Traveling the world opens the eyes to new experiences and new wines to taste and enjoy, in the case of this post.
I recently had the wonderful opportunity of visiting both Paris and London with my lovely wife, who had never been to Europe before! I always recommend eating and drinking locally, and we certainly did just that.
Now, France seems like the obvious subject for a wine post, so today I actually want to focus on a wine-making country that isn't on many drinkers' radars. We are talking today about Southern England.
England does have a rich tradition of producing, consuming, and trading wines. The Romans introduced vines to the isle as they did to most of Europe. However, as the borders of Europe were carved through the centuries, the kingdom of England grew and amassed significant land holdings in current-day France, where the majority of England's wine production lived.
Between 1154 and 1453, England occupied what is today the region of Bordeaux and quickly became one of the largest importers and consumers of wine in the world. It wasn't until the 1950s that the English started producing their own world-class wines, which rose from obscurity to the spotlight in recent years.
The terroir of Sussex, where much of today's wine hails from, is eerily similar to Champagne. Limestone soil and a cool continental climate allow grapes like Pinot Noir, Champagne, Pinot Blanc, and Pinot Meunier to thrive.
This brings me to the wine I was honored to try—a traditionally-made sparkling wine from West Sussex.
Nutborne Vineyards Nutty Vintage Brut 2017
To say I was weary and apprehensive about trying an English sparkling wine would be an understatement, yet my excitement level was off the charts.
The blend included the traditional Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grape varietals. However, instead of blending it with Pinot Meunier like a typical Champagne, they used Pinot Blanc.
The effervescence was quite delicate, and the wine had a light gold color to it. On the nose were beautiful essences of toasted brioche, which is one of my favorite parts of consuming traditionally made sparkling wine. Now, as this wine is from a declared vintage, 100% of the grapes come from 2017, meaning the wine had a bit of age to it.
It was a Brut or dry style, a favorite among English drinkers. There were light stone fruit aromas and flavors like peaches but quickly fell off to reveal the toasted brioche and that nutty characteristic. The finish wasn't very long, prompting me to take another sip, and then another.
Needless to say, it was excellent.
Have any questions or comments? Don't hesitate to reach out and let me know what you have open this month!