#WOTW: a Champagne veteran’s fresh English sparkler
Anyone for a Zoom? We’re all getting used to doing things virtually right now and tonight the UK wine community celebrates all things English, inspired by the brilliant winemaker at Black Chalk, Jacob Leadley, who came up with #theBIGEnglishwinegoodfriday.
As regular readers will know, I am something of an evangelist for English sparklers, but I only recently tasted one of the more eye-catching examples, made by one of the great names from across the channel. Champagne house Vranken-Pommery was the first to start making an English sparkler under its brand. Pommery has planted vines in Hampshire, but it takes a minimum of three years before the grapes can be harvested so, in the meantime, the Champagne house has been buying top quality English grapes from growers. Taittinger has followed suit, planting vines in Kent, but is yet to bring its product to market.
With the name paying homage to Pommery’s founder, Louis Pommery England (£40, or £35 on a Mix Six at Majestic Wine or £40 at Ocado) is bursting with bright green apples and lemon, with just a hint of firm peach. It’s not especially toasty, but there’s a lovely shortcrust pastry note and a chalkiness to the finish. Beautifully balanced, this also represents a great vote of confidence in the category. So celebrate English this Good Friday, with a little help from our friends in France.