definitely not least, was the 2002. This wine was served with Somerset brie on Oatcakes. Again a perfect pairing – there was caramel and biscuit on the nose, which worked ideally with the sweet oatcakes, and the creamy, delicate brie was almost perfect for the nose and acids of the wine.

 

We are now selling the Danebury Vineyards Cossack 2005 at a superb discounted price of £20.48 and you may well see the still wines making a guest appearance now too!

 

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