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Sunday 22 August 2021

A cheeky bottle of English bubbles for Father's Day?

English wine used to be considered a joke. Like American intelligence, or Australian compassion for refugees.

No longer.

Global warming has seen the south of England (the warmest part) become an increasingly viable venue for growing cool-climate grape varieties including chardonnay and pinot noir.

At the last official count, the Wine Standards Board reported that there were just over 450 vineyards producing wine throughout England, most of them in Sussex, Kent and Hampshire, but including as far north as Norfolk. 

And while the English wine industry is still in its infancy, it is increasingly attracting attention from serious players, including Champagne House Vranken Pommery.

Louis Pommery England NV is produced from vineyards in Hampshire, where in 2014 Vranken-Pommery first put down roots.

The area contains the same vein of soil with chalk which runs through Champagne, offering the ideal environment to develop grapes for sparkling wine.

I shared a bottle served blind with my wine tasting group earlier this month. It gained almost universal approval with several expressing surprise that it was an English wine.

There is an impressive mousse with bitey citrus and stone fruit flavours to the fore. The wine is made in the traditional way with chardonnay and pinot noir blended with a small proportion of pinot meunier.

The only setback is the RRP of $99, which makes it very much a special occasion choice (Father's Day for any Pom Dads maybe), or the ideal selection for a mystery wine tasting competition like an Options Game. 

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