If you thought English wine came in a poor second to bottles from France and the New World, think again. We now produce world-ranking vintages, don’t you know. These are the vineyards you need to know about
This West Sussex vineyard was the first English vineyard to solely grow the grapes of the Champagne region, and it often trounces the big names in bubbly in the blind tastings.
Classic Cuvée is their signature style, which is a blend of white Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir and Meunier (both black grapes). It’s classed by many as the most serious English sparkler - it's on the menu at lots of London restaurants such as Hakkasan and Hawksmoor.
What: Sparkling white and rose
Try: Their Blanc de Blancs 2007 won gold at the International Wine & Spirits Competition 2015 but the Classic Cuvée regularly knocks the socks off the Champagne big hitters. Best go for both.
This East Sussex vineyard is all about sparkling wine. Making the most of a similar setting to the vineyards of the Champagne region. the vineyard sits in a low limestone ridge in the Sussex Downs that has a mild microclimate. They produce some of the best English sparklers and even have the royal seal of approval after their bubbly graced the palace’s menu in 2004 during President Obama’s visit and at the Diamond Jubilee reception in 2012.
What: sparkling white and rose
Try: Grosvenor Blanc de Blancs 2010, Knightsbridge Blanc de Noirs 2009, and Ridgeview Magnum
This Kent vineyard is all about its rosé wine. Dubbed 'England’s most exclusive pink fizz', it’s made from the classic Champagne grape varieties of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier – and it’s won numerous awards.
With 37 acres of vineyards, the soil is deep Wealden clay, which is said to give the wines their dense structures and vibrant acidity.
What: White, rosé (still and sparkling)
Try: Balfour Brut Rose
Vines have been growing at this West Sussex estate for a while. We’re talking since the time of the Doomsday Book, but it wasn’t until 1972 that it became Bolney Wine Estate, which now has 39 acres. They produce a number of award-winning wines, including the Bolney Bubbly and Sirrius Rose. The real gem here though is their English fizz, Blanc de Blancs – the 2007 vintage won the Gold Outstanding medal in the International Wine & Spirit Competition, with judges describing it as like 'pure white mousse'. It has picked up six other gongs along the way – including four for the 2009 vintage.
What: Red, white and rosé (still and sparkling)
Try: Blancs de Blancs 2009
Near Bodmin, this is Cornwall’s largest and most celebrated vineyard with 82 acres of south-facing slopes. Served in Rick Stein’s seafood restaurant and all of the county’s Michelin starred restaurants, Camel Valley’s sparkling wines have been consistent award-winners, and rightly so.
What: White, red and rosé (still and sparkling)
Try: Pinot Noir Brut 2010, Cornwall Brut 2010 and Atlantic Dry (rumour has it, this is served at no.10 Downing Street)