There is no better way to start the Christmas celebrations than by popping open a bottle of sparkling wine.
The selection I have chosen is more focused on the English Blanc de Blancs because initially, I thought that Chardonnay’s dazzling characteristics and English sparkling energy were perfect with festive seafood and Turkey. I have chosen a quartet of English Blanc de Blancs, including Chapel Down (PS40.00), Langham Wine Estate(PS31.00), Charles Palmer(PS29.00), and Ashling Park(PS37.50).
It does not stop there. While compiling this piece, I sampled some other English sparkling wines that were so striking that I had to include them. Hush Heath’s Les Sixes is a six-grape blend with a multitude of complexities. It will delight and intrigue you. Roebuck’s Rose de Noirs is a bold and joyful rose with a rich character of biscuits and red fruits. It is perfect for pairing with festive foods.
Hush Heath Balfour Les Sixes 2014
Grapes: Chardonnay Pinot Noir Pinot Meunier
Pinot Blanc, Arbane, & Petit Meslier
This is an interesting wine. Arbane and Petit Meslier are also used to make Champagne. Hush Heath was the first English winery to plant these varieties. This brand-new Les Sixes cuvee is the result. It blends Chardonnay with a trio of Pinots and creates a sparkling English first.
This wine has a slightly shy nose that opens to reveal a mixture of red apple and pear with brioche, hazelnut, and toasted brioche.
The palate is also quite distinct. The palate is brisk, energetic, and crisp, with citrus bursts and apples. However, it softens to a nutty, savory taste with hints and nuances of almond nougat.
This wine is superbly structured and has a long, fine finish. It is a great treat for anyone looking to try something new.
Langham Blanc de Blancs 2015
Langham had an outstanding year. I was very impressed by the evolution of Langham’s wine style over the past couple of years. They have moved away from the fruity, crowd-pleasing style to a more textural and nuanced expression of sparkling wine. Just last month, they were named the IWSC’s Best Sparkling Wine Produced… in the World.
This wine really surpassed my expectations. Orchard fruits are present, but the underlying savory notes of yogurt and spicy notes really stand out.
This was a complex, thought-provoking journey. The Langham was initially quite linear and tight, but I liked how it broadened into a savory nut fusion that has a sense of presence.
It is an excellent buy, and at PS31.00 per bottle, you get a great value. Imagine a complex Champagne that is grown without the pricey tag.
Roebuck Estates Rose de Noirs 2016
The new Rose de Noirs 2016 from Roebuck Estates is made with Pinot Noir grown in West Sussex at their Roman Villa vineyard, which was planted in 2007
This wine is a rose, and that is what I liked about it.
This sparkling rose is a red fruit-centric drink. Imagine strawberry shortbread in the glass. A perfect blend of strawberry flavors, freshly baked shortbread textures, and that tingling English refreshingness of citrus and Cranberry.
Roebuck is a great wine for a solo drink. It would also make a wonderful starter to a meal on Christmas Day. Pair it with something like a Prawn cocktail or a fancy Lobster Bisque.
Ashling Park Blanc de Blancs 2014
Ashling Park, one of 2020’s rising stars, has won an array of Gold Medals and Trophies at the WineGB Awards this year. Dermot Sugrue has once again produced this wine.
This wine has a less fruity aroma than the average sparkling 2014 (it was a hot vintage). It is more about almonds, marzipan, and brown butter, as well as floral scents.
This Sugrue has a complex and curious nose that is complemented by the classic Sugrue flavors on the palate. Bright citrus energy and brilliant acidity lead to an abundance of caramelized orchard fruits, nutty nougat, and crisp pastry.
This is a great buy at a price below PS40. It performs above its price. This is a great deal of wine at a reasonable price.
Kit’s Coty blanc de Blancs 2015
This is my favorite Blanc de Blancs, coming from Chapel Down’s Kit’s Coty Vineyard. It would be the perfect way to start your wedding in style.
Kit’s Coty Blanc de Blancs is always generous, and 2015 is no exception. The aromas of baked apple pudding and pear and peach are ripe with buttery brioche notes, and all attract you.
As the nose suggests, there is much fruit on the palate, including juicy peach and orchard fruits, along with a generous amount of buttery richness. The wine has a crisp, bright citrus taste with a hint of minerality and lemon zest.
Charles Palmer Blanc de Blancs 2015
Charles Palmer’s East Sussex wine is among the best I have ever tasted. It is 100% Burgundy grapes (clone 94 for those who like to know), which bring generosity to the fruit.
This is a classic with its white peach and apricot notes, caramelized apples (think baked Apple Puddings), and buttery pastry notes.
The taste is intense, with a rush of citrus and tangy apple energy. The classic English acidity of the brioche is softened with riper stone fruits, honeyed pastries, and buttery brioche.
It is also worth noting that the price is very reasonable. At PS29.00 per bottle, this is a real bargain!