Vive Le English Sparkling Wine!
Exciting times for English Fizz. An elite group of Parisian wine experts met last week with a team from Britain's Wine and Spirit Trade Association for a blind tasting. Many were convinced that some of the UK-produced fizz was from France and in most cases they preferred it to Champagne. The sparkling wine was better in two out of three categories, and it drew with the Champagne in the other. Among the successes was a £40 bottle of 2009 Nyetimber sparkling wine produced in West Sussex. Nine members of the 14 member panel thought it was better than a £65 bottle of Billecart-Salmon Grand Cru champagne. The growing popularity of English wine has recently led to a 40 per cent increase in applications to develop UK vineyards last year. Champagne giant Tattinger is among the speculators, buying 170 acres of Kent countryside at a former apple farm near Canterbury. Wine and Spirit Trade Association Chief Executive Miles Beale said this is a ground breaking time for English sparkling wine.