After watching last week's episode of The Apprentice, I couldn't help feeling that English Sparkling Wine had been put in a horrible dress and made to look silly. In fact, the good stuff is really good nowadays. We've got vineyards on the South Downs that share a similar climate and soil profile to the Champagne region. The better (and more expensive) English Sparklers are made from the same grapes as Champagne, namely Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. Tonight, I had a bottle of Champagne in the fridge (always, darling, always) and my mother turned up with a bottle of English sparkling wine from Waitrose. So we decided to do a blind tasting to see what she thought (it was either that or re-create the advert). Here's what happened when Granny went to Waitrose.
Now, please note that the English Sparkling Wine tasted was NOT made from the same blend of grapes as the Champagne, but nonetheless they are about the same price. Next time, I'll taste like with like. In the meantime, anyone got any better ideas for an advert?
Here are links to the wines tasted, with my notes on them:
Champagne: Tesco Finest Premier Cru Brut NV, £19.94, Tesco
Great value textbook Champers with added oomph. Crumbled digestive biscuit in a glass. Got that je ne sais quoi.
English Sparkling Wine: Chapel Down Vintage Reserve Brut, £18.99, Waitrose
Brilliant stuff, so very English. Think apple bobbing. A really good place to start if you want to fall in love with English Sparkling Wine.