Weddings are back on! This means it’s time to start thinking about your welcome drinks and toasting fizz and thankfully you don’t have to look too far afield. Here’s why you should consider English sparkling wine on your wedding day.
This year we’re turning our attention to the garden of England, not only because English sparkling wine is fantastic – outperforming some of the finest sparkling wines around the world – but also because this year is the year to support local. The process of choosing English sparkling wine is a special one, as unlike ordering direct from your venue, you can go to the vineyards and try all the wines surrounded by the sweeping rows of vines. It’s special!
We suppose we have climate change to thank for giving winemakers in England more favourable growing conditions each year. We’ll take our silver linings as they present themselves! There are now so many English sparkling wines on the market, it may be hard to know where to start. We’ve picked out some favourites that are sure to be the perfect effervescent pairing for your big day, from various wine-growing counties.
What is English Sparkling wine?
Well, it is exactly what it says on the tin, really. It’s sparkling wine made in England, typically using the traditional method (Champagne method) and usually from the same grapes used in Champagne too- Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir.
A number of wineries have generously given our brides and grooms-to-be special discounts for your big day, so be sure to snap up the offers while you can!
“A good English Sparkling wine is classed as a good wine in its own sense and has rivalled some of the better-known Champagnes,” says Sommelier Fabio Arcari of Club Vini.
“Although the grape varietals are the same as what is used in Champagne -Predominantly Chardonnay and Pinot Noir – and the method is usually the traditional method of Champagne the taste, I feel, is unique, due to the unique climate of the UK,” Fabio adds.
Should you age English Sparkling wine?
“Although the majority of English sparkling wine can age as well as any other sparkling wine, I feel that its unique freshness is what sets it apart from the others. Therefore ageing is not always necessary as the wine is good to drink young whilst still vibrant and fresh in flavour,” says Fabio.
“Ageing will, of course, bring out more complex flavours of toasty, nutty, dried fruit sensations which is fine for a select few but personally I feel they should be drunk young on the whole.”
The Best English Sparkling Wines for Your Wedding Day
Kit’s Coty Blanc de Blanc 2015, Kent
The Chapel Down NV (Non-Vintage) is always a great, reliable option, but if you want something a little more special from the winery that has more oumph, then Kitys Coty’s Blanc de Blanc should be top of your list.
This 2015 vintage is made of only the best Chardonnay grapes from the Kit’s Coty vineyard on the North Downs of Kent and has the benefit of lees and cellar ageing. The wine has persistent bubbles and those lovely oaked Chardonnay flavours made even more indulgent from autolysis, giving it those flavours of freshly baked bread, apple crumble and hints of peach.
£39.99 per bottle, £239.94 per case from grapebritannia.co.uk.
Enter ‘WEDDING10’ at the checkout for a 10% discount on orders over 40 bottles!
Hoffmann & Rathbone Blanc de Blanc 2012, Sussex
This is another fantastic, more premium offering from Hoffmann & Rathbone, a boutique winery located in East Sussex and run by husband and wife duo, Ulrich and Birgit, who really know their stuff when it comes to creating great bubbly.
This blanc de blanc is a beautiful expression of their craftsmanship, benefitting from long cellar ageing. Made of only their best Chardonnay grapes, it has a creamy texture, bright acidity and a palate of fresh fruit.
£50 per bottle, £300 per case from hoffmannandrathbonestore.co.uk.
H&R also offer complimentary tastings for brides-to-be and a 10% discount for cases of six or more when bought directly from the vineyard.
Hattingley Valley Classic Reserve, Hampshire
Family-owned Hattingley Valley, found in rural Hampshire, has award-winning, female winemaker Emma Rice at the helm. The Classic Reserve is a non-vintage of excellent standard and a lovely choice to toast the newlyweds. It is a vivacious wine with robust texture, the influence of oak cutting through to give a richer palate with flavours of crisp green apples, almonds and toast.
£30 per bottle, £180 per case from hattingleyvalley.com.
With the code ‘WEDDINGFIZZ’ Hattingley is giving a generous 25% off Classic Reserve NV for 48 bottles or more (a saving of £360).
Coats & Seely, Hampshire
Based in the chalk downlands of Hampshire, Coates & Seely is the brainchild of two friends on a mission in the early noughties to create beautiful sparkling wine and they didn’t fail. Even the bottle has the appearance of a wine that will look right at home at a wedding! The Britagne NV (excellent name) is heavier in Pinot Noir and Chardonnay with only a touch of Pinot Meunier, giving it a rounded texture, bright acidity and a great mousse, with hints of stone fruits to balance the apple.
£32.95 per bottle or £395.40 per case of 12 from coatesandseely.com.
When buying directly from the vineyard you can claim a 5% discount on orders of 12 bottles or more!
Roebuck Classic Cuvée 2014, West Sussex
We would have Roebuck’s 2014 Classic Cuvée intravenously if we could. There’s a reason it’s won ‘best in show’, and it knocked the socks off our tasting panel. From the fine, silky bubbles to the pudding-like palate of apple crumble, a touch of minerality and the warm toasty notes that we all know and love.
£35 per bottle or £210 per case at roebuckestates.co.uk.
If you call the team at Roebuck and mention Wedding Ideas, they will kindly give you a discount on your wedding wines!
Gusbourne 2016, Kent
Gusbourne has rightly earned its reputation as a purveyor of superb English wines, winning accolades in abundance. With vineyards in Kent and West Sussex, we get to enjoy the best of both terroirs in their 2016 vintage. You’ll discover evolving flavours of baked red apples, brioche, peach and citrus – a moreish and memorable tipple!
NB: Gusbourne doesn’t have a non-vintage offering, so if you do go for a bottle of the 2016, be sure to keep a couple bottles for special anniversaries, it’ll only get better with age!
£39 a bottle, £234 per case from gusbourne.com.
Gusbourne offers complimentary tastings for couples on the hunt for their perfect wedding wines.
Nyetimber Classic Cuvee, West Sussex
Nyetimber is one of the more recognisable English Sparkling wines with a number of gongs under its belt and a reputation that exceeds itself. This Classic Cuvee is the winery’s signature style and a safe bet for your nuptials. Expect biscuits and almond, lemon pith and a creamy texture from fine bubbles, a really approachable and easily enjoyable wine.
Nyetimber offers a wedding package called The Nyetimber Toast, for orders of over 60 bottles. It includes an engraved magnum of Classic Cuvee Multi-Vintage, a seasonal floral bouquet, and a Nyetimber Bottle stopper.
The price is £1560, including 10 cases of Classic Cuvee. Find out more at yetimber.com/weddings.
Langham Culver Classic Cuvée NV, Dorset
Born from a beautiful vineyard in the heart of Dorset by a skilled team of winemakers who have won ‘Sparkling Wine Producers of the Year’ in their time, comes this elegant sparkling wine that is without a doubt a crowd pleaser. With only 10% Chardonnay, you don’t have much of the toasty brioche notes in this bottle of bubbles, but rather more floral and red fruit flavours with a hint of apricot and some bright acidity. Far too easy to enjoy, plus the Culver Classic Cuvee is also a fabulous option for vegans as Langham don’t fine or filter their wines!
£27.50 per bottle, £165 per case from langhamwine.co.uk.
Langham has a celebration offer of 15% off purchases of four cases or more!
Exton Park Brut Reserve Blend RB 32, Hampshire
Another faultless option from Hampshire, Exton Park calls the South Downs National Park home and is one of the newer wineries to take advantage of the optimal chalk soils. This Reserve Blend is made up of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir only, blended with reserve grapes from the last ten years and you can really taste the complexity of flavour that adds, giving more tropical fruit notes to a palate of crunchy green apples and pears. So lovely and refreshing!
£39 per bottle, £234 per case from extonparkvineyard.com.
Simpsons Chalklands Classic Cuvée 2018, Kent
‘Chalklands’ should give you some insight into the chalky soils that sparkling wines grapes thrive on. So it’s no surprise this one is such a success. You can certainly pick up the minerality in this crisp wine alongside pear and brioche flavours. It is lovely and enjoyable with a smooth texture, plus the bottle looks like it’s made for such sophisticated occasions as weddings.
£28 per bottle and £168 per case of six from simsponswine.com.
Enjoy 10% off Chalklands Classic Cuvee 2018 by entering the code ‘WEDDING10’ at checkout for orders of two cases or more.
Jenkyn Place Brut Cuvée 2014, Hampshire
There’s a lot to like about Jenkyn Place’s Brut Cuvee, particularly if you love the oak flavours that are so common with Chardonnay of which it has 60%. Being a 2014 vintage, you’ll be able to enjoy the benefits of ageing it has already undergone so expect a creamy texture, rich palate and some lovely orange and green fruit flavours. We hope to see Jenkyn cropping up in more places in future!
RRP £29.50, from jenkynplace.com.
This Hampshire winery is generously offering a 15% discount for our readers, just enter ‘WEDD15’ at checkout.
More English Sparkling Wines
Want something local but can’t find it in our top picks? Some ideas from other counties are below.
Chapel Down Brut NV, Kent
Chapel Down is an easily approachable wine with pleasant flavours and texture. A more affordable option without a compromise on taste. Notable feedback include, Pleasant notes of apple and lemongrass, warming notes of freshly baked bread, subtle hints of strawberries, and a refreshing and smooth texture.
Harrow & Hope, Buckinghamshire
We particularly loved how smooth and creamy this sparkling wine was. It’s a tasty crowd pleaser, easily drinkable with well-balanced flavours, including hints of sweet apricot balanced with a touch of biscuit.
Shop now at laithwaites.co.uk.
Saffron Grange, Essex
Saffron Grange is a family-run vineyard on the outskirts of the historic market town of Saffron Walden in North West Essex. Their land is on the same chalk seam as Champagne, and situated on a gentle south-facing slope, lending to a palette of apple, citrus and pastry notes, joined by a creaminess and hint of nuttiness.
Shop now at grapebritannia.co.uk.
All Angels, Berkshire
Light straw and gold in colour, with a dry, fresh citrus flavour and long lasting bubbles. Created with Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Pinot Gris grapes.
Shop now at houseofmalt.co.uk.
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