English Sparkling Wine30 August 2019
Searcys: Champions of English Sparkling Wine
Over the course of English Wine Week (May 25 – June 2, 2019), we celebrated the wonderful wine English soils produce every year. According to Wines of Great Britain’s 2018 survey, 69% of bottles of wine produced in the UK in 2018 were sparkling, and we are thrilled to have partnered with three English sparkling wine producers – Furleigh, Greyfriars and Nyetimber.
Wine grapes have been grown on British soil for over 1,600 years. Though it is debated as to whether they bought vines to the United Kingdom, the Romans wrote about growing wine grapes in Britain in the 1 century AD. There are now over 700 vineyards across England and 68% of the produced wine is sparkling.
English wine has been rapidly growing in popularity – in 2018, at the Sommelier Wine Awards, 3,000 wines were blind-tasted by expert judges and more gold medals went to wines from England than from France. Even Tattinger announced that they were buying a vineyard in Kent to produce English sparkling wine.
Find out more about English Sparkling Wine in our guide.
Fun Facts about English Sparkling Wine
The invention of sparkling wine is often accredited to monk Dom Perignon; however, it could be argued that it was first invented? to avoid repetition 30 years before by an Englishman. In 1662 Christopher Merret, an English winemaker, presented a paper detailing his discovery that adding sugar to a finished wine could result in a sparkle. This took place more than 30 years before Champagne was first produced.
English sparkling wine has been growing in both popularity and quality over the last few years. The Wine and Spirit Trade Association project that English Sparkling Wine production will double by 2022 to approximately 10 million bottles annually.
The growth in English sparkling wine’s popularity can be credited, in part, to a warming climate which has led to riper grapes, as well as an increase in expertise and awareness. Even Tattinger announced that they were buying a vineyard in Kent to produce English sparkling wine!
We have partnered with Greyfriars, a grower from Surrey, Greyfriars to offer you their Cuvée Brut at The Treehouse.
The original, tiny Greyfriars vineyard was planted in 1989 on the slopes of the Hog’s Back, a few miles outside Guildford in Surrey.
The estate now includes a storage ‘cave’ dug into the side of the Hog’s back and a world-class winery. 45,000 man-hours went into building the Greyfriars chalk cave, where they store and age a quarter of a million bottles of wine.
Greyfriars’ sparkling wines are made using the traditional method – utilising a secondary fermentation and subsequently ageing the wine in the bottle in the cellar for at least three years.
Greyfriars vineyards are planted on solid chalk, which produces vibrant, rich and elegant sparkling wines.
The Nyetimber Estate produces award-winning sparkling wine in West Chiltington, Sussex. First mentioned in the Doomesday Book of 1086, the Nyetimber Estate has an illustrious history and was even gifted to Thomas Cromwell by Henry VIII.
Nyetimber’s first vines were planted in 1988 and they now stretch over 260 hectares in West Sussex, Hampshire and Kent.
Nyetimber was the first producer of English sparkling wine to exclusively grow the three celebrated grape varieties of Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay.
The estate was part of Henry VIII’s divorce settlement with Anne of Cleves.
Head Winemaker, Cherie Spriggs, won the Sparkling Winemaker of the year 2018 award at the International Wine Challenge making her the first female winemaker to win the award and the first winner from outside Champagne.
Furleigh Estate in Dorset is planted with over 53,000 vines made up of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier over 50 acres of vineyards.
The first vines were planted in 2005. Furleigh’s flagship wine is their Classic Cuvée.
All the grapes they use are their own Dorset grapes – this is unusual – lots of larger vineyard will import their grapes from ‘foreign places’.
Located near the sea, Furleigh growers ensure that their wines will work well with seafood.
Furleigh Estate produces an average of 40,000 bottles of sparkling wine a year.