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English Fizz better than Champagne?


Hosted by Stephen Skelton MW, a group of sparking wine luminaries recently met for a blind tasting of England's best fizz as well as some well known Champagnes from France. The tasters were (in alphabetical order): Susie Barrie MW (Winchester Wine School proprietor who wrote her MW dissertation on champagne), Dee Blackstock MW (champagne and sparkling-wine buyer for Waitrose), Sue Daniels (MW student and wine technologist for Marks and Spencer), Michael Edwards (journalist and author of several books on champagne), Victoria Moore (journalist, wine columnist for the Daily Telegraph), Jancis Robinson OBE MW (journalist and wine polymath), Julia Trustram Eve (English Wine Producers) and Stephen. 

The results were as follows:

Ranking Average scores Vineyard Wine Vintage Varietal blend Retail price 
1 17.17 Ridgeview Grosvenor Blanc de Blancs 2007 Chardonnay 100% £21.95
2 16.82 Ridgeview Grosvenor Blanc de Blancs in Magnum 2000 Chardonnay 100% £63.00
3 16.65 Sainsburys Etienne Dumont Rosé (Maison Burtin) NV ??? £18.99
4 16.64 Gusbourne Estate Brut Reserve 2006 Chardonnay 46% Pinot Noir 41% Meunier 13% £21.99
5 16.5 Nyetimber Nyetimber Rosé 2007 Chardonnay, Pinot Noir £34.95
6 16.46 Ridgeview Bloomsbury 2008 Chardonnay 54% Pinot Noir 26% Pinot Meunier 20% £19.95
7 16.43 Plumpton Estate The Dean NV Pinot Noir 90%, Chardonnay 10% £20.00
8 16.42 Sainsburys JS Blanc de Blancs (Duval Leroy) NV Chardonnay 100% £18.49
9 16.36 Moet & Chandon Brut Imperial NV Pinot Noir 50%, Chardonnay 10%, Meunier 40% £30.99
10 16.32 Sainsburys Defontaine Premier Cru (Maison Burtin) NV Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Meunier £19.99
11 16.25 Plumpton Estate   The Dean Blush NV Pinot Noir 94%, Chardonnay 6% £20.00
12 16.2 Chapel Down Pinot Reserve 2005 Pinot Noir 70%, Pinot Blanc 30%  £24.99
13 16.05 Nyetimber Classic Cuvée 2006 Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier £25.99
14 15.92 Laithwaites South Ridge Cuvée Merret (RidgeView) 2008 Chardonnay 60%, Pinot Noir 28%, Meunier 12% £19.99
15 15.86 Jenkyn Place Jenkyn Place Brut 2006 Chardonnay 61%, Pinot Noir 23%, Pinot Meunier 16% £25.00
16 15.81 Hush Heath Estate Balfour Brut Rosé 2006 Pinot Noir 55%, Chardonnay 40%, Pinot Meunier 5% £26.99
17 15.8 Davenport Limney Estate Blanc de Blancs 2005 Reichensteiner 100% £16.50
18 15.78 Camel Valley Pinot Noir Brut 2009 Pinot Noir 100% £24.95
19 15.73 Nyetimber Blanc de Blancs 2001 Chardonnay 100% £28.99
20 15.7 Breaky Bottom Cuvée John Inglis Hall 2006 Seyval Blanc 100% £20.05
It is clear that the best UK sparkling wines can now more than hold their own with champagne.